Nov 7, 2012 5:05 PM by MTN News
BILLINGS - Representative Denny Rehberg lost the race for U.S. Senate, even though he held the edge in 41 of Montana's 56-counties.
In the unofficial statewide election results Senator Jon Tester edged Rehberg by capturing 48.4% of the ballots cast. Tester had opened an immediate lead in the early voting, although his lead eroded as the votes came in through the early morning hours on Wednesday. At one point Rehberg had less than 40% of the vote.
But an analysis of the county-by-county results tabulated by mid-day Wednesday shows Tester's margin of victory came from winning the state's most populated counties.
Rehberg actually won the vast majority of the county contests, leaving Tester to claim victory in just 15-counties. That included wins in Flathead and Ravalli counties, and a majority of the smaller counties. In Western Montana, Rehberg won in Sanders, Mineral, Granite and Lincoln counties.
However, Tester had the edge in the state's larger counties, including Missoula, Silver Bow, Cascade and Gallatin. Tester captured 46% of the vote in Rehberg's home territory of Billings, although the Republican had 47% of the vote by mid-afternoon. Tester took 52% of the votes in the Great Falls area. He also won in medium sized counties like Lake and Lewis and Clark.
Both candidates posted some lopsided county wins as well. Tester captured 73% of the vote in Glacier County.