HELENA, Mont. -

The $47 million U.S. Senate race between Democrat Jon Tester and Republican Denny Rehberg is Montana's top news story of 2012.

Associated Press member editors overwhelmingly chose the bruising campaign as the year's biggest story.

Tester defeated the congressman to win a second term and solidify Democratic control of the U.S. Senate.

Other top stories included the kidnapping and slaying of Sidney High School teacher Sherry Arnold, investigations into how the University of Montana and Missoula responded to reports of sexual assault and the state's worst wildfire season in a century.

The 2012 election dominated the list, with half the top 10 stories involving campaigns, a medical marijuana referendum and the influence of outside money.