HELENA — The latest federal campaign finance reports show potential 2010 U.S. Senate opponents Democratic Sen. Jon Tester and Republican Rep. Denny Rehberg each had more than $500,000 in campaign funds in the bank on Dec. 31.
The latest Federal Election Commission reports showed Tester, who has been raising money since his initial 2006 election to the Senate, had nearly $562,000 in cash on hand in his Montanans for Tester account.
Rehberg, a six-term congressman, reported having more than $553,000 in cash on hand in his Rehberg for Congress fund. He rolled over leftover money from his 2010 campaign into his new House account.
Rehberg has not yet announced his plans for 2012. However, Politico, an online political news site, reported this weekend that Rehberg “is an all-but-certain (Senate) entrant in the coming weeks, posing a considerable threat to Tester's re-election.”
If Rehberg runs for the Senate, he could roll over his House campaign account into a Senate one.
Earlier this month, Republican Senate candidate Steve Daines of Bozeman, who announced his candidacy this fall, reported that he had about $206,500 in cash on hand for the period after raising more than $225,000 during his first six weeks.
For the latest three-month period, Tester reported raising more than $128,000 and spending more than $69,000.
Since his 2006 election, Tester has raised $1.49 million in contributions, with nearly $565,500 from special-interest political action committees and more than $922,500 from individuals.
“Senator Tester is building a tough and experienced campaign team because he knows what it takes to win,” said Tester spokesman Aaron Murphy. “He won't give up on his record of hard work, working together and success for Montana, from creating private sector jobs to cutting taxes to cutting the budget.”
Rehberg, whose report covers the period since Nov. 23 through Dec. 31, raised about $8,500 and spent about $51,000 during the period.
He reported having more than $594,000 left in the bank after his 2010 re-election and rolled most of it into 2012 campaign.
Rehberg's staff had no immediate comment on the fundraising.
Daines earlier said, “The willingness of so many Montanans to invest in my campaign for more jobs and less government is a clear message Montanans want fresh, conservative leadership in Washington, D.C.”