Monday, February 13, 2017

By backing Trump’s Interior pick, Democrat Tester thins Republican field in Montana

When Sen. Jon Tester, a Montana Democrat, vouched for President Trump’s pick to be the new interior secretary, there was perhaps more than a little self-interest involved. Rep. Ryan K. Zinke, a Republican and the administration’s secretary nominee, had been expected to challenge Mr. Tester in next year’s Senate race. Now, with Mr. Tester’s backing, Mr. Zinke is likely to leave Congress and join the administration, leaving behind a much thinner Republican bench in the state — and giving Mr. Tester a little more job security. Given the Democrat’s voting record, he may need more of a margin for error next year. Mr. Tester has tacked to the left, opposing Republicans and voting against Mr. Trump’s nominees more than any other Democrat in a deep-red state — one that went for Mr. Trump by 20 percent in November...more

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