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Internal poll shows tight battle in Montana House race

Internal poll shows tight battle in Montana House race
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The race for Montana’s at-large House seat is heating up as a new poll shows Democrat Kathleen Williams and Republican Matt Rosendale running neck-and-neck less than four months before the election.

Williams and Rosendale are knotted up at 47 percent each, according to an internal poll from the Williams campaign that was obtained exclusively by The Hill. Another 6 percent of likely voters say they are undecided.

Williams’s net favorability rating is stronger than Rosendale’s with 44 percent of likely voters finding her favorable and 28 percent finding her unfavorable, while 40 percent of likely voters say they have favorable views of Rosendale and 38 percent say they have unfavorable views of the Republican.

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Montana Republicans “know Kathleen’s independent approach appeals to all Montanans and her strong favorability advantage is a clear sign that voters across the spectrum like her. Momentum in Montana is on her side,” said a source close to the Williams campaign.

“After leaving Maryland to run for office six times in the last 10 years, voters know who Matt Rosendale is and they don’t want another typical politician who is out of touch with Montana's values, and they certainly don't like him for federal office.”

Williams also posted a strong fundraising haul for the second quarter of 2020, bringing in over $760,000 from April-June. The campaign has just over $1.63 million on hand, and 75 percent of the Q2 donations were for $100 or less. 

“This strong fundraising report is yet another reminder that Montanans are tired of out-of-touch politicians who don’t share Montana values, and that they trust Kathleen to bring true, independent representation to Washington,” Jeff Allen, Williams’s campaign manager, said in a statement.

Both Williams and Rosendale lost races for statewide office in 2018. Williams was defeated by almost 5 points for the House seat by Rep. Greg GianforteGregory Richard GianforteGOP holds line in state legislatures, dealing blow to Democrats GOP Rep. Greg Gianforte wins Montana governor's race GOP's Rosendale wins Montana House seat MORE (R), who is retiring to run for governor this year, and Rosendale lost by about 3.5 points in the Senate race against Sen. Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterOvernight Defense: Trump loyalist to lead Pentagon transition | Democrats ask VA for vaccine distribution plan | Biden to get classified intel reports Senate Democrats press VA for vaccine distribution plan President is wild card as shutdown fears grow MORE (D). Williams got 46.2 percent of the share of the vote in her race, while Rosendale got 46.8 percent.

Williams is still facing what is likely an uphill climb in the conservative-leaning state, but Democrats are eager to make the race competitive and build on momentum gained from victories by Tester in 2018 and Gov. Steve BullockSteve BullockOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Down ballot races carry environmental implications | US officially exits Paris climate accord  GOP Rep. Greg Gianforte wins Montana governor's race Senate control in flux as counting goes forward in key states MORE (D) in 2016, a year that President TrumpDonald John TrumpAppeals court OKs White House diverting military funding to border wall construction Pentagon: Tentative meeting between spy agencies, Biden transition set for early next week Conservative policy director calls Section 230 repeal an 'existential threat' for tech MORE won the state by 20 points. The Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan election handicapper, now rates the race as “lean Republican” after initially rating it as “likely Republican.” 

The internal poll surveyed 500 likely general election voters from June 24-28 and has a margin of error of 4.4 percent.