Two senate races will dominate western elections in 2012. In Montana, incumbent Democrat Senator Jon Tester is in a difficult re-election and behind by a few points in several polls to Republican Congressman Denny Rehberg.
Nevada will have another major battle after the epic fight in 2010 won by Majority Leader Harry Reid. Newly appointed Senator Dean Heller is close in fundraising to Democrat Representative Shelley Berkley. The race appears very competitive.
Montana has a spirited governor’s race to replace term-limited Democrat Brian Schweitzer. Democrat Attorney General Steve Bullock out-fundraised Republican Congressman Rick Hill, the frontrunner in an eight-person Republican primary.
Washington, which has a recent history of close governor’s elections, may be heading toward another with Republican Attorney General Rob McKenna and Democrat Congressman Jay Inslee in a race judged very competitive by local analysts. Christine Gregoire, the Democratic term-limited governor, just made national press by signing the country’s eighth gay marriage law.