I like it when our candidates spend money in Montana, which helps create Montana jobs.
I’m glad to report that our AG candidates are spending money here, and I hope they keep that up.
Not all the reports are out yet (they were due on Saturday), but some are and I’ll update this later with the other candidates’ reports.
These reports cover spending and fundraising for July, August and September of this year.
Raph Graybill has the word “Montana” listed 15 times on his priorities page, but “jobs” is only mentioned once.
Graybill raised $62,000 this cycle and spent around $7,000. He now has $133,000 in the bank.
He does have a lot of debt listed, but these are very small amounts for things like gas and eating on the campaign trail. He could easily pay that off if he wanted to.
The spending side of his report is pretty boring. There was a train trip to D.C. for some event for about $110, as well as a flight to New York for about $550.
He has spent nearly $1,500 with Facebook ads. That number will only grow.
Most of the rest of his spending is with small Montana businesses for small items. We’re still over a year out, after all, so there’s little to spend money on.
Kim Dudik’s initiatives page mentions “Montana” 15 times as well, and only lists “jobs” one time, too.
She raised $34,000 for the period, spent $35,000 and has $57,000 in the bank.
She’s doing her printing in Montana, and most of the other office-type stuff.
She spent $650 for a flight to D.C. for finance director training. Another $580 was spent to take a flight to Denver for a cannabis legalization conference.
Each month she pays $800 to rent a campaign office. She’s also paying $548 every two weeks to Taryn Kovac, her office manager. Another $350 is spent to do accounting and payroll work for that employee. Then there’s Sophie Moon, who’s getting $1,038 every two weeks to do finance director work.
She’s spent $6,500 with a Wisconsin online data fundraising company. She probably needs their help - she’s also spending $2,500 for 3 months of access to the national Democrats’ voter access network.
Raph Graybill paid $620 to access the Montana Democrats’ voter access network. Dudik was not the chosen candidate of the MT Dems this go-round, but I applaud her effort to go around them and get the national VAN. Smart move.
I am disappointed in Dudik’s spending, which I see as wasteful. I don’t think there is a need for an office, or staff, this early in the process. She could save about $2,500 a month on this.
Let me mention that all of the spending I’ve listed is classified as debt by the Dudik campaign.
The numbers don't add up, but Dudik has listed fifteen $85,000 loans from herself to her campaign over the past three months, totalling $1,275,000.
She’s paid off a few thousand of that debt with the donations she has coming in.
I doubt she’ll recoup all the self-financing she’s doing. Those loans will come in handy before the primary. If she gets past that, I can see having staff...but not now.
But what do I know?
Well, I know Graybill has over twice the amount of money as Dudik, and he’s got the support of the state party. It’s going to be an uphill battle for Dudik between now and June.
Jon Bennion doesn’t have an issues page and “jobs” isn’t listed once on his site.
He raised over $32,000 this cycle and spent $11,000. He now has $115,000 in the bank.
Six different PACs have donated to him, including the GlaxoSmithKline PAC, Charter PAC, Montana Gas and Oil PAC, and Trinity Industries PAC.
Bennion spent over $1,000 getting political consulting from a New York firm, Murray Consulting.
He’s held events in West Virginia and California.
Most of the rest of his spending is taking place with Montana businesses, though this early in the campaign there’s not a lot of things to spend money on.
Austin Knudsen doesn’t have an issues page, either, and he only lists the word “job” once, to tell you about the one he had while in college.
He raised $28,000 for the period and spent $3,400. He now has $78,000 in the bank.
The Charter PAC is giving to him, which is his only PAC donation.
Most of Knudsen’s spending consists of printing and Facebook ads, conducted through the Political Company in Billings.
He’s using Burnt Timber Consulting for his campaign compliance work.
He spent $600 with Oregon’s Moore Information for an opinion poll in July.
Knudsen is using many of the same companies as Gianforte is, and he even reimbursed one of Gianforte’s staffers - Karli Hill - for help with an event space rental in Lewistown.
James Cossit is the last candidate to not have a report, and I'm not sure if he's going to have one.