Democrat Tester wins in Montana; other races still too close

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Montana Democratic Sen. Jon Tester declared victory for a third term Wednesday, in one of several races that were too close to call Tuesday night.

Tester defeated Republican challenger Matt Rosendale. With 94 percent of precincts reporting, CNN and NBC News projected Tester to beat Rosendale 49.3 percent to 47.8 percent.

Rosendale has conceded defeat.

“While we suffered a setback, our movement and our cause will continue to move forward. I will never stop working to make our country and state better,” he said in a statement.

With more than $60 million spent, the race was the most expensive in the state’s history.

Montana’s Senate race was one of a number of contests where final vote counting carried over to Wednesday.

The high-profile Senate race between Sen. Bill Nelson and Gov. Rick Scott is headed for a recount, campaign officials said Wednesday.

Scott maintained a lead over the incumbent Democrat since Tuesday night, but it’s less than one-half of 1 percent — the threshold that triggers an automatic recount.

Scott declared victory just before midnight, but Nelson did not concede in public.

Wednesday, Nelson’s campaign said there will be a recount.

A win by Scott would make three statewide races in a row that he’s won using his own fortune. He spent $60 million of his own money on the race.

“We can make change,” Scott told supporters. “We did it over the last eight years in Tallahassee, we can do it in Washington, D.C.”

Scott backs many of Trump’s policies, including tax cuts, Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and repealing the Obama-era Affordable Care Act. He will join Republican Sen. Marco Rubio in the upper chamber — marking the first time since 1873 that both of Florida’s senators are Republican.

Georgia

The race for Georgia governor remained close Wednesday morning with Democrat Stacey Abrams calling for a runoff with Republican Brian Kemp. At 11 a.m., Kemp had 50.4 percent of the vote to Abrams’ 48.7 percent and Libertarian Party candidate Ted Metz had 0.9 percent.

Thousands of absentee and provisional ballots remain to be counted.

Kemp remains confident that he will win.

“There are votes left to count, but we have a very strong lead. and folks, make no mistake: The math is on our side to win this election,” Kemp {link:told his supporters overnight. : “https://politics.myajc.com/news/state–regional-govt–politics/kemp-confident-victory-abrams-predicts-runoff/14SvhMExH17bfDzhoEYIjM/” target=”_blank”}

Under Georgia law, a runoff is triggered if no candidate reaches an absolute majority of the votes. A potential runoff would be held on Dec. 4.

In a speech, Abrams called out her opponent, who is secretary of state for Georgia, for widespread accusations of not approving voter registrations in minority communities in a timely manner.

“This election has tested our faith,” Abrams said Wednesday. “I’m not going to name names, but some have worked hard to take our vote away.”

Nevada

Democratic challenger Jacky Rosen defeated GOP incumbent Dean Heller in Nevada’s tightly-contested Senate race, giving Democrats a rare victory in the upper chamber Tuesday. She received 50.5 percent of the vote.

“The politics of fear and division — they have lost,” Rosen said.

Wisconsin

Democratic challenger Tony Evers defeated Republican Gov. Scott Walker on Wednesday morning by 1.2 percent. Evers, the state schools superintendent, told supporters, “It’s time for change, folks.”

“I will be focused on solving problems, not on picking political fights.”

Walker has not yet conceded, and his campaign called for a recount.

“The fight is not over. I am here to tell you this morning that this race is a dead heat. It’s too close to call,” Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch said.

South Dakota

Republican Kristi Noem beat Democrat Billie Sutton in the South Dakota governor’s race, which was closer than experts predicted. Noem is the first woman elected governor in the state.

Had Sutton won, he would have been the state’s first Democratic governor in 40 years.

Mississippi

The Senate race between Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith and Democrat Mike Espy was headed for a runoff.