HELENA — Some Republican U.S. House candidates are doubling down with large personal loans to their campaigns in the closing days before the June 3 primary election, the latest Federal Election Commission reports show.
The reports cover candidates’ campaign fundraising and expenses from April 1 through May 14.
State Sen. Matt Rosendale, R-Glendive, has loaned his campaign an additional $500,000 to bring his personal loans to his campaign to $1 million. Rosendale’s loans account for about 86 percent of the $1.17 million his campaign has raised. He also has donated slightly more than $3,000 to his campaign.
Former state Sen. Corey Stapleton, R-Billings, loaned his campaign $200,000 for his first personal loan to the campaign. His loans amount to 32 percent of the nearly $616,000 in total money he’s raised. Stapleton also donated about $20,400 to his campaign.
In addition, state Sen. Elsie Arntzen, R-Billings, made a $15,000 loan to her campaign to bring her total personal loans to $78,000, or 49 percent of the nearly $160,000 she has raised.
Loans from candidates to their campaigns don’t have to be repaid.
Former state Sen. Ryan Zinke, R-Whitefish, has raised more money than any candidate in the race with total donations of nearly $1.2 million, all from donations. He has made no personal contributions or loans to this campaign.
By late afternoon Friday, the Lee Newspapers had not received a campaign finance report from the fifth Republican House candidate, Drew Turiano of Helena. As of the previous report due, Turiano reported raising $6,840 as of March 31, including a $6,700 loan from himself.
On the Democratic side, John Lewis of Helena, a former top aide to U.S. Sen. Max Baucus, had raised about $755,000 as of May 14 and made no personal loans or contributions to the campaign.
His opponent, former Public Service Commissioner John Driscoll of Helena, said his spending has not yet hit $5,000, the threshold at which he’ll have to file FEC reports.
With the election nearing, a key number in the reports is the cash on hand or how much each candidate has left in the bank to spend on advertising, mailers and other expenses.
Lewis leads all candidates with the most money left in the bank, with nearly $519,000.
Among the Republicans, Rosendale has about $151,000 left in the bank, while Zinke has $150,700. Stapleton is next with about $59,000 left, while Arntzen has about $14,600 remaining.