The Montana Senate race is obviously a key seat for both parties, but it's turning out to be a pretty colorful race to boot. Last night, Conrad Burns debated his Democratic challenger, state Senate President Jon Tester, who has been pounding on Burns for his connections to Jack Abramoff. Burns was repeatedly interrupted by catcalls at the last debate, so the Republicans were prepared this time. Well, sort of, according to the Great Falls Tribune
The Abramoff issue, along with that of Iraq, has been raised in previous debates. But Saturday's confrontation covered new ground, including a who's-been-better-to-Butte discussion, and clear delineations on the Patriot Act.
Burns highlighted his history of bringing federal money to Butte; indeed, the debate was co-sponsored by the Resodyn Corp., the beneficiary of some of that federal largesse. When Burns was introduced, those in the roughly 60 seats reserved for Resodyn employees comprised the majority of those who stood and applauded him. Despite Republican appeals for Burns' supporters within 100 miles to attend the debate, the crowd seemed largely made up of Tester's backers, many of them wearing yellow "Fire Burns" T-shirts.
The incumbent U.S. Senator gets embarrassed in the prior debate, his party puts out the call for supporters, and they still get outnumbered this time around, despite stacking the audience with employees from a company beholden to Burns? I'd say Burns is in trouble.
There's a pretty good rundown on last night's debate and the race generally here
, though the part about Burns helping to create the blogosphere is, well, a bit of a stretch.