In Montana, maybe it will be Tester time after all

Internal polling of early voters reportedly gives the Democrat a big lead over GOP Sen. Conrad Burns.

Published November 7, 2006 1:35PM (EST)

The polls are opening now, but a lot of us have already voted. In Montana, more than 100,000 residents have cast votes -- about a quarter of those expected to do so -- and the Hotline says the Democrats' internal polls have Jon Tester up 58-37 among early voters.

If that's right, those numbers would be a welcome relief for Democrats, who've watched Tester's lead over Republican Sen. Conrad Burns shrink in most public polls over the last week or so.

One exception: A Gallup poll out over the weekend that had Tester up by a pretty commanding nine points. Burns' campaign staffers were so upset about the poll that they briefly revoked a reporter's election-night credentials in retaliation for writing about it. As the Helena Independent Record reports, the Burns campaign subsequently reconsidered, saying it would allow the reporter into Burns' party tonight -- victory or otherwise -- so as not to "punish the readers."

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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