HELENA, Mont. (WR) — Montnana’s first U.S. Senate debate will pit Republican incumbent Sen. Steve Daines towards his Democratic opponent, Gov. Steve Bullock, in a aggressive race as Democrats search to regain management of the Senate.

The controversy, which can be televised Saturday night, would be the first of three alternatives for voters to listen to the candidates sq. off on the problems which might be set to dominate the race, together with the candidates’ response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Bullock was praised for his swift motion curbing the virus earlier this yr, which included a shutdown order that helped hold an infection charges low. However latest weeks have introduced an uptick in COVID-19 circumstances as Montana’s economic system has reopened, main the governor to implement a controversial masks mandate that has drawn ire from some Montana residents.

Bullock entered the race in March. He had repeatedly insisted that he was not inquisitive about operating for U.S. Senate following a presidential bid that failed to realize traction.

Daines was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 2014, after filling Montana’s sole U.S. Home seat for 2 years.

Montana has leaned pink lately, with Trump profitable Montana by 20 factors in 2016. However Bullock’s entry into the race has put the Senate seat in play for the Democrats, who should acquire a minimum of three further seats in November to win management of the Senate.

The race has up to now been one of many priciest on file in Montana, with each candidates drawing donations from throughout the nation and out of doors teams spending tens of millions on promoting.

The controversy is ready to be recorded remotely via a web based platform, because the Montana Broadcasters Affiliation, which is internet hosting the controversy, seeks to take precautions towards the unfold of the coronavirus.

___

Iris Samuels is a corps member for the Related Press/Report for America Statehouse Information Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit nationwide service program that locations journalists in native newsrooms to report on undercovered points.