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As Election Day approaches, Republican and Democratic candidates for office are crisscrossing Montana and making their final pitch to voters.

Sen. Steve Daines held a brief rally at the Montana GOP office in south Bozeman on Friday morning.

He plans to traverse the state over the weekend holding several events, including a rally on Saturday in Kalispell with Donald Trump Jr. and other Montana Republican candidates. He said he would return to Bozeman for Election Day.

On Saturday, Daines’ opponent, Gov. Steve Bullock, along with U.S. House candidate Kathleen Williams and gubernatorial candidate Lt. Gov. Mike Cooney, will hold a rally in downtown Bozeman. Several statewide Democratic candidates — including Cooney and Williams — will return to Bozeman on Monday.

At Friday’s event, Daines urged the crowd of about 60 people to vote, saying he’s in a tight race that could be decided by a few hundred votes.

Recent polls show Daines and Bullock within a few percentage points. Who’s in the lead depends on the survey.

The Senate race has become the most expensive ever in Montana, with advertisements flooding social media, mailboxes and television and radio stations.

The campaigns and outside groups are expected to spend $184 on advertising for each of Montana’s 729,000 registered voters, according to the Associated Press.

The high level of spending in the race reflects the national Democratic hope of flipping the Senate majority.

Daines said a Democratic-led Senate would be disastrous for Montana. He said it would leave House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to carry out a liberal agenda and would result in the passage of policies including adding justices to the Supreme Court and giving statehood to Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico.

At the rally, Daines emphasized his attendance at Monday’s swearing-in ceremony for Justice Amy Coney Barrett. He said that while she is one of the most qualified people ever to have been nominated to the Supreme Court, no Democrat voted for her appointment.

Daines has linked himself to high profile Republican figures. He brought Sens. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio to Montana to campaign with him this week.

Bullock has worked to distance himself from the national Democratic Party and make the election about issues like health care and public lands.

Daines said on Friday that Bullock’s approach was disingenuous.

“There’s no such thing as some kind of moderate Democrat any more, unfortunately,” he told the crowd, which was largely unmasked and not practicing social distancing. “They’ll all go back and vote lock step with Chuck Schumer.”

Thousands of Montanans have already voted.

As of Friday, 75% — or 491,023 — of the ballots mailed to Montana voters had been returned. The number of ballots cast to date is approaching the total number of ballots completed in the record-breaking 2016 election — 516,901.

“This is about turnout. This is a tight race. That’s why the whole nation is watching,” Daines said at the rally. “What we need right now is those who are going to be supporting us to get their ballots in before Election Day.”

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Perrin Stein can be reached at pstein@dailychronicle.com or at 582-2648.

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