Dogged by connections to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff and a series of campaign gaffes that included attacking some firefighters for doing "a poor job" containing a blaze in the state, Republican Conrad Burns is in danger of losing in Montana, where President Bush won by 20 points two years ago. Polls are virtually even in his race against Jon Tester, the Democrat who is president of the state Senate there.
To inoculate himself against attacks from Burns and national Republicans about the national Democratic Party's liberalism, Tester highlights his biography as a third-generation Montana family farmer with a flat-top haircut who lost three of his fingers in a meat grinder accident. He's also closely linking himself with Brian Schweitzer, the state's popular Democratic governor. Burns, meanwhile, is emphasizing his longtime efforts to bring back federal money to the state.
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