Matt Rosendale (R)
Matt Rosendale (R)
Jon Tester (D – Incumbent)
Jon Tester (D – Incumbent)

Created by the Campus Election Engagement Project, a nonpartisan effort to help college and university administrators, faculty, and student leaders engage their schools in the election. Key sites consulted included,,,, and public candidate statements. For guides to local races, see from the League of Women Voters and For more detailed information visit their pages.

Visit and to volunteer. Other senate candidates include Rick Breckenridge (L). Due to limited space, we can’t include candidates who are polling at less than 15%, but encourage you to check out his stances. To download a printable pdf version of this guide, click here.

Abortion: Mostly ban or mostly legal?

Rosendale – Ban. I do not believe in abortion. I do not believe that you should provide for any exceptions.

Tester – Legal. Opposed post-20 week ban. Sponsored bill prohibiting medically unnecessary requirements on abortion services.


Campaign Finance: Require political ads to disclose their largest funders? Positon on Citizens United decision, allowing unlimited political donations from corporations & unions?

Rosendale – No. Voted against state bill requiring independent groups to reveal how money they contribute to election campaigns is being used & where it’s coming from. Supports Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling as protecting freedom of speech.

Tester – Yes. Introduced Spotlight Act, requiring political nonprofits to disclose donors. “Dark money is a threat to our democracy… I will do everything I can to defend Montanans from this shadowy behavior.” Opposed Citizens United ruling.


Climate Change: Consider climate change a critical issue?

Rosendale – No. “The climate does change. The question is how much impact do humans have on it & how much impact can we have on it by dramatically imposing draconian restrictions on our businesses.”

Tester – Yes. Climate change is real & human activity significantly contributes. “The rest of the world is together on this… We’ve got an incredible opportunity to create jobs & lead the world in clean technology.”


Courts: Support Judge Kavanaugh nomination? (before recent allegations)

Rosendale – Yes. “One of the most qualified” Supreme Court nominees, “a proven record of upholding our Constitution.”

Tester – Undecided as of September 12. “We’re going to be reviewing the transcript of the judiciary hearing pretty hard.”


Economy: Support federal spending as a means of promoting economic growth?

Rosendale – No. Cut government & return money in tax cuts.

Tester – Yes. 2008 stimulus was necessary. Need to invest more in infrastructure.


Economy: Support President Trump’s imposition of tariffs on Chinese steel & other products?

Rosendale – Yes. “We’ve had a trade war going on for decades… now we have a president who said we’re not going to tolerate it.”

Tester – No. “These tariffs are harming our state’s top industries by creating market uncertainty & driving up costs.”


Education: Provide vouchers to send children to private schools with public money?

Rosendale – Yes. “Critical…if we are going to see improvement in our education system.”

Tester – No. Privatization of public schools feeds destruction of democracy.


Gay Marriage: Support gay marriage?

Rosendale – No. “Support traditional marriage as being between one man & one woman.”

Tester – Yes. “All couples should have the same rights to happiness & protections under the law that my wife Sharla & I enjoy.”


Gun Control: Support more restrictive gun control legislation? Restrict semi-automatic weapons?

Rosendale – No. Second Amendment rights are non-negotiable. Mass shootings all involve mental illness & sites where guns have been banned.

Tester – Backs Second Amendment rights, but would consider “background checks, banning bump stocks & making sure our databases are talking to one another.”


Healthcare: Support or Repeal Affordable Care Act (ACA), known as Obamacare? Position on Medicaid expansion to subsidize low-income participants?

Rosendale – Repeal. “I won’t give up on repealing & replacing Obamacare.” Can replace while keeping affordability & protecting pre-existing conditions with high-risk pools. Voted against MT Medicaid expansion.

Tester – Support. Not perfect, but has helped rural hospitals & health centers, provided families with coverage, & stopped big insurance companies from denying folks coverage.  Supports Medicaid expansion.


Healthcare: Let Planned Parenthood receive public funds for non-abortion health care?

Rosendale – No. Praised Trump’s support for defunding.

Tester – Yes. Support access to family planning services, preventive care & “life-saving cancer screenings.


Immigration: Support “DACA” recipients or “Dreamers,” who grew up here after being brought here as children? Earned path to citizenship for other illegal immigrants?

Rosendale – No. Opposes DACA & path to citizenship. Rule of law has been ignored & illegal immigrants allowed to flow freely into this country without consequence.

Tester – Rejected 2010 Dream Act. Criticized Trump ending DACA. Supported bipartisan bill with increased border security, visa rule tightening & earned path to citizenship.


Iran: Support withdrawal from treaty limiting Iran nuclear capability while lifting sanctions?

Rosendale – Yes.

Tester – No. Supports treaty as “only option” to prevent nuclear weapons development.


Marijuana: Legalize or decriminalize marijuana?

Rosendale – Supports medical marijuana. State should determine recreational use.

Tester – Supports medical use. Feds need to respect vote. Hesitant about full legalization, but alcohol arguably worse.


Minimum Wage: Raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25/hr to $10.10 hr?

Rosendale – No. Called Obama’s proposal to do this ridiculous.”

Tester – Yes. Would “help thousands of Montanans make ends meet.”


Net Neutrality: Require internet providers to provide equal access to all users?

Rosendale – No public statements found.

Tester – Yes. Repealing Net Neutrality handed our Internet to large corporations.” Decision “hurts commerce, small business, education, & healthcare.


President Trump: Response to President Trump’s actions & policies?

Rosendale – “Stand with President Trump to advance his agenda & Put Montana First Again.”

Tester – Willing to work with Trump on specific bills. “I’m glad that the president has signed 16 of my bills into law.” Voted with Trump 38% of time.


Renewable Energy: Support government support for renewable energy?

Rosendale – No. Renewable power is a “grand idea” but government shouldn’t subsidize.

Tester – Yes. Supports tax credits, expedited permitting, utility renewable mandates, & carbon capture credits for coal plants.


Social Security: Consider partial or full privatization options?

Rosendale – Yes. Let younger Americans invest privately instead of paying in.

Tester – No. Opposes any plan to privatize.


Student Debt & Financial Aid: Lower student loan rates, while increasing high-earner taxes (Elizabeth Warren bill)?

Rosendale – No. “Move the federal government out of the funding that takes place for the colleges & universities.”

Tester – Yes. Voted for Warren bill. Also supports restoring year-round Pell Grants, & supporting Perkins Loans.


Taxes: Support President Trump’s tax cuts?

Rosendale – Yes. “Bigger paychecks & more jobs for Montanans… This is your money & you should be deciding how to invest or spend it—not the government.”

Tester – “Disastrous.” “Need reform for hardworking Montanans, not a handout for jet-owners paid for by our kids & grandkids.


Voting Rights: Support stricter voting rules even if they prevent some people from voting?

Rosendale – Yes. Voted to repeal same-day voter registration. Require government-issued photo identification to vote.

Tester – Unclear on photo ID. Introduced bill to ensure Native American voting access.