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Democrat Tester
wins Montana seat but doesn't support same-sex marriage

Democrat Tester
wins Montana seat but doesn't support same-sex marriage

With his flattop haircut, scuffed cowboy boots, and three fingers missing from an accident with a meat grinder, Democrat Jon Tester did not have to remind voters that he was an outsider to Washington and what he called its "culture of corruption." The 50-year-old organic farmer and Montana senate president rode that populist horse all the way to a U.S. Senate seat, capitalizing on voter disgruntlement over corruption and the war in Iraq to oust Republican senator Conrad Burns in a very close race. Burns, 71, had not helped his own cause, with close ties to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff and verbal gaffes that included cursing at a hotshot firefighting crew in a state that sees thousands of acres burn every summer. With 99% of precincts reporting, Tester had 198,032 votes, or 49.1%, to Burns's 194,904 votes, or 48.3%. The campaign was bitter and expensive from the start. Tester portrayed himself as a Western moderate who owns guns, opposes same-sex marriage, and has a libertarian's suspicion of the antiterrorism Patriot Act. He hammered Burns over his ties to Abramoff. "One hundred thousand miles and 15 hours later, here we did it," Tester said Wednesday. "It is absolutely, critically important that we change the direction of the country. Now is the time to come together and put politics aside." (Mary Clare Jalonick, AP)

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