HELENA — Montana’s congressional candidates have turned in one more campaign finance update before Election Day, laying out fundraising and spending over a three-week period in October.
The pre-election reports to the Federal Election Commission covered the period from Oct. 1 to Oct. 19. During that time, U.S. House candidates in Montana’s western congressional district brought in more than $850,000 and spent more than $1.2 million. In the eastern district, the total amounts raised and spent over that period were both less than $170,000.
Over less than three weeks, Republican candidate Ryan Zinke brought in $478,213 in the western district race, while Democratic candidate Monica Tranel raised $378,002. Zinke’s campaign spent another $654,560, including about $360,000 on TV and radio ads and more than $150,000 on digital advertising. Tranel’s campaign spent $594,895, including almost $300,000 on advertising and more than $150,000 on media production.
Since the start of this election cycle, Zinke has spent more than $5.6 million, and Tranel has spent more than $2.6 million.
In the eastern district, incumbent Republican Rep. Matt Rosendale spent only $10,056 from Oct. 1 to Oct. 19, though he had already spent more than $1.1 million during the rest of the election cycle. Rosendale brought in $61,017 during this three-week period.
Independent candidate Gary Buchanan spent $124,670 during the period, bringing his total expenditures for the campaign to $342,763. He raised an additional $81,570 over that time.
Democrat Penny Ronning’s campaign spent $26,146 from Oct. 1 to Oct. 19. Her total spending has been $134,462 since the race began. Ronning raised $22,591 during the latest period.
Eastern district Libertarian candidate Sam Rankin spent $6,125 over this period, bringing his total during the campaign to $28,452. He reported raising $4,420, with all but $250 of that being his own money.
John Lamb, the Libertarian candidate in the western district, has not filed financial reports with the FEC and has told MTN he is not raising money for his campaign.
As of Monday, more than 182,000 Montanans have already turned in their absentee ballots. Based on previous midterm turnout, that could be a third or more of the total votes cast in this year’s election.
Election administrators are encouraging those voting absentee to get their ballots in the mail by this Tuesday. After that, you should bring it to your local election office in person. Only ballots that are received by 8 p.m. on Nov. 8 will be counted.