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Incumbent U.S. Sen. Jon Tester has won re-election to his third term, fending of a challenge from Republican state Auditor Matt Rosendale.

Despite an unprecedented four trips to the state by President Donald Trump to try to defeat him, Tester emerged with 49 percent, or 218,145 votes, to Rosendale’s 48 percent, or 213,934 votes, in unofficial totals. That's a lead of 4,211 votes.

The race was expected to be close from the start; Tester has never captured 50 percent of the vote in his past two wins in 2006 and 2012. [Complete coverage of Montana's Senate race.] 

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Republican incumbent Greg Gianforte appeared to have won re-election over Democrat Kathleen Williams Tuesday night in Montana's U.S. House race.

With 313 precincts partially reporting and 331 fully reporting of 669, Gianforte held 53 percent of the vote to Williams' 44 percent, or 206,862 votes to 169,882 as of 3:10 a.m.

NBC called the race for Gianforte a little before midnight Tuesday, and Gianforte announced around that time that he was confident he would win, but was going to bed. [Complete coverage of Montana's House race.] 

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Colette Davies and Juli Pierce are leading in early returns in Yellowstone County’s two judicial races.

The results are far from final. Only 42,178 of the ballots have been counted, according to the elections office. More than 60,000 were expected.

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Don Jones retained a comfortable lead in the race for Yellowstone County commissioner as of 10:45 p.m. Tuesday.

New vote totals from the Yellowstone County Elections Office showed Jones leading with 25,063 votes; his opponent, incumbent Democrat Robyn Driscoll, trailed with 20,007 votes. So far, 46,786 votes have been tabulated countywide.

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Republican Bowen Greenwood has taken a slight lead in early election returns for Montana’s clerk of Supreme Court, with ballots from only 23 percent of the state’s registered voters counted.

At 10 p.m., Greenwood had 50 percent of the vote to 45 percent of his main opponent, Democrat Rex Renk. Libertarian Roger Roots had 5 percent in the early returns.

The typically low-profile partisan race received more attention this year after concerns that the office could be abused for political gain by keeping some groups more informed than others about what the court is considering.

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With many votes yet to be tallied in Montana, two heavily contested ballot initiatives — raising tobacco taxes to fund health care programs and adding new hard rock mining regulations — appeared headed for defeat Wednesday morning.

Initiative 185 would raise taxes on cigarettes by $2 a pack to help pay for the state’s expanded Medicaid program, which provides health care to 96,000 Montanans, most of whom work, but still have very low income.

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Republican Brad Johnson wrapped up election night with his wife and some quiet time at home feeling pretty good about early results that saw him in the lead for public service commissioner in District 5. Johnson, the incumbent for the position, was running against Democrat Andy Shirtliff, who was throwing his hat in the political arena for the first time.

Republican Randy Pinocci was the clear leader in the District 1 race for public service commissioner, with 67 percent and 18,976 votes. His opponent, Democrat Doug Kaercher, had 33 percent and 9,339 of the total 28,315 votes at that time.

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We've also got early results for key legislative races in Yellowstone County and Eastern Montana. 

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Montanans voting in this year's midterm election don't feel good about the direction the country is going, with 52 percent of people responding to a poll by the Associated Press saying is going in the wrong direction. Forty-four percent say it is going in the right direction.

Among people who voted in Tuesday's election, job approval for President Donald Trump was divided. About 48 percent of voters surveyed approved of his performance and 51 percent disapproved.

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Photographer Bethany Baker asked voters at the polls today in Billings why this midterm election matters. Here's what they said:

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In Wyoming, State Treasurer Mark Gordon defeated energy industry attorney Mary Throne to keep the office of Wyoming governor in Republican hands for the longest stretch in over a generation.

And Republican John Barrasso has won a second full term by defeating Democrat Gary Trauner in Wyoming's Senate race.

Here is our complete coverage of the 2018 midterm elections. 


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