Bullock, Hill lead campaign money chase

2012-04-10T20:15:00Z 2012-04-29T22:30:40Z Bullock, Hill lead campaign money chaseBy CHARLES S. JOHNSON Gazette State Bureau The Billings Gazette

HELENA -- Attorney General Steve Bullock registered another strong fundraising reporting period in his race for governor, reeling in more than $105,000 in the past month to top all of his rivals.

The Helena Democrat has now raised $755,333 for his entire campaign. As of April 5, Bullock had $521,485 left in the bank, according to his report filed Tuesday with the state political practices office. Of that money, $396,733 can be spent in the primary and the remaining $124,752 is targeted for the general election.

Bullock and his running mate, John Walsh, "are honored by the grassroots support they've received and they're honored that Montanans are responding to their message of helping small businesses create jobs, improving education and preserving our quality of life," campaign manager Kevin O'Brien said.

Bullock's lone Democratic opponent, Heather Margolis of Helena, has raised $1,120 and spent $1,033 to leave a balance of $87. For the primary, she had a cash balance of minus $313.

In the seven-way Republican primary, former U.S. Rep. Rick Hill of Helena continues to lead the money chase collecting $31,453 in the latest period, which ran from March 6 to April 5.

So far, Hill and running mate Sen. Jon Sonju of Kalispell have raised $564,109 for the entire campaign, including $482,629 in the primary, and have spent $269,253. As of April 5, he had $302,897 left, with all but $81,480 for use in the primary.

"Thanks to over 2,300 individuals investing in this campaign, we hold more resources than all of the other Republican candidates combined," said Hill's campaign manager, Brock Lowrance. "It's proof that Republicans of all stripes are coalescing behind Rick and Jon as we head into the final months of this primary campaign."

Here are the highlights of the other gubernatorial candidates' reports, in order of their total cash on hand or balances for the entire campaign. Their total amounts of money raised or spent are not included.

Cash on hand for the primary is the critical number at this stage of the campaigns because that's the remaining money candidates have to spend in the June 5 primary, plus any additional money they raise before then.

Former state senator Corey Stapleton, of Billings, raised $12,055 for the period. He reported a total cash balance of $159,195 for the entire campaign, including $128,025 for the primary. Stapleton has put $80,000 of his own money into the race, both in loans and donations, while his running mate, former Sen. Bob Keenan of Bigfork, dropped in $4,000.

Former state Sen. Ken Miller of Laurel raised $20,420 for the period. He has $83,661 left in the bank, including $62,093 that he can spend in the primary. Miller has loaned his campaign $32,000 and donated an additional $8,000, while running mate Bill Gallagher, a state public service commissioner, has donated $3,000.

Chouteau County Commissioner Jim O'Hara of Fort Benton collected $22,540 during the latest reporting period. He has $19,623 left in the bank, with all but $1,200 for the primary. O'Hara has donated $16,564 of his own money into his campaign, but nothing in the latest period. In this period, O'Hara has loaned his campaign $20,000 on top of an earlier loan of $8,700.

Former state Transportation Director Jim Lynch of Kalispell reported raising $8,960 in the latest reporting period. Lynch has $19,398 in cash on hand, including $13,998 for the primary.

Neil Livingstone, a national security and terrorism expert from Helena, reported raising $21,540 during the period. His campaign had $4,353 left in the bank, including $1,563 for the primary. Livingstone has donated $47,500 to his own campaign, including $5,000 this period, while his running mate, state Sen. Ryan Zinke of Whitefish, has donated a total of $27,500, including $10,000 this time.

The seventh Republican, Bob Fanning of Pray, said he would file his campaign finance report later Tuesday.

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