MT Democrat Sen. Jon Tester Quietly Taking Money From Gun Control Group in Tight Reelection Fight

Montana Senator Jon Tester reelection gun control
Senator Jon Tester, D-Montana, cites his support for the “gun safety and hunter education,” in a video released by his reelection campaign. (Screenshot courtesy

Three-term Montana Democrat Senator Jon Tester is in a fight for his political life and he knows it. Tester’s Republican challenger, Tim Sheehy, a Navy SEAL combat veteran, has received strong support from GOP leadership and an endorsement from former President Donald J. Trump. 

Tester’s seat is considered one of the most vulnerable in the Senate. One reason: Montanans love their guns, and Joe Biden – the titular head of Tester’s party – is the most anti-gun president the country has ever seen. 

As a result, Tester has tried to tap dance around guns and Second Amendment issues. His reelection campaign even released a video that shows him traveling the state in an old pickup with a Model 99 Savage in a gunrack, while the narrator talks about Tester’s strong support for “gun safety and hunter education.” But the campaign must be even tighter than many thought. 

Tester’s 2A tap dancing around the gun issue ended Friday at around 3 p.m. when he sent an email to his supporters announcing that Brady PAC would match campaign donations for 48 hours:

Sent: 6/7/2024 11:04:04 AM Pacific Daylight Time
Subject: The next 48 hours are key

Hi folks, it’s Jon Tester. I’ve got some big news, some bad news, and some good news. 

Here’s the big news: I officially have a GOP opponent in the race for Montana’s U.S. Senate seat—Mitch McConnell’s handpicked candidate, Tim Sheehy.

But the bad news is: McConnell and all of his super PAC buddies are spending a whopping $65 million to prop up their handpicked candidate and attack me. In a race as close as this, every dollar could make the difference. 

And the good news: A group of generous donors saw the polls tightening and agreed to match every donation for the next 48 hours. 

Opportunities like this don’t come around often, and we need to take advantage of them while they’re here. This is the best time to make a difference in our campaign, and your gift will go twice as far.

Will you become a General Election Founding donor by splitting a MATCHED donation between my campaign and Brady PAC now?

I’m proud to say that I rely on grassroots support from folks like you.

Let’s go win this thing,



The move was somewhat hush-hush. Brady PAC’s fund-matching agreement wasn’t mentioned anywhere on Tester’s reelection website, and Tester wasn’t included in a list of endorsed candidates on Brady PAC’s website. 

Brady PAC, “is dedicated to a singular goal: creating a safer America by supporting and investing in candidates who are committed to enacting, improving, and defending Gun Violence Prevention (GVP) policies across the country,” according to its website.  

Kris Brown, president of the Brady United Against Gun Violence gun control operation chairs Brady PAC’s board of directors. 

It’s not much of a stretch to say most Montanans don’t support Brady PAC’s goals, especially “universal background checks and an assault weapon ban.” 

Tester’s reelection campaign didn’t return calls or emails seeking to know why he is now accepting funds from one of the country’s leading anti-gun groups. 

Meanwhile, Sheehy has made his support for the Second Amendment clear: 

“I will fight back against any attempt by liberal politicians like Joe Biden and Jon Tester from pursuing a radical gun control agenda that threatens our Second Amendment rights. Our right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. As a Navy SEAL who fought for our country and to protect our freedoms, this is a fundamental constitutional right that must and will always be protected under my watch,” Sheehy’s website states. 


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This story is part of the Second Amendment Foundation’s Investigative Journalism Project and is published here with their permission.

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