HELENA — Lawrence VanDyke is back on the ballot for Supreme Court justice, but he starts out at a big disadvantage in campaign fundraising in his race against Justice Mike Wheat.
On Tuesday, the Montana Supreme Court reinstated VanDyke to the November general-election ballot. It reversed an April 25 decision by District Judge Mike Menahan of Helena that removed VanDyke from the fall ballot on eligibility grounds.
Campaign finance reports filed with the state Commissioner of Political Practices offices show that VanDyke had raised a total of $18,560 and had $4,484 left in the bank on July 5.
In comparison, Wheat had raised a total of $76,570 and reported having $67,923 left in the bank on July 5.
VanDyke’s fundraising hit a brick wall after Menahan declared him ineligible for the November general-election ballot.
Campaign finance reports showed VanDyke had raised a total of $9,795 through April 5, $13,890 through May 14, $18,040 through May 24, $18,560 through June 17 and the same $18,560 through July 5.
VanDyke’s cash on hand, or money left in the bank, totals went from $3,118 on May 14 to $5,824 on May 24, $5,919 on June 18 and $4,484 on July 5.
Meanwhile, Wheat’s campaign fundraising total went from $20,000 on April 5 to $64,530 on May 14, to $67,530 on May 24, to $67,270 on May 28, to $75,060 on June 18 and to $76,570 on July 5.
Likewise, Wheat’s cash on hand totals grew from $20,000 on April 5 to $59,156 on May 14, to $61,886 on May 24, to $66,413 on June 18 and $67,923 on July 5.
VanDyke’s name remained on the June primary ballot because the ballots were already being printed when Menahan’s decision came.
In the primary, Wheat had 62 percent of the votes, while VanDyke had 38 percent.