GREAT FALLS — As President Donald Trump continues to push claims of voter fraud in several battleground states, some elected officials in Montana are offering their congratulations to President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.
U.S. Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) sent out a news release on Saturday morning that said, “Sharla and I congratulate President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris on their momentous victory and I look forward to working with them to move this country forward. We must come together and focus on what connects us, not what divides us. We live in the greatest nation in the world and I know we are capable of creating an even better future for generations to come.”
Governor Steve Bullock (D-MT), who fell short in his bid to unseat Steve Daines as Montana’s other U.S. Senator, sent out his message of support via Twitter on Saturday. “Congratulations to President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris,” Bullock tweet reads. “At a time when our country is deeply divided, we must remember all we have in common as Americans, and that together, we can work toward a future of healing and of prosperity.”
While Montana’s next Governor, Greg Gianforte, has not yet commented on the election as of November 8, a few of his Republican colleagues have expressed their thoughts, though they did not all share the same sentiments.
Outgoing MT Secretary of State Corey Stapleton was the first Montana GOP official to send his congratulations to Biden and Harris. He also made sure to thank President Trump for his four years in office, but also encouraged him to accept the results of the election.
“I have supported you, Mr. President, we (Montana) have supported you—and @realDonaldTrump accomplished some incredible things during your time in office!” Stapleton tweeted on Saturday afternoon. “But that time is now over. Tip your hat, bite your lip, and congratulate @JoeBiden. Blessings on you and your family.”
The response from Senator Daines did not follow the same pattern, however. Daines tweeted on Thursday that every “legally cast ballot” should be counted with full transparency. While the Senator’s tweet does not explicitly allege voter fraud, a text message sent on Thursday night asked supporters for donations, and claimed that “Dems are stealing the election”, though this follows a line of accusations of voter fraud coming from supporters of President Trump over the past few days that have come without any evidence to back them up.
Daines also sent some of his campaign staff to Arizona, a state that the Associated Press projected as a Biden win on Thursday, to help Republican efforts to “ensure transparency in the election there with ballots being counted,” his office told MTN News on Friday.
Though the Associated Press has yet to call Alaska, North Carolina, and Georgia, Joe Biden already has enough Electoral College votes to secure the presidency. The next step in the process comes on December 14, when electors from all 50 states meet to cast their ballots for President and Vice President. Those ballots are due to the Senate by December 23; Congress will meet to count and confirm all of the votes on January 6, and the inauguration takes place on January 20.