This week candidates for statewide office reported their fundraising numbers to the Commissioner of Political Practices. The coverage of these numbers really made you miss Chuck Johnson, but that’s a rant for another time.
Governor Bullock raised $180,000 for the quarter (April – June) and has about $600,000 on hand. His announced opponents raised nothing, but they’ve never really been the threat. Anti-retirement Gianforte is expected to get in the race any day now and will be able to easily self-fund. Let’s hope the Governor kicks his fundraising into high gear. Bullock has a great team of fundraisers and is a popular Governor being challenged by a conservative from the right-wing of the TEA Party Wing of the GOP, so Bullock’s fundraising numbers are likely to grow significantly over the next year and a half.
The really surprising number was reported by Democrat Jesse Laslovich, candidate for State Auditor. Laslovich raised over $100,000. That’s a number that doubles all the money raised by every other “Tier B” statewide – combined ($102,000:$48,000). Furthermore, Laslovich raised over half of what the top of the ticket raised even though his campaign can only take contributions of half the size.
Laslovich, who went through a rough-and-tumble primary in 2012 and ultimately lost by a margin of less than 1%, appears to have consolidated support within the Democratic Party and beyond. Furthermore, a serious GOP challenger has yet to emerge. This number will only further fuel speculation that Laslovich could put his sights on the Governor’s office in the near future.
Democrats should be somewhat concerned about the numbers reported by Lindeen and Romano. Monica Lindeen, candidate for Secretary of State raised only $12,000 and Melissa Romano, candidate for OPI raised only $13,000. Both candidates have been announced since prior to the Democrats’ Mansfield-Metclaf Dinner in March. It cannot be understated how important these two offices are in terms of protecting voter rights and pushing back on a radical right-wing education agenda.
Bullock, Romano, and Lindeen all face/possibly face extremely wealthy and extremely radical self-funders, which speaks volumes about the Republican Party in Montana.
Below are updated election rankings from the Calamity Jan writers. You can see the previous rankings HERE.
*Percentages reflect chance of victory.
|Governor Bullock||Democrat||Slight Edge||55%|
|SECRETARY OF STATE|