HELENA, Mont. — The Latest on the Republican debate for Montana’s U.S. Senate seat (all times local):

8:55 p.m.

Each of the four candidates seeking the Republican nomination for Montana’s U.S. Senate election this fall says he has the best shot of ousting Democratic incumbent Jon Tester this fall.

Businessman Troy Downing, former District Judge Russell Fagg, state Sen. Al Olszewski and State Auditor Matt Rosendale met in their first debate Thursday night at Montana State University.

Each sought to establish his conservative bona fides on topics that included the economy, immigration, the military, public lands and health care.

Rosendale has the support of big-name Washington insiders such as former presidential adviser Steve Bannon and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz.

Fagg touted his state GOP endorsements, while Downing played up that he is an outsider like President Donald Trump was.

Olszewski is embracing his role as the dark-horse candidate with a strong conservative message.


11:35 a.m.

Four Republican candidates competing for the chance to challenge incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Jon Tester this fall are meeting for their first debate.

The College Republicans at Montana State University are hosting the debate on the MSU campus in Bozeman at 7 p.m. Thursday.

It will be the first time many voters will hear from businessman Troy Downing, former District Judge Russell Fagg, state Sen. Al Olszewski and State Auditor Matt Rosendale.

The meeting will be a chance for them to highlight the differences between each other less than three months before the June 5 primary

Rosendale says he will emphasize his name recognition, while Fagg says he will talk about his deep Montana roots.

Downing says he is the only combat veteran in the race, while Olszewski says he’s the dark horse with a strong message.