The big news in the fundraising race for governor is that Steve Bullock is raising a great deal of money, in fact almost as much as Corey Stapleton is spending in his bid to take 5th place in the Republican primary.
In his first quarter of fundraising as a candidate for governor, Bullock pulled in $157,000, bringing his cash on hand to nearly $328,000. His chief rival, Republican frontrunner Rick Hill, collected $95,000, bringing his cash on hand to nearly $259,000. That Bullock has outraised a connected “pro-business” Republican by a significant amount is a great sign for the campaign, but once the general rolls around, Bullock’s going to need a large reserve to deal with the third party attacks that the Citizens United decision is likely to generate. Anyone interested in preserving Montana’s environment and schools might consider adding to Bullock’s total here.
The fundraising story gets even more interesting when one looks down at the second and third tier Republican candidates.
Both Neil Livingstone and Corey Stapleton are going to be hard-pressed to describe themselves as fiscal conservatives, given the burn rate of their contributions. Livingstone raised $17,600 for the quarter–not bad for someone from out of state–but he spent $32,000, much of it in Montana communities like Lima (Peru) and Arlington (Virginia). His cash on hand? $1,641.
Stapleton’s situation is even worse. He raised $39,000 for the quarter and spent $42,000, but owes his own campaign $40,000. It seems like Stapleton really believes he can win this race, all evidence to the contrary.
Ken Miller raised $28,000 and spent $38,000, while Jim O’Hara raised $3,565 and spent $4,548.
With all of these numbers, it’s important to remember that fundraising doesn’t tell the whole story, but it certainly is a measure of enthusiasm for a candidate and the quality of his/her organization.