Republican challenger to Tester leans into his outsider status in Montana U.S. Senate debate

BILLINGS, Mont. — Republican U.S. Senate candidate Tim Sheehy embraced his status as an outsider who came to Montana to start a business as he sought on Sunday to fend off concerns over wealthy newcomers driving up property taxes during the first debate in a contest that could tip the balance of power in the Senate.

Democratic incumbent Sen. Jon Tester is considered one of the most vulnerable Democrats on the ballot and Sunday’s debate was the first time the two candidates have confronted each other publicly. Republicans need to gain just a couple seats in the November election to retake the Senate majority.

Tester declared Sheehy “part of the problem” amid a housing shortage and rising taxes for many Montana residents after home values increased in many areas.

“We’ve had a lot of folks move into this state, a lot of folks with thick wallets, a lot of folks that drive up the cost of housing,” Tester said. “Tim Sheehy is not part of the solution; he’s part of the problem.”

Sheehy blamed Democrats for the increasing economic pressures faced by many households. The 37-year-old political newcomer and former Navy SEAL said Tester and President Joe Biden were not doing enough to

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