‘You can keep your own doctor.’
‘A basket of deplorables.’
That’s what Montana Democrats are running against this year. Sure, those things might have been said years ago, but Republicans and Independents remember.
And they don’t want to vote for Democrats because of it. Some will never vote for a Democrat ever again.
Chances for Dems in Montana were already tough before highbrow Dems uttered those things. They ain’t any easier now.
Some think that money will solve this dilemma. Nothing could be further from the truth.
For one thing, the money that is raised and spent is often wasted.
We’ll see this quite clearly as we get into the finances.
Let’s get started.
Let’s start with GG.
Yesterday the AP had the story about Gianforte’s finances on NBC Montana, while Mike Dennison had about the same on MTN.
The AP story isn’t worth your time.
Over on MTN, Dennison tells us that Gianforte raised $719,000 so far this year.
Now, let’s get into the details of these latest FEC reports, something neither the newspapers nor the TV stations are going to do.
Gianforte has brought in $6.2 million since the end of January 2017. Some of that money no doubt went to last year’s special election.
Individual contributions total $4.2 million while $253,000 has come from PACs and $10,000 has come from the Party. Another $144,000 was transferred from other candidates and/or PACs while $1.5 million came from loans Gianforte made to himself. Finally, we have about $90,000 in offsets to operating expenditures and other receipts.
During the same period of time – the end of last January to the end of this March – Gianforte spent $5.2 million. Now he has $947,000 cash on hand.
Let’s get into the fundraising. There are 4,000 raw results to look at.
The FEC recently changed how they present these reports, and I find them harder to read. For instance, we don’t see the address of contributors anymore, unless we click on that name. It used to be on the main page.
Also, you have to view the reports on the site, as the new downloadable copies are shit. This also makes weeding through them more difficult.
That’s why I’m just going to focus on the largest donations.
- $120,000 from the Gianforte Victory Fund last May
- $16,000 from Ohio’s Medium last July
- $25,000 from the Gianforte Victory Fund last June
- $23,000 from Virginia’s Campaign Solutions last July and November
After that it’s pretty much the same story – most large donations coming from those groups. Most came before last year’s special election. Since the assault charges, Gianforte’s fundraising capabilities have really diminished.
But donations still come. The Gianforte Victory Fund is supplying the most - $13,000 at the end of last month – but others give too.
Missouri’s Al Moore gave $1,000 at the same time, and Montana’s Cindy Beers gave $2,700, as did Roxanne Duckworth.
That $2,700 is a popular amount – Montana’s Theresa Ryan gave it, as did Robert Ryan. Heck, I see that Beers gave another $2,700 on the same day!
You could probably get some campaign fodder if you dug through the 4,000 entries in this report and found the big names. Might be a good thing for the paid staffers at the Dem campaigns to do.
When we get to spending we have 594 raw results to look through.
The largest amounts were spent for last year’s special election. Some things that stood out to me since then are:
- $65,000 last June for fundraising consulting from D.C.’s Highwood Capital
- $40,000 last June for teleconferencing from Ohio’s Ring
- $35,000 last October for a voter survey from Oregon’s Moore Information
- $34,000 last October for direct mail from Virginia’s Allegiance Direct
- $25,000 last December for financial disclosure legal services from D.C.’s Foley & Lardner
I think you get the idea. Now let’s get to the staff:
- Karli Hill
- Evan Wilson
- Kari Amundsen
- Shane Scanlon
- Sam Rubino
- Chet Billi
I’m not sure how many of those folks are still with the campaign. There were about 15 more names listed from last May, but I figure that was just special election stuff.
Karli Hill was working on the Gianforte campaign last year, but sometime this year she moved over to the Russ Fagg campaign.
At this point I figured out how to narrow down the search…but processed data doesn’t much go past December, and raw data for this year isn’t really searchable.
Gianforte’s closest competitor, John Heenan, raised $196,000 so far this year, and $817,000 since he got into the race. $5,000 of that money comes from PACs or committees.
Heenan has spent $431,000 since last summer and he has $385,000 cash on hand.
A lot of Heenan’s money goes to employee pay and payroll taxes for those employees. On staff are:
- Jacob Backmeier
- John Fauerbach
- Sam Ozer-Station
- Blake Thompson
- Tully Olson
- Derek Ketner
- Ben Darrow
- Patrick Miron
- Sue Tarpey
- Brieanna Ripley
- Jodi Medlar
Here are some large expenditures that stood out to me:
- $20,000 last fall for media consulting from D.C.’s Middle Seat Consulting
- $7,500 last November for political consulting from D.C.’s Berger Hirshberg Strategies
- $7,000 last October for media consulting from D.C.’s New Blue Interactive
- $6,200 last August for research from Maine’s Haley Rumback Political Consultant
- $1,700 last August for a website from Florida’s Create Studios
Lots of money goes out of state, but many of the smaller purchases are being made in Montana.
Like most Montana U.S. House campaigns that are run by Democrats, the candidate will likely lose while the plethora of staffers will make bank.
Nipping at Heenan’s heels is Grant Kier, who brought in $218,000 so far this year, putting him up to $654,000 raised so far.
A big difference between the two is that Heenan has had to loan himself $235,000 while Kier has managed to raise most of his from other people, aside from $2,700 he threw in.
Kier also has $47,000 more than Heenan in the bank right now.
Kathleen Williams is doing better than most expected, with $218,000 raised so far, including an impressive $145,000 this year.
Moss, Pettinato, and Meyer are not factors in the money race, as they’ve only brought in $96,000 and $66,000 and $0 so far, respectively. Where they could become factors is if they get 3% each, and one of the front-runners loses by 9% or so. Then the blame game can begin.
And with that, I think I’ll call it a day on this shit.
Paid reporters and political hacks can weed through this – I’ve got better things to do.
Mostly, the raw data isn’t in a searchable format yet, making it a real headache to go through these reports.
And besides…we all know that Gianforte will win this race easily, and that Tester might be able to squeak by if he gets the Green off the ballot.
Tester’s biggest asset is that all of his opponents are shit candidates, with the to leading ones being carpetbaggers. Fagg is the only other contender, but his campaign has been run terribly.