Money Rolls Into Down-ticket Campaigns

State's gubernatorial race continues to earn the most, but other candidates are bringing in cash

By BOBBY CAINA CALVAN, Associated Press

HELENA — Lots of money is flowing into Montana’s gubernatorial race, but candidates for down-ticket races are also trying to scoop up campaign money.

Among statewide office seekers, Democrat Jesse Laslovich is proving he can shake a few dollars loose as he tries to succeed his boss, state Auditor Monica Lindeen. Laslovich, who served in the Senate and House, has raised more than $23,000 during the first two months of the year, according to campaign finance reports filed with the state Tuesday.

His likely Republican opponent, Sen. Matt Rosendale, has some catching up to do after entering the race only last month. Rosendale, the Senate majority leader, has raised just $2,345, according to his campaign report.

Laslovich announced his bid last April, giving him ample time to raise money.

Meanwhile, fundraising for other statewide offices also is picking up.

Lindeen, who is being termed out as auditor, is running for secretary of state. She raised $22,000 between Jan. 1 and Feb. 25, while Republican Corey Stapleton, a former state senator, raised more than $12,000. Lindeen had nearly $70,000 in the bank, compared with Stapleton’s $53,000.

In the race for superintendent for public instruction, the two leading contenders are heading into the campaign evenly matched, at least financially.

Republican Sen. Elsie Arntzen raised more than $14,000 during the most recent reporting period. Democrat Melissa Romano-Lehman, a Helena elementary school teacher, raised about $15,000. Both had about $36,000 left in the bank.

No opponent — Republican or Democrat — has yet come forward to challenge Attorney General Tim Fox. Nevertheless, Fox is raising lots of money. He raised about $20,000 so far this year, and had $130,000 in his war chest to fend off any challengers.

The candidacy-filing deadline is March 14.

The marquee race this election cycle pits Gov. Steve Bullock against Bozeman Republican Greg Gianforte.

The Democratic incumbent has raised more than $1.4 million since he began fundraising for his re-election in 2013, according to his campaign. Gianforte has raised about $744,000 since last summer, when he began exploring his bid for governor.

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