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Tester’s dirty trick backfires

Well that didn’t go to plan.

Jon Tester and his liberal dark money allies tried to deceive voters by sending blatantly illegal mailers, with no disclaimer of who paid for them, attacking Matt Rosendale and promoting Libertarian Rick Breckenridge to siphon off votes from his opponent.

Unfortunately for Tester, Breckenridge didn’t take too kindly to these dirty tricks, denounced Tester’s dishonest campaign and decided to throw his support behind Matt Rosendale. It’s probably not the outcome Tester was expecting from his deceitful gambit, but with polling showing this race neck-and-neck, it turns out Two Faced Tester’s dirty campaign is only helping speed along his early retirement.

In case you missed it…

Libertarian pulls from Senate race, endorses Rosendale
Great Falls Tribune
Phil Drake
October 31, 2018

HELENA – Libertarian Rick Breckenridge bowed from the U.S. Senate race on Wednesday and threw his support behind Republican candidate Matt Rosendale, saying he was standing up against “dark money” in politics.

Breckenridge said he was angry about a recent anonymous campaign mailer that said if Rosendale were elected, it would lead to more government surveillance and that voters should cast votes for Breckenridge instead.

“Matt Rosendale wants to use drones and patrols to spy on our private lives,” the mailer reads. “Rick Breckenridge is a true conservative and opposes government intrusion into Montanans’ private lives.”

GOP officials said there were no names attached to the mailer, which arrived in mailboxes Tuesday, nor was it known how many were sent out. The lack of a name is a violation of state and federal election laws.

Dark money is where the donor is not disclosed and the source of the money is unknown. Rosendale’s campaign staff said a complaint with the Federal Election Commission will be filed shortly.

Breckenridge said he expected to get 3 percent to 4 percent of the vote in Tuesday’s election, which includes Democratic incumbent Sen. Jon Tester, and that his campaign has spent about $3,000.

“I can’t compete with $50 million Madison Avenue campaign pieces,” he said.

“I am here to support Matt and his candidacy,” Breckenridge, a surveyor, said during the news conference. “And to support him in the continuing effort to be the front man in the cause of liberty.”

Rosendale thanked Breckenridge.

“I am honored to have endorsement of Rick Breckenridge,” he said. “I really appreciate him in joining me in (condemning) a dark money mailer that” he said was distributed by allies of Tester.

Tester’s campaign disavowed the mailer.

“This is yet another lie from Matt Rosendale – our campaign had nothing to do with this mailer, and Jon believes all campaign expenditures should be disclosed,” Tester spokesman Chris Meagher said. “We condemn this mailer and any other efforts like it. Period. It’s ironic Matt Rosendale is now up in arms about a mailer with no disclosure, since he voted against a bipartisan measure requiring a disclaimer on election materials like direct mail funded by anonymous sources. Unfortunately, Jon Tester is the only candidate in this race fighting to get dark money out of our elections.”

Reached after the news conference, Breckenridge told the Tribune he was a “realist” about his chances of winning and what pulling from the race meant.

“This isn’t the Alamo, this isn’t Custer’s Last Stand. I will live to fight another day,” he said. “I am a victim in this dark money campaign and as a victim you sometimes have to expose yourself to an uncomfortable reality.”

Breckenridge said his decision would likely impact about 1 percent of the vote and noted most people have probably voted already by absentee ballot.

“I am making a stand above and beyond my personal desires,” he said.