Candidates Report Fundraising Totals for Quarter

By Beacon Staff

HELENA – Attorney General Steve Bullock took hold of the fundraising advantage in the race for the governor’s office, reporting Wednesday that he brought in about $157,000 over the last three months.

Overall, the Democrat boasted $328,000 in the bank as he gathers his party’s support to replace the term-limited Brian Schweitzer. He easily outpaced the other Democrat in the race, state Sen. Larry Jent of Bozeman, who brought in about $30,000 and held about $21,000 in the bank.

In the very crowded Republican field of eight candidates, Former congressman Rick Hill remained the clear front-runner when it comes to raising campaign cash. But he couldn’t keep up with Bullock.

Hill’s campaign reported bringing in about $95,000, and holding about $260,000 in cash at quarter’s end.

Corey Stapleton, a Republican former state senator from Billings and an investment adviser, reported raising $40,000 in the last three months from contributors. Stapleton, aiming for a piece of the tea party vote and hoping to also take away some Main Street Republicans from Hill, held under $30,000 in the bank.

Republican Ken Miller, a former state senator, reported bringing just under $30,000 in donations, and held $25,000 overall. Miller, who recently sold his furniture store, has run a campaign so far noteworthy for the cadre of green-shirt clad supporters working to rally conservative tea party support.

Television commentator and security consultant Neil Livingstone, who has moved back to Montana from Washington, D.C., to mount his Republican campaign with state Sen. Ryan Zinke of Whitefish as lieutenant governor, ended the quarter with less than $400 in the bank. Livingstone brought in more than $17,000, but spent more than that on campaign operations.

Choteau county commissioner Jim O’Hara, who is also running as a Republican, continued to lag in fundraising with just $3,500 for the quarter. O’Hara says his strategy of installing himself a hand-painted billboard in every county is worth a lot of money.

A few GOP candidates, including state Sen. Jeff Essmann of Billings, entered the race after the Sept. 30 close of the fundraising quarter in the latest reports.

In the race for attorney general, former legislator Jesse Laslovich reported raising $61,000 for the quarter, and holding about $50,000 in the bank.

The chief legal counsel for the state auditor is in a primary battle with Pam Bucy, who is the top lawyer for the Montana Department of Labor. Bucy tallied more than $50,000 for the quarter, including a $10,000 loan that she gave herself. The former prosecutor and executive assistant attorney general has stockpiled $43,000 so far.

Republican candidate Jim Shockley raised almost all of his money through a $50,000 loan from himself.

All statewide offices with a seat on the coveted Land Board that manages state assets will be on the 2012 ballot.

State Auditor and Insurance Commissioner Monica Lindeen reported raising about $14,000 to hold more than $35,000 on hand in her re-election effort.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Denise Juneau raised another $12,000 in the quarter for her re-election effort, leaving her with more than $35,000 on hand.

Secretary of State Linda McCulloch raised about $11,000 in the quarter to hold a total of almost $30,000 in her re-election account. Republican challenger Scott Aspenlieder brought in about $12,000 and held almost $20,000 in the bank.

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