BILLINGS — Candidates vying to replace Republican Ryan Zinke in Congress have already spend more than $800,000 in just two weeks.
Montana voters will pick a new U.S. House representative on May 25. The campaign for the election officially started March 1 when Zinke resigned in order to lead the U.S. Department of the Interior.
A super political action committee associated with House Republicans, the Congressional Leadership Fund, has pledged to spend $700,000 in Montana’s special election and has begun running ads against Democrat Rob Quist, according to Federal Corporation Commission data. Republican Candidate Greg Gianforte has spent more than $100,000 on ads, The Billings Gazette reported.
There are no TV ad records yet for the Quist campaign or third-party groups supporting the Democrat. Likewise, Libertarian candidate Mark Wicks has not yet purchased TV ads.
Campaigns are only required to report on fundraising efforts twice before the election, meaning little will be known about campaign spending before the election. On April 25., they will issue quarterly reports and 15 days before the election, campaign committees will have to disclose spending and donations.
“This is the nature of special elections when you have a short time frame,” said Jeremy Johnson, Carroll College political science professor. “You will eventually find out about what’s being spent after the election is over.”