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  Comments (2) Total Wednesday Apr. 23, 2014
Congressional Candidates Report Fundraising Numbers
Top Democratic Senate candidate John Walsh trails Republican U.S. Rep. Steve Daines
Rep. Steve Daines - File photo by Lido Vizzutti | Flathead Beacon
The leading Democrat in Montana’s race for the U.S. Senate, Lt. Gov. John Walsh, raised $583,000 during the first three months of his campaign in 2013, but his fundraising total still lags behind the top Republican candidate, U.S. Rep. Steve Daines, who has nearly $2 million cash on hand.

Daines spent all last year raising money and reported having $1.9 million in his campaign account as of Dec. 31, the deadline for filing these reports with the Federal Election Commission.

Still, in terms of campaign cash, Walsh’s fundraising total puts him well ahead of his Democratic primary challengers — Wilsall rancher Dirk Adams and former Lt. Gov. John Bohlinger.

A retired colonel in the Montana National Guard who served as commander from 2008 to 2012, Walsh officially entered the Senate race on Oct. 2. He quickly became a favorite among state and national Democratic insiders after other high-profile Montana Democrats, including former Gov. Brian Schweitzer, declined to enter the closely watched race.

In the three-month period ending Dec. 31, Walsh reported that he had raised nearly $389,000 from individual donors and $194,000 from special-interest political action committees. The campaign spent around $147,000, and ended the period with $435,500 cash on hand.

Adams, a political newcomer, reported raising $103,000 during the final quarter of 2013. Approximately $69,000 remained in his campaign account with another $41,000 in campaign debt.

Bohlinger reported raising about $18,000 during the period, with around $4,000 cash on hand, according to campaign consultant Bob Brigham.

The race for the open senate seat began after U.S. Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., announced last April that he would not run for re-election in 2014. The outgoing senator’s recent nomination by President Obama to be the next U.S. ambassador to China makes the race even more textured, as Gov. Steve Bullock must appoint a successor to complete the rest of Baucus’ term, assuming he is confirmed as the next envoy.

Baucus could be confirmed for the ambassador post as soon as this week.

Bohlinger has said he may drop out of the race if Bullock appoints Walsh, his lieutenant governor, as is widely expected.

Meanwhile, Daines has two primary opponents for the GOP nomination: State Rep. Champ Edmunds, of Missoula, and David Leaser, a Kalispell air traffic controller.

In the race for the U.S. House seat, former state Sen. Ryan Zinke, R-Whitefish, leads the contest. He reported raising more than $447,000 for his campaign as of Dec. 31. The campaign spent about $98,000 to leave more than $349,000 left in the bank at year’s end.

Donations from individuals totaled nearly $426,000, while donations from special interest political action committees made up $21,700 of the total money collected, the campaign said. The campaign reported no debts and said Zinke did not donate to his campaign.

Zinke was the first Republican U.S. House candidate to release his first-quarter campaign finance numbers, which weren’t due until Jan. 31.

Democrat John Lewis of Helena reported raising a total of nearly $400,000 through Dec. 31. Lewis began fundraising in the quarter that ran from July 1 through Sept. 30.

Lewis, who is unopposed in the Democratic primary, had $319,000 left in the bank at year’s end.

State Sen. Matt Rosendale, R-Glendive, reported having raised nearly $433,000, boosted by a $250,000 donation of his own money to his campaign. Rosendale had about $280,300 left in the bank at the end of the year.

Former state Sen. Corey Stapleton, R-Billings, had raised nearly $300,000 for his campaign as of Sept. 30. He reported having about $57,000 left in the bank at the end of the year.

Republican House candidate Drew Turiano reported raising $2,500 with $1,717 in cash disbursements and $822 cash on hand at the close of the reporting period.
On 02-03-14, Christopher M. C. Cunningham commented....
The integrity of elections is compromised by private financing. Money does not buy elections, per se, but it does help candidates and interest groups feed people a perception of reality that – whether true, false, or a mix of both – makes ones own side look great while…
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