Money Floods Into Montana Campaigns

first_imgThe two major candidates for governor are on pace to set state spending records in Montana’s marquee political contest, while the bid for the state’s lone congressional seat is also shaping up to be one of the most expensive in Montana House-race history.Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock’s fundraising skills were on full display as he reported collecting nearly $160,000 during the past month in his bid for re-election, according to campaign finance reports for the period covering Feb. 26 through March 27.GOP rival Greg Gianforte reported raising about $112,000 during the same period, according to reports filed with the state’s Commissioner of Political Practices.That leaves Bullock with roughly $1.1 million socked away for a pitched political battle that is just beginning to hit its stride, while Gianforte reports having $363,000 of campaign cash in the bank.Bullock’s campaign isn’t easing up its fundraising efforts, however, and campaign manager Eric Hyers said he worries the incumbent candidate would quickly lose ground if Gianforte taps his own personal wealth to finance his campaign – a major concern for Democrats from the beginning.“My biggest anxiety is making sure we have the resources to compete against both an opponent who will likely spend millions of dollars of his own money, and his deep-pocketed allies at the [Republican Governors Association],” Hyers said. “We have to turn up the heat. We simply can’t afford to fall behind now, or we’ll never make up the ground.”Gianforte came into his fortune by transforming a software business conceived in his Bozeman home into a global enterprise, earning millions of dollars before selling the company, RightNow Technologies, to Oracle for $1.8 billion.Bullock has already raised more than $1.5 million in his campaign for a second term, putting him on pace to handily exceed the $1.9 million he raised during his 2012 campaign.In total, nearly $5.2 million in contributions flowed into the gubernatorial campaign four years ago, the most for any gubernatorial election in state history.Republican opponent Rick Hill drew $2.1 million in contributions that cycle, outraising Bullock.In the race for the U.S. House of Representatives, freshman congressman Ryan Zinke’s re-election campaign reported raising more than $783,000 during the first three months of the year and had more than $1 million to spend against his Democratic opponent, Denise Juneau.The Zinke campaign said its latest fundraising numbers are the most money ever amassed by a Montana candidate for congress this early in the campaign.Meanwhile, Juneau gained about $363,000 in her bid to unseat Zinke after a single term in Congress, with $524,000 cash on hand to execute the campaign, according to documents filed with the Federal Elections Commission.Juneau, who is finishing her second term as Montana’s superintendent of schools, has raised $620,000 since launching her campaign. Email Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup. Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox.last_img read more