Money, Money, Money: March Campaign Finance Update Governor and Attorney General

Today was a busy today in Montana politics, with both filing deadlines and the latest deadline for reporting campaign finance. As always, while there are certainly more important issues than how candidates raise and spend money, the numbers do provide a sense of where each campaign is—and how effective it will be going forward.

Candidate Raised Cash on Hand
Steve Bullock $100,853 $439,721
Rick Hill $70,385 $294,750
Ken Miller $64,108 $71, 360
Corey Stapleton $44,439 $149,019
Neil Livingstone $41,560 $17,585
Jim O’Hara $6,150 $1,767
Jim Lynch $4,835 $17,541

It’s got to be of some concern to Republicans that Rick Hill—whose only real advantage as a candidate is a presumed ability to raise money—is lagging so far behind Bullock.

Corey Stapleton’s reports continue to be mysteries—he’s no longer logging any real campaign expenses and continues to lend himself money in what is increasingly a quixotic bid to take 3rd place.

Jim Lynch’s campaign continues to be on life support, and Neil Livingstone continues to lend his campaign massive amounts to money (up to $60,000 now) for no discernible purpose other than enriching D.C.-based political consultants.

It seems that only Ken Miller is able to raise money from actual contributors. He poses the only real threat to Hill in this race, but with a fractured anti-Hill field, Miller seems unlikely to get enough support to win the race.

Candidate Raised Cash on Hand
Jesse Laslovich $23,238 $82,890
Pam Bucy $22,994 $87,413
Tim Fox $42,513 $38,533
Jim Shockley $50,0366 $52,306


The Democratic race for Attorney General continues to be the most closely contested battle, both in terms of passion and fundraising. Once again, Jesse Laslovich slightly outraised his opponent—and has not had to loan his campaign any money, unlike Bucy, who has donated $10,000 to her campaign. Look for this race to stay tight right up until the primary.

On the Republican side, it only looks close because Senator Shockley has donated a massive amount of money to his campaign. It seems the Republican establishment has chosen to back Fox, presumably for his willingness to embrace odious strategies to seek election.

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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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  • Looking at the AG numbers, it looks like Bucy's numbers are slightly inflated because $7,000 of her money can only be used for the General. Laslovich has about $3,000 for the General, which means they are all but tied for money on hand when it comes to the primary, which is what matters at this stage.
    Also, in a race like this one, a $10,000 loan is a lot and really inflates Bucy's numbers. Personally, I don't like candidates loaning their campaigns money. Seems like their trying to buy the race.
    In other thoughts, I'm really surprised by Stapleton's money on hand… might actually force Hill to spend some money before the General, which would be great!

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