Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., will run the first television ads of his reelection campaign next week, going up on air before his expected opponent, GOP Rep. Denny Rehberg, in what promises to be one of the cycle's most competitive Senate races.
Tester's campaign is spending $47,200 to air ads from Monday through April 1, according to a GOP source who tracks ad buys. The spots will air on broadcast stations in the Missoula, Billings, Great Falls, Butte-Bozeman, Helena and Glendive markets.
While Tester is the first candidate in the race to run TV ads, outside groups have already kicked off the air war.
The Montana Wildlife Federation has spent $96,180 over the past five weeks to air anti-Rehberg ads on broadcast and cable in Helena, according to the GOP source. Meanwhile, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Crossroads GPS both started running anti-Tester ads early last year.