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New ads from each candidate highlight their similar stances on guns

But Democrat Rob Quist hasn't always been the biggest public gun advocate

(CNN) —  

In a Montana House special election, Republicans are fighting to hold onto a seat while Democrats are trying to turn it blue. But new ads from each candidate highlight their similarities on a certain key issue.

A new television ad from Democratic nominee Rob Quist shows the country singer-turned-politician shooting a gun at a TV showing an ad for his opponent, Republican Greg Gianforte.

Quist has long been a gun owner, he says in the ad: “For generations, this old rifle has protected my family’s ranch.”

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But Quist hasn’t always been the biggest public gun advocate. In January, he proposed creating a registry for automatic weapons, according to an interview with the Bozeman Daily Chronicle. Now on the campaign trail, the candidate often touts his support for Second Amendment rights.

On Thursday, Gianforte released an almost identical ad in response, in which he shoots a gun at a computer with a Quist ad playing before turning to the camera and stating his opposition to a gun registry like the one Quist previously proposed.

Montana is Donald Trump country through and through, having voted for him by a 57% to 36% margin over Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in the November general election. With the state’s strong history as a hunting region, gun rights are supported by many across the aisle.

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The seat is open because former Rep. Ryan Zinke, a longtime Trump supporter, stepped down to assume the role of Interior Secretary under the new President. Democrats, coming off strong showings in special elections in Kansas and Georgia, are optimistically trying to flip the seat.