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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 339 precincts partially reporting and 250 fully reporting of 669, Gianforte held 53 percent of the vote to Williams' 44 percent, or 177,429 votes to 146,155 as of 12:25 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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Ben Pezdark easily won back his old justice of the peace job Tuesday night, polling 64 percent to his opponent Butte coroner Lee LaBreche's 36 percent.

One of Butte's two seats became open this election cycle after longtime Judge Debra Williams decided not to seek re-election.

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Heavy turnout, lots of late voter registration and data issues meant some voters stood in line for hours at the Butte Civic Center on Tuesday. The problems even got Gov. Steve Bullock involved in trying to find solutions.

The heavy volume and snafus meant the county's election results would be delayed.

We talked with a few voters about why they feel it's important to cast a ballot. According to county election officials, this was the biggest turnout for a midterm election Butte-Silver Bow has seen in recent years.

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We probably won't have results until Wednesday on Montana's two ballot initiatives. You can thank Yellowstone County. In this county, the initiatives — concerning Medicaid expansion and hard rock mining, appear on a separate ballot sheet from the state’s high-profile U.S. Senate race. The Senate and House races will get tallied first.

Initiative 185 would raise taxes on all tobacco products by $2 for a pack of cigarettes and eliminate the sunset date for expanded Medicaid services for low-income Montanans, which otherwise ends June 30, 2019.

With a lot of votes still to come in, 59 percent of voters had rejected Initiative 186. I-186 would require the Department of Environmental Quality to deny a permit for any new hardrock mines in Montana unless the reclamation plan provides clear and convincing evidence that the mine will not require perpetual treatment of water polluted by acid mine drainage or other contaminants.

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The Butte School District No. 1 bond issue passed easily Tuesday night. Final results showed it winning by a margin of 65 to 35 percent.

"I am cautiously optimistic," Superintendent Judy Jonart said earlier Tuesday night. "But it is looking really good."

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Butte attorney Bob Whelan defeated longtime prosecutor Samm Cox by more than 1,500 votes Tuesday in the race to be the next Montana District Court judge in Butte-Silver Bow.

Whelan had 8,244 votes, or 54 percent, to 7,091 (46 percent) for Cox,according to full, unofficial results from all of Butte-Silver Bow’s 31 precincts. Those were the same percentage results from much earlier Tuesday night.

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Cindi Shaw coasted to a fourth term on the Butte-Silver Bow Council of Commissioners on Tuesday, beating Rick Chappel in District 11 that covers much of Uptown Butte.

In other contested council races, Michele Shea beat Michael "Rocko" Mulcahy in District 2 and high school counselor Eric Mankins defeated Julie Jaska in District 9.

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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.

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Democrat Andy Shirtliff and Republican Randy Pinocci were leading their respective races for the Montana Public Service Commission as of 8:15 p.m. Tuesday.

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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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Here is our complete coverage of the 2018 midterm elections.  


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