Baucus’s Campaign Chest Remains Strong

By Beacon Staff

HELENA – Campaign expenditures by Sen. Max Baucus during a six-week span ending this month exceeded dollars received during that time, but he still has more than $6 million in campaign funds as he seeks a sixth term.

Campaign-finance reports show the Montana Democrat’s account far exceeds funds available to any of the Republicans vying to challenge him in the November general election.

For the 2008 election, Baucus has pushed his total fundraising to $10.4 million, building on the record he set earlier this year for a single Montana campaign.

He is unopposed in the state’s June 3 primary election that has five Republicans vying to oppose him this fall.

The Republican with the strongest financing is Kirk Bushman, an industrial facilities designer from Billings, who reported having $4,000 in his campaign account as of May 14. That is about 0.07 percent of Baucus’s sum.

The other Republicans are attorney Bob Kelleher of Butte, legislator Michael Lange of Billings, accountant Patty Lovaas of Missoula and Anton Pearson, a truck driver and rancher from St. Regis.

Baucus filed his latest campaign finance report on Thursday.

It shows that net contributions and other revenue during the six weeks ending in mid-May totaled about $405,000. During that same period, the Baucus campaign spent $673,000, leaving $6.1 million in the account as of May 14.

Altogether, Baucus has raised $10.4 million since last winning re-election, in 2002, and has spent $4.3 million.

Baucus spokesman Barrett Kaiser said the campaign has hired 70 people in Montana and has field offices at nine locations around the state.

Baucus, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, has raised more than $4.3 million of his money from political action committees.

Bushman raised $5,000 during the six weeks, pushing his campaign’s total donations to $45,000 since he became a candidate last year. He has spent all but $4,000 of that money and has about $20,000 in outstanding debts to himself.

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