HELENA — Democratic candidates in the crowded race for Montana’s new U.S. House seat reported their first fund-raising numbers Thursday, with Bozeman public-health expert Cora Neumann leading the pack.
Neumann, who also had a brief U.S. Senate candidacy in 2020, reported raising $469,000 for the first three months of her campaign.
Missoula attorney Monica Tranel said she raised $244,000 during the same period, while state Rep. Laurie Bishop of Livingston said she raised about $117,000.
The two Republican candidates in the contest – former state Sen. Al Olszewski of Kalispell and former U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke – said they’ll be releasing their third-quarter fundraising totals later.
Detailed reports on the candidates’ fundraising aren’t due at the Federal Election Commission until Oct. 15.
The race for Montana’s new congressional district – whose boundary has yet to be drawn – should be the most crowded and high-profile political contest in the state in 2022. Montana has no U.S. Senate contest next year, and the only statewide political races are two Supreme Court seats, which so far are uncontested.
The congressional contest has five declared candidates, and former state Rep. Tom Winter, a Democrat from Missoula, also is considering getting into the race.
Neumann said her fund-raising total showed that Montanans “are excited to win this seat,” and that she’s building the strongest team to do it. She said she had 3,600 separate donations and that most of them were $100 or less.
Tranel said her supporters “are fired up,” and that she’s ready to be the one challenging Zinke.
“I'll take on Ryan Zinke and his politics of corporate greed and represent all Montanans, not the special interests,” she said.
Bishop also referenced Zinke, saying she’s the best person to defeat him: “Montanans have invested in this campaign because they know that I’m the strongest candidate to take on Ryan Zinke.”
Tranel’s campaign said she had 1,900 donors during the past three months, from 112 different Montana towns. Bishop said almost 80 percent of her donations came from Montanans.
In the race for Montana’s other congressional seat, Republican U.S. Rep. Matt Rosendale is expected to run for re-election and is being challenged by Democrat Jack Ballard, an outdoor writer from Red Lodge.
Rosendale’s campaign said he won’t be releasing any fundraising numbers until he files his report Oct. 15. Ballard has yet to release any fundraising totals.
A five-person state commission is expected to set the boundaries of the new districts by the end of November.