FIRST ON FOX: Dueling candidates in the heated Montana Senate race have reported both raising millions in the first fundraising quarter of the 2024 Big Sky State battle – one that could determine party control of the chamber this fall.

Former Navy SEAL Tim Sheehy, a Republican running to unseat Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., in November, touted his campaign’s “incredible momentum” after bringing in over $3 million for his Senate campaign in the first fundraising quarter of 2024.

The funds, shared first with Fox News Digital, include $2.6 million that came from fundraising, with an additional $500k loaned to the campaign from Sheehy himself.

“We are humbled by the incredible momentum and support we’re seeing across the state. We have been under a relentless assault with millions being spent on attack ads against us. Chuck Schumer, Jon Tester, and their liberal allies are now smearing a combat veteran because they know the hard truth: They are losing this race,” Sheehy told Fox News Digital in a statement.

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“Montanans are rallying around a political outsider who will deliver common sense solutions like rebuilding a strong economy with low-inflation, creating more high-paying jobs, securing our border and ending reckless spending,” the former Navy SEAL said. “Come November, with the help of my fellow Montanans, we will finally retire Jon Tester and Joe Biden.”

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Tester reported raising $8 million in the first quarter of 2024, setting a new record for first quarter fundraising in a Montana Senate race. The Senator, who is seeking a third term, received donations from individuals in all 56 counties in Montana.

“This record-breaking grassroots support shows that Montanans are fired up to send the seven-fingered dirt farmer back to the U.S. Senate,” Shelbi Dantic, Montanans for Tester campaign manager, said in a press release shared with Fox News Digital. “Every day, Montanans learn more about Tim Sheehy: that he’s a multimillionaire transplant from out-of-state, that he wants to transfer our public lands and shutter our rural hospitals, and that he has repeatedly lied to them about his story and who he is. Montanans know they can’t trust Sheehy, and we’re so grateful for the enormous enthusiasm we’re seeing from our neighbors who are excited to vote for Jon Tester in November.” 

Sen. Jon Tester

Democrats have put an emphasis on the Montana Senate race as they attempt to hold onto their Senate majority in 2024, with a group launched by Sen. Chuck Schumer’s Senate Majority PAC recently spending millions in ads across the Big Sky State targeting Sheehy.

Additionally, an article was recently published by the Washington Post that heavily quoted Democrat-tied experts and casted doubt on whether the Navy SEAL actually received a bullet wound in Afghanistan.

Sheehy recently revealed that a bullet in his arm, which in 2015 he said was a result of an accidental self-inflicted gun shot, was actually received while serving in Afghanistan in 2012. The Senate candidate told the Washington Post that he never reported it to his superiors due to fear of an investigation, prompting the outlet to interview several individuals and question the validity of his story.

The Washington Post used Air Force attorney Rachel VanLandingham, who called Sheehy a “deeply flawed hero whose fitness for office is highly questionable” in an April 6 post on X, as a reference to question the Republican candidate’s story. 

The outlet also reported that trauma surgeon Joseph V. Sakran, a vocal anti-Trump activist and former Democrat staffer who donated over $21,000 to Democrats, said “it is not possible to tell what type of weapon it came from nor the age of the wound.” 

Sheehy described the report as a “smear piece,” but his team said they “aren’t shocked” as he ramps up his Senate campaign.

“We aren’t shocked the Washington Post chose to cite known Democrats for their smear piece against decorated combat veteran Tim Sheehy,” a Sheehy for Montana spokesperson told Fox News Digital in a statement.

Get the latest updates from the 2024 campaign trail, exclusive interviews and more at our Fox News Digital election hub

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