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Montana U.S. House candidates make fundraising push ahead of primary

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Posted at 7:09 PM, Apr 24, 2024

HELENA — With primary ballots set to go out to Montana voters starting May 10, fundraising is heating up in the state’s races for U.S. House.

The crowded race to replace U.S. Rep. Matt Rosendale in the eastern congressional district now has eight Republicans and four Democrats actively running – including three candidates who’ve now put hundreds of thousands of dollars of their own money into the campaign.

Republican Eastern District Fundraising Q1

In the Republican primary, State Auditor Troy Downing reported raising more than $602,000 during the first three months of 2024, including $200,000 in a personal loan to his campaign. He had previously put in another $150,000 of his own money.

Downing’s campaign reported spending more than $570,000 in the first quarter of the year. They had just over $325,000 in the bank at the start of April.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Arntzen reported raising more than $546,000 during the first quarter, including $450,000 she loaned to her campaign over that period. Arntzen had previously loaned another $250,000 last year, while the campaign was in an exploratory phase before Rosendale announced he wasn’t running for reelection.

Arntzen’s campaign spent almost $296,000 from January through March, and her campaign was left with almost $369,000 in cash on hand.

Former U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg launched his campaign in March and reported raising almost $380,000 in his initial financial report – including a $300,000 personal loan. Rehberg spent only about $7,000 of that money before April 1.

Republican Eastern District Fundraising Q1

State Senate President Pro Tem Sen. Ken Bogner, R-Miles City, reported bringing in just over $39,000 in contributions during the first quarter and spending more than $29,000, leaving him with just under $10,000 in the bank.

Former state Rep. Joel Krautter, R-Billings, raised more than $28,000 over three months, including $1,740 he provided himself to pay his candidate filing fee. His campaign spent $16,000 over the period and had just over $22,000 in cash on hand.

Former DEA state supervisor Stacy Zinn, of Billings, brought in more than $22,000 in the first quarter and spent just over $2,000. Her campaign had about $22,000 in the bank going into April.



Two Republican candidates did not have their first quarter campaign finance reports available on the Federal Election Commission website as of Wednesday morning. Former state Sen. Ric Holden, R-Glendive, told MTN he estimated his campaign had spent about $45,000 over the reporting period, and that about two-thirds of that was his own money. Billings pharmacist Kyle Austin told MTN he had spent about $16,000 in the first quarter.

Democratic Eastern District Fundraising Q1

On the Democratic side, Steve Held, a rancher and business owner from Broadus, reported raising more than $46,000 after launching his campaign in late February. That included $30,000 he loaned to the campaign. Held spent just over $7,000 by the end of the first quarter and had nearly $39,000 left in cash on hand.

Montana Pride president and business owner Kevin Hamm, of Helena, brought in almost $22,000 in January, February and March. His campaign spent more than $21,000 during that time and had about $3,000 in the bank at the start of April.

Ming Cabrera, a retired pharmaceutical sales representative from Billings, reported raising almost $9,000 in the first quarter, including $1,740 he provided for the filing fee. His campaign spent just under $12,000 and had almost $21,000 left in cash on hand.

The fourth Democratic candidate – John Driscoll, of Helena – has said he’s not raising money for his campaign and he plans to spend well under the $5,000 threshold that requires candidates to file an FEC report.

Western Congressional District

In Montana’s western congressional district, candidates reported raising well over $2 million in the first three months of 2024.

Incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Ryan Zinke raised the most during that period, at just under $1.5 million. His campaign has raised more than $5 million since the start of 2023. They spent just over $1 million in the first quarter and had $2.3 million left in the bank.

Democrat Monica Tranel, an attorney from Missoula, brought in more than $742,000 in the first quarter, for a total of more than $1.9 million since launching her campaign last year. Tranel spent more than $281,000 over the reporting period and had more than $1.3 million in cash on hand.

Mary Todd, a business owner and pastor from Kalispell, is challenging Zinke in the GOP primary. She reported raising more than $74,000 during the first quarter, with $71,000 of that being her own money. Her campaign spent more than $40,000 and had just under $34,000 in the bank at the start of April.

Tranel is unopposed in the Democratic primary.

Two candidates are running in the western district’s Libertarian primary: Dennis Hayes, of Townsend, and Ernie Noble, of Bozeman. Neither has filed a campaign finance report with the FEC yet.