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2020 Elections

Daines Stokes Unfounded Claims Of Voter Fraud For Fundraising Efforts

Steve Daines stands at a podium surrounded by family in front of a crowd. The crowd is tightly packed. No one on stage is wearing a face mask. The room is dark, the people on stage are lit by a spotlight.
Nick Mott
/
Montana Public Radio
Montana Sen. Steve Daines delivers his reelection victory speech in an open-air tent in Bozeman Nov. 4, 2020.

Editor's note: This story was updated Nov. 9, 2020 at 7 P.M. to include comments following several news organizations calling the 2020 presidential race for Democratic candidate Joe Biden.

Montana’s Republican U.S. senator says the presidential election isn’t settled, despite major news outlets calling the race for Democratic nominee Joe Biden over the weekend.

Sen. Steve Daines spokesperson Katie Schoettler said in a statement the electoral process isn’t complete because votes are still being counted and legal challenges are still being considered. She says claims surrounding a lack of election oversight and transparency are alarming, and that any candidate has a right to challenge the count and process.

President Donald Trump has reportedly not conceded the race and is alleging, without evidence, widespread voter fraud.

Daines’ campaign urged supporters via text last week to donate $5 because “Dems are stealing the election. President Trump needs our support." Schoettler says members of his campaign team were sent to Arizona to observe the counting process.

Meanwhile, Democratic Sen. Jon Tester congratulated Biden over the weekend and told NPR the country should move forward.

“I served with Joe Biden in the Senate, there’s no better person to help bring the country together than Joe Biden. And I don’t say that as a member of the political party, I say that as somebody that watched Joe Biden work," Tester said.

Montana Republican Secretary of State Corey Stapleton, who oversees elections, tweeted that the president accomplished incredible things in office, but “that time is now over. Tip your hat, bite your lip, and congratulate Joe Biden.”

A spokesperson for Republican Governor-elect Greg Gianforte, currently Montana’s lone congressman, Monday cited a Gianforte campaign tweet from Friday saying “we must protect the integrity of our elections and ensure that every legal vote is counted.”

A campaign spokesperson for state Auditor Matt Rosendale, the Republican who was elected to replace Gianforte in the U.S. House, has not returned requests for comment since Friday.

Kevin Trevellyan is Yellowstone Public Radio's Report for America statehouse reporter.