HELENA – Candidates and people exploring campaigns for statewide office in 2016 have filed their financial reports for the three-month period from July 1 through Sept. 30. Four positions — secretary of state, auditor, superintendent of public instruction and a Supreme Court justice seat — are open races, while Gov. Steve Bullock and Attorney General Tim Fox are seeking re-election.
Democrat Bullock raised $595,729 for the quarter and spent $105,465, leaving him with $776,525 in the bank when combined with the cash carried over from earlier reporting periods. Republican Greg Gianforte, who formed an exploratory committee in August but has not declared his candidacy, raised $255,349 and spent $71,644, leaving him with $183,795.35.
Five other people also have filed paperwork as candidate or possible candidates, but none reported raising any money for the quarter. Ron Vandevender donated $300 to his own campaign.
Republican Fox doesn’t have a primary or general election opponent yet, but that hasn’t stopped him from raising $62,923 for the quarter. He hasn’t had to spend much, just $2,822 over the three months, and he has $95,202 in the bank.
SECRETARY OF STATE
With Linda McCulloch leaving the office, two Montana political veterans are vying for the open seat. State Auditor Monica Lindeen, a Democrat, raised $12,535 for the quarter and spent $581, leaving her with $38,188 in the bank. Former state Sen. Corey Stapleton, a Republican, just filed for office in September. Since then, he has raised $11,470 and spent $64.
The agency’s general counsel, Democrat Jesse Laslovich, is seeking to move into his boss Lindeen’s position. For the quarter, Laslovich raised $95,069 and spent $4,665, leaving him with $111,883 in the bank. Former state legislator Champ Edmunds, a Republican, raised $1,900 and spent $1,602 for the quarter. He has $961.89 cash on hand.
SUPERINTENDENT OF PUBLIC EDUCATION
Denise Juneau’s departure leaves Democrats to defend her seat. Republican state Sen. Elsie Arntzen raised $22,910 and spent $5,791 for the quarter, leaving her with $22,871 when combined with previous cash carried over. Democrat Melissa Romano-Lehman has $11,795 in the bank after raising $9,806 and spending $6,183 for the quarter.
Two seats are up for election in 2016, but only one is contested at this point. District Judge Dirk Sandefur raised $45,433 and spent $1,774 over the three-month period, leaving him with $133,544 in the bank. Kristen Juras has $22,308 cash on hand after raising $11,260 and spending $6,292 for the quarter. Justice James Shea is seeking voter approval after Bullock appointed him to replace Brian Morris, who accepted an appointment as a federal judge.