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Montana Politics

Perhaps Representative Rehberg Should Try Some “Made in Montana” Fundraising

In his analysis of the funds raised in the 2012 Montana Senate race, Matt Gouras pointed out a detail that has to make Representative Rehberg nervous. It seems that he’s having an awfully hard time raising money from the people he ostensibly represents:

Tester has also been winning the money war in contributions collected from Montana _ by a large amount. Tester reeled in $840,000 from Montana individual contributors, while Rehberg collected $286,000, according to the reports.

While I get as tired as anyone about the focus on money rather than issues in modern political campaigns, this is the kind of number that shows a campaign is struggling to connect with voters. Of course, it’s hard to connect with voters when you’re dodging them at every opportunity–and make an embarrassing gaffe every time you do speak with them.

If you appreciate an independent voice holding Montana politicians accountable and informing voters, and you can throw a few dollars a month our way, we would certainly appreciate it.

About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba has been writing about Montana politics since 2005 and teaching high school English since 2000. He's a former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.
His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.
In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.


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  • This too from the Gouras article: "The Republican gets 78 percent of all his money collected through individual contributions from people who live outside Montana. Tester gets 73 percent of his money from nonresidents." Quite similar, no? Beltway, all the way.

  • Sen. Tester is clearly outworking Rehberg. That being said, Rehberg is probably just kicking back and waiting for more of those sweet, sweet Super PAC attack ads to keep rolling in to Montana.

    • I guess you didn't read the last sentence of the linked article.

      " but unfortunately Sen. Tester rejected it because he refuses to part with the large sum of money he's taken from lobbyists, PACs and out-of-state special interests," said Rehberg spokesman Chris Bond."

      • But there's a difference between taking money from interest groups and having PACs do your campaigning for you. The former is transparent – we can see who exactly the money is coming from. That has existed forever, and is certainly protected speech. People and even corporations have a right to give money directly to campaigns they support. The difference is when you launder that money through a third party that can hide its donor lists.

  • The left's strategy is becoming more transparent.

    Their "Super Pacs" suck so it's mud slinging time. From the Hollywood reporter.

    "The Democrats’ four leading super PACs thus far have raised a relatively anemic total of slightly more than $19 million, according to federal election reports filed Tuesday.

    The paltry totals rolled up by Priorities USA Action $6.7 million), the American Bridge PAC($6.4 million), Majority PAC ($2.7 million), and House Majority PAC ($3 million) reflect a national problem for Democratic fundraisers that has become particularly acute in Hollywood."

    You guys are the biggest hypocrites. Jon will use Super Pac monies and anonymous donors. Sure, he may not use them as much.

    But he'll take every dollar given.

      • Hej do Ingemar,

        It's interesting that in the same dataset you pointed us to, Senator Tester only has one PAC listed: Montanans for Tester. You can find all his contributors there.

        Rep. Rehberg has 4, plus one oddly duplicated: Montanans For Rehberg. Rehberg For Congress, Rehberg Montana Victory Committee, Rehberg Victory Committee, Rehberg Victory Committee.

        You can't really compare apples to apples without downloading all the data and recompiling it. Rep. Rehberg dissembles even when reporting campaign contributions.

        And looking at his list of contributors, most of them are from out of state, and even some of his in-state contributors (e.g. the Siebel family) are from out of state.

        If you're trying to persuade anyone here of Rep. Rehberg's worthiness to become our second Senator given his hugely underwhelming (and frequently embarassing) record as our lone Representative, you should probably reconsider your efforts.

        • Want to have even more fun? Ask Ingy to name one thing Rehberg has accomplished in a decade in Congress. I'm still waiting for an answer.

            • Wow. He got re-elected. I think the Right's great fear–exposure of Rehberg's empty achievements–is becoming quite clear. 🙂

                • Gosh, I wonder.

                  1) It's a conservative-leaning state.
                  2) The media doesn't cover half of Rehberg's inane ideas and stunts.
                  3) Deceptive, out of state ads attacking Senator Tester.
                  4) It's hard to write a news story about how little someone has done.

                  That's a start.

                  But seriously, in a month, have you come up with one accomplishment? Surely one of the most partisan Rehberg supporters should have one, right? Just one?

                • Like your no. 1.

                  Could it be that Denny represents his constituents with his votes?

                  Do we send senators to DC just to cosponsor bills that frankly, they don't write? Do we judge senators on what the party leaders deem committee positions they fill? Do we send them to Washington to initiate a border crossings to nowhere?

                  No, we send them to vote for us. Jon didn't, he thinks we'd forget or wouldn't notice and now he's in the fight of his life.

                  Think 'bout it. According to you guys a drunken fire fighter suing, Super Pac secret contributing, God fearing, global warming denying, mega millionaire developer has your boy on the ropes.

                  All over a half dozen votes.

  • "Denny's biggest accomplishments is being re-elected to the House several times over with large margins. "

    Yes, only 94% of incumbents can claim that accomplishment.

  • The intellectual gymnastics (pretzel thinking) used to justify this extremely corrupt political system are impressive, to say the least. The invented differences between one party's corruption (SUPER PAC bad!) and the other's (PAC good!) are purely academic exercises. The taint ascribed to out-of-state bribery versus in-state is laughable.

    Montana is sparsely populated, so that saturation via 15 and 30 second ads is relatively inexpensive, making Montana senate seats a cheap buy. The guy that raises the most money, buys the most air time and has the cleverest ad agency will win, though I've never really understand the ease with which transparent psychological manipulation goes down. It does not speak well of the species.

    Nonetheless, the best-financed campaign will win, and in six years we'll do it all again, and the effect on public policy, from the standpoint of the average citizen, will be nil

    • Mark, your absolutist claim concerning 'best financed campaigns' is pretty laughable given the obvious context of Jon Tester's career. In 2006, the Burns campaign spent $8.5 million, half again more than Tester's $5.5 million. Clearly, it does not always boil down to money.

      • There are no absolutes, usually correlation of .3 or more is enough to say that there is a connection. But in politics the better moneyed side wins more than 90% of the time. Your example is anecdotal.

        • Your evidence, please. My example is anecdotal, and matters more to Montana. It also completely refutes your claim. Something that 'almost' always happens does not establish that correlation is causation.

              • Fairly easily moved by surface phenomena, are we, Philosophy 4.0 guy? I’m so surprised you’re not going deep on this. But I get it. I’m not stupid. A cigar is just a cigar. Always. THAT is how one should analyze politics. What they say is what is real. Always.

      • Your right Rob, doesn’t boil down to money.

        Especially when Lee Enterprises gives you daily Abramhoff and firefighter stories, free of charge.

        Which begs the question Don proposed.

        Where’s the partisan reporting for Jon against Denny?

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