HELENA – The issue of money is looming over judicial elections in Montana as a battle over an open seat on the state Supreme Court gets under way.
District Judge Dirk Sandefur has already amassed a substantial war chest of $157,000 — an amount virtually unheard of in Montana judicial campaigns until outside groups began pouring money into court races in recent years.
His opponent, law professor Kristen Juras, has also focused on raising money, bringing in $43,000 thus far.
Chief Justice Mike McGrath and Justice James Shea are running unopposed, but have raised tens of thousands of dollars in case challengers appear before the filing deadline.
In 2014, outside groups spent $1.4 million to influence a Supreme Court campaign in Montana.
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