Two Libertarians on Montana Ballot in Key Senate Race

By Beacon Staff

HELENA – Election officials say that two Libertarian Party candidates will appear on the general election ballot in the U.S. Senate race.

The race features incumbent U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, a Democrat, and Republican challenger U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg.

The secretary of state says the Libertarian Party is not involved in enough races to appear on the primary ballot. That creates the unusual situation where both of the Libertarian candidates who filed for office will advance.

Montana State University political scientist David Parker says third party candidates usually pull more votes from the Republican candidate. And he noted Rehberg was harmed by a third party candidate in his failed 1996 challenge to U.S. Sen. Max Baucus.

But Parker says two Libertarians will split such votes, and have no more effect than one Libertarian.

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