Wilmer leads fundraising for Democrats seeking House seat

2011-07-15T17:44:00Z 2011-07-16T00:10:22Z Wilmer leads fundraising for Democrats seeking House seat

Gazette State Bureau

The Billings Gazette
July 15, 2011 5:44 pm  • 

HELENA — State Rep. Franke Wilmer of Bozeman, the first candidate to jump in the race for open seat for U.S. House, has collected nearly $41,000 so far to lead her fellow Democrats, state Sen. Kim Gillan of Billings and City Council member Dave Strohmaier of Missoula.

All are far behind in fundraising to Republican Steve Daines, a Bozeman businessman, who has brought in $600,006 since November.

These candidates are seeking Montana’s lone House seat, which U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg, a Republican from Billings, has held since 2000. The six-term congressman is abandoning his House seat to run for the U.S. Senate against Democratic Sen. Jon Tester.

It was the first quarterly campaign finance report filed by the three Democrats. Under federal law, candidates can raise up to $5,000 before they must officially enter the race and file reports with the Federal Election Commission.

Wilmer, a Montana State University political science professor who entered the race Feb. 1, reported raising $40,743 for the latest three-month period. Wilmer spent $16,862 to leave cash balance of $23,981 on June 30. She has donated $3,047 to her own campaign and loaned it $7,500. The candidate raised $1,000 from a political action committee and the balance from individuals.

Gillan, who is workforce development and training coordinator at Montana State University Billings, announced her candidacy June 21. She raised $27,094 by June 30, all from individual donors. Gillan spent $4,533 to leave $22,561 in the bank at the end of quarter.

Strohmaier, a historian for a research firm, officially entered the race June 16. He has raised $26,436, all from individuals. He has spent $12,394 to leave $14,042 in the bank as of June 30.

Wilmer declared for Congress on Feb. 1, two days before Daines said he would drop from the U.S. Senate race to enter the House race. Daines made the move after learning Rehberg intended to announce later in the week that he was running instead for the Senate instead.

Earlier this week, Daines reported raising $599,658 in his campaign, including $44,200 from PACs, including $175,740 during the past quarter. He has spent $198,039 to leave a balance of $401,967 in the bank on June 30. The Bozeman Republican has dumped $36,311 into his own campaign.

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