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Sen. Steve Daines, R-Montana

STEVE DAINES

Montana’s Congressional candidates are raising money at a blistering pace with presumed front-runners far ahead of where they were for donations in previous elections.

Republican U.S. Sen. Steve Daines has about $3.5 million on hand after raising $1.3 million in the second quarter. The first-term senator has raised five times as much money this cycle through June as he did as a U.S. representative for the same months of 2013, though early in that cycle Daines hadn’t indicated which federal office he was running for.

In the race for Montana’s at-large U.S. House seat, Democrat Kathleen Williams has raised $430,000 in three months, an amount just $60,000 shy of her individual contributions four months before the 2018 general election for U.S. House. Williams went on to raise $4.1 million for the 2018 campaign, but early funding didn’t come easy. The Bozeman resident carried 46.2% of the vote last year.

Both Daines and Williams lead their races for fundraising. Democrat Wilmot Collins raised about $91,000 during the first 45 days of his campaign for the Democrats’ 2020 primary. Currently the mayor of Helena, Collins announced his Senate candidacy May 13.

Democrat John Mues announced his candidacy for Senate in early July and isn’t required to post donation numbers until October.

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Williams leads all U.S. House candidates, but three candidates in the pack are in six figures, including Democrat Thomas Winter, a state Legislator from Missoula who reported raising $130,000. Simms rancher Matt Rains, another Democratic challenger, became a candidate July 1. Like Mues, he won’t have to disclose donations until October.

Republican Matt Rosendale leads Corey Stapleton in campaign funds for the GOP primary. Rosendale reported raising $263,000. He unsuccessfully challenged Sen. Jon Tester in the 2018 election. He was elected state auditor in 2016 and lost Montana’s 2014 Republican U.S. House primary.

Stapleton raised about $108,000. Currently Montana’s secretary of state, Stapleton had flirted with running for governor before switching to the U.S. House race. Like Rosendale, Stapleton was an unsuccessful 2014 primary election candidate for the House, but finished as runner-up in the primary.

A third Republican, Joe Dooling, a Helena rancher, informed federal election officials that he hadn’t yet raised $5,000 and didn’t need to file a campaign finance report. Dooling became a candidate June 25 and had just a few days to accept donations.

A fourth Republican, Timothy Johnson, Corvallis Schools superintendent, filed for office July 3. He won’t have to disclose his finances until October.

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