A proposed change to next year’s Montana U.S. Senate primary that could have hurt Democratic Sen. Jon Tester’s reelection chances is likely dead after a state legislative committee shelved the GOP-backed measure Wednesday.
Some Republican lawmakers urged on by a GOP lobbyist wanted to alter Montana’s 2024 Senate primary so that only the top two candidates, no matter their party, would advance to the November election.
That would have effectively blocked out third-party candidates, who Republicans blamed for draining away potential GOP votes during past attempts to unseat Tester.
The race’s national importance helped fuel outrage over the bid to change the primary rules. Critics, including Democratic lawmakers and representatives of the Libertarian party, blasted it as a blatant attempt to rig the election.