WATCH LIVE: Montana's Senate debate

Montana's candidates for U.S. Senate debated live from Billings at 8 p.m. EDT (6 p.m. MT) Monday, Oct. 20. Featuring Rep. Steve Daines (R) and Amanda Curtis (D). Live stream courtesy of MontanaPBS.

Montana's candidates for U.S. Senate take to the stage at 8 p.m. EDT (6 p.m. MT) tonight for the first of two back-to-back debates this week.

Rep. Steve Daines (R) and Amanda Curtis (D) will meet at the Petro Theater at Montana State University's Billings campus. MontanaPBS co-hosts with the Montana Television Network, the Billings Gazette, Yellowstone Public Radio and MSU-Billings. Jay Kohn, an anchor with the Montana Television Network, moderates.

Libertarian candidate Roger Roots will not participate in tonight's event, or in tomorrow's debate in Sidney, Mont. PBS NewsHour will not be streaming that debate.

Daines and Curtis are running to fill a seat left open by retiring Sen. John Walsh (D). Walsh had been running for reelection when he dropped out in August, following allegations that he had plagiarized his master's thesis. The race was already expected to be close, and Curtis, a math teacher and first-term state representative from Butte, was chosen as his replacement less than three months ago.

What's more, Curtis has had no access to Walsh's campaign war chest, per Federal Elections Commissions rules.

Amanda Curtis (D) and Steve Daines (R) will face off in tonight's debate for Montana's open U.S. Senate Seat. Photos courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

For this reason, she will have her work cut out for her this evening if she wants to close Daines' thirteen-point polling lead. She is expected to hone in on her opponent's voting record on the economy, health care and public land access, an issue uniquely pivotal in the home to Yellowstone National Park.

Daines has campaigned largely against President Obama's economic policies, and has painted his opponent as a far-left proponent of Big Government.

Until last February, Max Baucus (D) had held this Senate seat for more than 35 years. If Daines wins on Nov. 4, he will be the first Republican in a century to inhabit that seat – and could help the Republicans take complete control of the Senate.

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