Associated Press: Republican Steve Daines Defeats Amanda Curtis in Montana Senate Race

Steve Daines won a U.S. Senate seat that Montana Republicans have not held in more than a century on Tuesday by defeating Amanda Curtis, a late substitution by the Democrats after Sen. John Walsh dropped out of the race.

Daines celebrated the win with family and supporters in his hometown of Bozeman.

“It’s a historic moment for Montana,” Daines said. “Montanans tend to be independent voters. The fact that they supported me tonight, I’m truly grateful for that.

The last Republican to hold the seat was Joseph M. Dixon in 1913. For 35 years, it was occupied by Max Baucus, who announced last year he would not seek a sixth term and then resigned in February to become ambassador to China.

Baucus’ departure gave Republicans their best shot in decades to recapture the seat. Early on, the race was high on the list of national campaign watchers: With Montana and five more pickups, the GOP retakes control of the Senate.

Daines, 52, launched his Senate bid less than a year after winning his first election to the U.S. House in 2012. He had spent 27 years before that in the private sector, first as a manager for Procter and Gamble and later as an executive with the Bozeman-based RightNow Technologies.