GREAT FALLS — Last week it was former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley. This week it’s U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, a Republican from Florida. When asked why he left the warmer climate in Florida and Washington, D.C. to come campaign in the Treasure State for Steve Daines, Rubio’s answer was similar to the one Haley gave.
“Number one, the chance to send a great Senator in Senator Daines back to the U.S. Senate where we need him,” he said. “And the second is because what’s at stake is extraordinary.”
Rubio and Haley are right; what’s at stake in the Daines-Bullock race is very important to the future of the Senate. If Steve Bullock wins, not only will Montana then have two Democratic Senators (the other being Senator Jon Tester), but the seat would go a long way in giving Democrats the Senate majority, something they haven’t had since 2016.
A recent poll from Montana State University showed Bullock leading by a razor thin margin, although subsequent polls have shown the incumbent Senator Daines with a slight lead. Regardless of what the polls are saying, Daines said that he does not plan to let up on his campaign efforts until the dust is settled and a winner is declared.
“We’re not going to stop running until 8 P.M. on Tuesday night,” he said with a laugh, referring to Election Night, November 3.
Republicans Elsie Arntzen, Kristen Juras and Matt Rosendale all took the stage before Daines and Rubio took the microphone, addressing hot topics ranging from Monday’s vote to confirm new Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett to the amount of money pouring into the Montana Senate race to the stalled talks on a second Coronavirus Relief Package.
Rubio and Daines both said that they support a second stimulus package and, just as Democrats have done, pointed the finger at their political colleagues on the other side of the aisle.
“I support another package,” said Daines. “It needs to be targeted to help our schools, our hospitals, to help our small businesses and those who’ve lost their jobs.”
As of October 26, more than 360,000 Montanans have already cast their ballots. For reference, in 2014, the year Steve Daines was elected to the United States Senate, 373,831 votes were cast. Voter turnout is already looking to be higher this year than it was six years ago, and many experts and polls are predicting a tighter race this year than in 2014, when Steve Daines received 57% of the votes compared to 39% for Democrat Amanda Curtis.
When asked about the voter turnout, Rubio claimed that the higher numbers favor Republicans, and spent a significant amount of his time in front of the mostly masked crowd talking about voting. He noted that he didn’t think he had to convince anyone in attendance to vote for Steve Daines, but said he was there to ask them to urge people that they know to vote.