HELENA — A crowded Republican field is vying to succeed U.S. Rep. Steve Daines as Montana's lone congressman, as Daines runs for Senate. Here are five things to know about Tuesday's Republican U.S. House primary election.
Who's running? The Republican U.S. House primary is a five-way race including Elsie Arntzen of Billings, Matt Rosendale of Glendive, Corey Stapleton of Billings, Drew Turiano of Helena and Ryan Zinke of Whitefish.
Ties to Montana Legislature: Four of the five candidates are current or former state legislators. Arntzen and Rosendale are senators, while Stapleton and Zinke are former senators. Turiano has never held office.
Fundraising: Zinke has raised more money for his campaign than the four other candidates, with a total of $1.2 million as of mid-May. Rosendale and Stapleton come closest to Zinke with $1.17 million and $616,000, respectively, but both have given their campaigns large personal loans. Arntzen and Turiano have raised significantly less and have also contributed to their campaigns with personal loans.
Zinke SuperPAC heat: A political-action committee called Special Operations for America has been running ads supporting Zinke since he stepped down as its chairman to announce his candidacy. The group has spent more than $185,000 overall in independent expenditures in support of Zinke. Super PACS like SOFA are allowed to spend money to support or oppose candidates, but they are not allowed to coordinate with candidates or their campaigns. Two Washington, D.C.-based advocacy groups have filed an FEC complaint alleging that Zinke has coordinated with SOFA, which his campaign has denied. The FEC has not yet issued a ruling.
Turiano troubles: Turiano participated in the most recent Republican debate after being shut out of them previously. He was disavowed by Montana tea party affiliates after expressing support for deporting all immigrants living in the U.S. illegally, ending legal immigration and concern that white Americans will become a small minority in the coming decades.