Rehberg’s Fundraising Outpaces Challengers

By Beacon Staff

HELENA – New reports show that GOP Rep. Denny Rehberg is raising more money than the challengers who are trying to claim the state’s sole congressional seat.

The race is Montana’s only statewide race for the 2010 ballot, and both the Republican and Democratic parties are expected to make it a priority.

Rehberg, seeking his sixth term, reported having about $734,000 cash left in the bank on Sept. 30, his report to the Federal Election Commission filed last week showed.

Democrat Dennis McDonald, the former party chair from Melville, reported having nearly $33,900 left in the bank. Tyler Gernant, a lawyer from Missoula, had nearly $21,300 as of Sept. 30.

The power of incumbency is paying off for Rehberg, who made headlines over the summer when he was badly injured in an alcohol-involved boating accident. The crash led to felony charges against the driver of the boat, state Sen. Greg Barkus.

Rehberg started the two-year election cycle with a big advantage — $565,000 left in the bank from his easy 2008 win over Democrat John Driscoll. Driscoll didn’t raise any campaign money, and even eventually endorsed his rival.

In the three-month period that ended Sept. 30, Rehberg raked in about $200,000.

McDonald brought in about $40,000, while Gernant raised roughly $20,000.

Rehberg also spent more, $165,000, to McDonald’s $31,000 and Gernant’s $21,000.

Two other candidates, Democrat Melinda Gopher of Missoula and Republican A.J. Otjen of Laurel, did not raise enough money to warrant filing a report or entered the race after the latest deadline.

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