I've been hyping Jon Tester on the blogs since 2004, but for reasons I don't understand, the inside the beltway crowd didn't catch on until recently. I really have no clue why the easterners don't understand what is going on out west, but maybe it is because they were raised by people who didn't want to keep pushing. Don't get me wrong, I'm not blaming the pundits lack of understanding because of a family tree that didn't go west. But there is a serious disconnect between the beltway bosses and influence makers/pundits and the Democrats making things happen upwind.
DC's lack of a western understanding may explain why the inside the beltway crowd isn't giving enough credit to Jack Carter, who is on track to turn the Nevada senate race into a top-tier pick up opportunity for Democrats. Same thing in Arizona.
But fortunately, at least the pundits are starting to catch on when it comes to Montana's senate race. The National Journal's Chuck Todd makes finally gets it:
If any race other than Pennsylvania ever occupies our top slot, it will be this one. After watching the first of what we believe will be many Tester-Burns debates, we're sorry we EVER underestimated Tester. How wrong we were about this guy. Perhaps the most intriguing development over the last month is the pessimism we're sensing from D.C. Republicans over Burns -- more so, frankly, than the worry we're hearing over Santorum.And the Washington Post's Chris Cillizza (who just moved MT-Sen into the #2 race in the country):
Conrad Burns (R): Democrats are higher on state Sen. Jon Tester than any other candidate in the country. His farming background, flattop hairdo and unique "hang loose" trademark (the result of his losing his three middle fingers on his left hand to a meat grinder as a child) seem to be the exact right profile for a Democrat to win in this state. Plus, we have continue to believe that Burns' late response to allegations of wrongdoing in connection with disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff have damaged him deeply in the minds of voters.You know what? Tester is going to prove them right. Just check out this post by Markos at Daily Kos:
MT-Sen: Tester kicking ass
Rasmussen. 7/6. Likely voters. MoE 4.5% (5/11 results)
Burns (R) 43 (44)
Tester (D) 50 (48)
Nice post-primary boost for Tester (more proof that primaries are generally a good thing for the victorious candidates).
It is stunning for any long-term incumbent to be trailing in a re-election bid. It is even [more so] for a Republican to be trailing this badly in a state that President Bush carried by twenty points in Election 2004. But, even though most Americans think the Abramoff lobbying scandal was little more than business as usual, Burns close ties to the convicted lobbyists has clearly hurt Burns in Montana [...]
Tester may have another advantage in that Governor Brian Schweitzer (D) remains extremely popular and currently enjoys a 73% Job Approval Rating in Montana. President Bush earns just a 49% Approval Rating despite winning 59% of the vote here in 2004. Just 30% Strongly Approve of the President's performance while 39% Strongly Disapprove.
If you haven't lent a hand to people-powered Tester yet, please consider doing so.
Indeed. And if you are an out-of-touch DC Democrat or Pundit, hop on board because the train is leaving the station. You can donate to Tester here.