It's actually quite boring.
It's all in the numbers.
Both of Montana’s gubernatorial candidates submitted their 2016 campaign reports for the latest period yesterday.
I saw those were coming in late on Monday night and I went ahead and emailed the ladies at COPP and they told me that they’d have those reports up and available as soon as their in the CERS system.
Late yesterday afternoon, those campaign finance reports (C-5s) were made public.
I’ll have analysis of those reports for you, without the bullshit.
Others are trying to do the same.
- The Journal Times had the first report I saw, around 7:30 PM, though it came out around 4:30. That paper is out of Wisconsin.
- MT Cowturd was sharing this link, which I found a bit odd. It was probably because Gianforte shared a Bozeman radio story about the fundraising numbers.
- The AP then picked up that story and ran it a short time later.
- There’s Montana Public Radio, which put up something around 5:30
- Cowturd’s 7:42 post was pathetically short.
I didn't read any of those before I wrote this post.
The point is, we don’t have a lot of local reporting on these finances yet.
All I know is what I heard on Twitter around 3:30 yesterday, and a bit before.
Yesterday it was announced that Greg Gianforte had raised $173,000 over this past period, and in 56 days to be specific.
I got that email around 1:30 yesterday afternoon from the Gianforte campaign. Montana Public Radio broke it shortly after that.
For the next two hours or so there was a lot of back and forth between the paid hacks. Then reporter Holly Michaels broke the news that Bullock had raised more than that.
For Bullock, he raised $180,654 for the first period of 2016.
After that it was a big pissing match for a few hours between Bullock’s East Coast operatives on Twitter and those that control the Twitter handles for the Gianforte campaign.
So it was interesting stuff, most of which I missed because I was downtown doing signature gathering.
Even David Parker over at MSU says those numbers are “not good for the incumbent,” meaning Bullock.
Gianforte notes how raising that sum is “unprecedented for the challenger.”
He’s also got a good TV ad line – “if it came from a PAC, we sent it back.”
Alright, so that’s what everyone else said. I’ll analyze that after I take a look at those C-5 reports myself.
Let’s dive in.
Steve Bullock’s 2016 Q1 Fundraising Report
Last time we found out that Bullock was relying a little too much on out-of-state businesses for his campaign spending.
Has that changed?
Well, let’s start at the top.
Bullock raised $135,967 this period for the primary and another $44,687 for the general.
You know a primary opponent will be chosen by the Montana Democratic Party so that Bullock doesn’t have to give that primary money back.
This will be a paper tiger and there will be no reason to give them money, or your vote – it’s fake, they're fake.
Bullock spent $75,495 of his primary money and $0 of his general election money.
All told, Bullock has $666,642 for the primary and another $349,678 for the general.
That puts Bullock at $1.01 million in his campaign war chest.
For the PACs, Bullock received the following:
- 3M Company (Minnesota): $650
- Ash Grove Cement PAC (Kansas): $650
- Friends of Bill Slaton (California): $650
- Kutak Rock LLP PAC (Nebraska): $650
- Montanans for Lewis (Helena): $660
- Montanans for Lewis (Helena) $10 (primary)
- Philips Electronics of North America Corp. PAC (D.C.): $300
- Ravalli County Democratic Women’s Club (Hamilton): $250
I'm sorry, but I didn't give $10 to John Lewis last year so his fucking PAC can turn around and give it to Bullock.
Will a legislator step up and remedy this insult to democracy with a bill?
Don't make me laugh.
On another point, is the $2,600 you get from out-of-state PACs really worth the headaches and heartache (TV ads) that Gianforte will put you through for taking it?
I don’t think so.
It tells you Bullock's level of political acumen, or perhaps just the pits of desperation he's in.
After that we got a lot of smaller donations from individuals, most under $100.
Where did they come from?
Mostly Montana, with some in California, quite a few Maryland donations, and some D.C. giving as well.
Big donations from Washington State (is Guinn allowed to give that much?) but most of the money comes from in-state.
For Bullock’s expenditures over the period, we get a lot of this:
- Artcraft Printers (Bozeman)
- Brock Consulting (Missoula)
- Campaign Compliance (Missoula)
- Mailing Technical Services (Billings)
- Montana Democratic Party (Helena)
- Rising Tide Interactive (D.C.)
The $540 spent at Last Chance Creperie raises my eyebrow, but at least it’s in-state spending.
For the Montana Democratic Party, Bullock is paying the following “salary reimbursement:”
- Jan 4: $4,352.60
- Feb 19: $4,352.30
When it comes to some of the large expenditures, it looks like this:
- Rising Tide Interactive, a Washington, D.C. PAC and consulting firm, really made a lot from Bullock. He gave them $6,875 in January.
- He gave them another $9,000 over a three-week period in February.
- The Democratic VAN system in D.C. got $2,100 from Bullock.
- Brock Consulting in Missoula got $8,021 from January to February.
Greg Gianforte’s 2016 Q1 Fundraising Report
He spent $175,313 this period for the primary and $0 for the general.
All told, Gianforte has $110,875 for the primary and $219,951 for the general.
That means Gianforte has $330,826 in his campaign war chest, or $685,000 less than Bullock.
Still, the guy’s a billionaire – why’s it matter?
For income, Gianforte has a lot of “pass the hat” fundraising from his regulation roundup events. Besides that, just individual contributors making up to $660 in donations.
Gianforte spent a lot of money this period, about 6 pages worth by my count.
That largely breaks down like so:
- 360 Office Solutions (Billings)
- 47 North Communications (Billings)
- Axiom Strategies (Kansas)
- Prosper Group Corporation (Indiana)
- Ring LLC (Ohio)
- Red Print Strategy (Virginia)
- Special Projects (Helena)
- The Political Company (Billings)
The large expenditures that stood out to me from the Gianforte campaign were as follows:
- Axiom Strategies was $1,676 for “5000 Palmcards,” whatever the hell those are.
- Prosper Group got $22,500 for online advertising and social media advertising over the course of January.
- Ring LLC got $28,418 in January and February for the telephone town halls that Gianforte put on.
- Red Print Strategy got $12,500 in January for “ad production.”
- Special Projects does the campaign’s bookkeeping and got $3,235 for that.
- Gil Geesey in Bozeman got $2,195 for office rent each month.
- The Hilton Garden Inn in Bozeman got $1,394 for lodging at the end of January.
- Gianforte paid out $7,072 in payroll taxes for January. That money went to the IRS in Utah. In February he paid out $8,259.
- He also paid out $3,563 in payroll taxes to the Montana Department of Revenue.
- Something called “Salient Point” got $5,818 on January 27 for “Communications Labor & Airfare.” Not sure what that is.
- Ralph Kuney was paid $1,023 for “21 rolls .49 stamps.” Guess those are big rolls.
Most everything else was basic postage, fuel, meals, lodging, and miscellaneous stuff that goes along with running a statewide campaign.
Besides that, this is how Gianforte’s campaign staff salaries break down:
- Amy Lunde: $2,975.93 every two weeks;
- Aaron Flint: $2,669.61 every two weeks;
- Paige Davis: $1,686.20 every two weeks;
- Ron Catlett: $1,274.78 every two weeks;
- Morgan Darlington: $1,122.56 every two weeks;
- Devin Morrison: $932.03 every two weeks;
That comes to $21,322 that Gianforte pays out in wages every month.
He needs $170,000 to keep paying them for the next eight months of the campaign. That's more than doable.
Amy Lunde seems to be the key player of the campaign, with Flint a close second…at least if you go by their pay grades.
I’m not sure what the Montana Democratic Party is doing. For the most part, Gianforte has 6 people working for him and Bullock has 2…at least that I can see.
So even in the campaign, Gianforte has created 6 new jobs in the state while Bullock has brought on freelance workers from out-of-state.
That doesn't play well.
There’s still a lot of out-of-state spending and I’m not happy with that.
It’s not creating jobs in Montana.
Gianforte could easily remedy these mistakes. Perhaps he's already switching to in-state businesses.
It'd be dumb not to.
Besides that, there’s not a whole lot here to get worked up about. It’s early.
Wait until the TV ads start up.