Democrat Jon Tester, left, and friend, Democratic Party activist, Joe Lamson, share a hug, NTTAWWT. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)
Montana Democrat Senator Jon Tester is locked in a tough fight with challenger Republican Matt Rosendale. Tester has maintained a steady margin-of-error lead over Rosendale in the poll, but Montana went for Trump by 20 points in 2016 and Trump’s approval/disapproval rating is still +6 percentage points.
At least if you look at Morning Consult's state-by-state approval ratings, Trump is a very big drag in a lot of states with Senate races – but not in most of the most hotly contested ones. https://t.co/HkC3CYXXV5 pic.twitter.com/3FTnjKP4us
— Dan McLaughlin (@baseballcrank) October 9, 2018
Tester was key in sandbagging Trump’s choice to head the Department of Veterans Affairs and he voted against confirming Brett Kavanaugh, so he’s on unsteady ground, and when the NRA weighed in against him this week, downgrading his rating to a “D,” the ground got more unsteady.
BREAKING: @JonTester's NRA rating downgraded to a "D" after voting AGAINST Kavanaugh. With that kind of record it's beyond clear that you can't trust Tester to protect our #2A Rights! https://t.co/1V5aIpC4N1 #MAGA #MontanaFirst #AmericaFirst #DefeatTester #mtsen #mtpol
— Matt Rosendale (@MattForMontana) October 9, 2018
What no one could have counted on was how Tester’s communications director responded:
While you were busy making your millions developing Maryland farmland, @jontester was making a living shooting hundreds of cows and hogs. So I think Montanans know who gets guns. #mtpol #mtsen https://t.co/inVR3iW3Th
— Chris Meagher (@chrismeagher) October 9, 2018
“Shooting hundreds of cows and hogs.”
Well, that’s going to lock in the Western sportsman vote, for sure.
And from there, well, it was turtles all the way down.
It is four years into the cow wars. Jon Tester lowers himself into a trench. Another day. Hundreds shot. But still… no end in sight. He is tired. God, so tired.
Then he hears it. The hogs. They're here.
Grimacing, Tester readies his rifle and prepares for war. Endless war. pic.twitter.com/OLXeO3as1a
— Paul Valen𝖙𝖊𝖗𝖗🎃𝖗 (@paulrvalentine) October 10, 2018
— NRA (@NRA) October 10, 2018
who should they cast to star in the "Jon Tester: Cow Assassin" franchisehttps://t.co/khwWqfj4np
— David Burge (@iowahawkblog) October 10, 2018
Run!!! It’s Tester! pic.twitter.com/BCUoKkqyne
— Agustin Pearman (@Agustin_Pearman) October 10, 2018
John gripped the blued steel in his hands ever tighter as he heard the sounds of the squeals carrying on the wind, the hooves beating upon the ancient earth as if drumming out the rhythm to a dance of death.
John turned to his comrades and said, “gents, tonight we dine on pork.”
— Jared Carrubba (@JaredCarrubba) October 10, 2018
Tough guy gun lover Jon Tester has spent his life blowing away cows & voting against pro-2A judges! https://t.co/aH6dhqDhss
— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) October 10, 2018
JON TESTER 2018: I’ve Shot Millions of Cows, Right In Their Stupid Faces, And Honestly If I Even See A Pig In My Peripheral, I’m Putting A Cap In Its Ass
— Alex Griswold (@HashtagGriswold) October 10, 2018
Apparently, this bizarre claim comes from the fact that, for a few years, Tester managed the custom slaughterhouse run by his family. I don’t know how they dispatched the beasts but odds are it wasn’t by gunshot. Even if they did use firearms to kill the animals, I’m not sure what kind of Second Amendment or gun rights cred that gives you.
The more likely reason is desperation. Desperation causes everyone, but particularly vulnerable politicians, to do and say strange stuff. My guess is that Tester’s internal polling is showing that he’s undergoing a slow-motion collapse that could turn into a landslide unless staunched. The NRA rating downgrade has the potential to set off that landslide. And so Tester’s communications guy, who obviously isn’t terribly bright, came out swinging. And he though slaughtering domestic animals in the hundreds would appeal to red-blooded Montanans. Let’s see if he’s right.