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U.S. Senate battleground heats up far from Beltway


HELENA — With more than 16 months to go before the 2012 general election, Montana voters are already getting a steady sample of the acrimony to come as Democratic Sen. Jon Tester and his challenger, Republican Rep. Denny Rehberg, seek an early opening in what's expected to be one of the closest races in the nation.

Each is finding plenty of early material to work with: The six-term congressman, Rehberg, is testing his opponent's image as a populist. He's calling the senator "Wall Street Tester" because of Tester's efforts to stop lower debit card fees.

Meanwhile, Tester is also playing...

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