Tom Lutey put up a good report in the Ravalli Republic a couple days ago, and it’s worth a look to get a different perspective on this story.
You’ll need to look at that to get a better picture of where all of Daines’ money is coming from. Lots of sources, Lutey tells us....14 different committees.
I’m going to focus on where the money is going, not where it’s coming from. I suspect MT Free Press will give us the latter in a couple days.
Here we go.
John Mues’ report goes from mid-June to the end of the year.
He raised nearly $131,000 and spent $99,000. He now has $32,000 cash on hand, though he also has $52,000 in debt.
Mues lists 96 instances of campaign spending in his report.
I don’t understand all of Mues’ spending. For instance, he has $565 listed for catering in Oregon, going through someone named Justin Sawyer.
Now, it could be that Sawyer is a staffer that still has his address listed as Oregon. I’ve seen these kinds of things before. Could also be that Mues is just holding out-of-state fundraisers. Happens a lot.
The FEC doesn’t give us nearly as much information in the finance reports as the State of Montana does.
Another $325 was spent for catering/site rental in Washington State, which went through a person named Christian Sinderman.
Mues is using Tim Warner’s Plazby Solutions as well. I covered this outfit several years ago.
Several hundred dollars was spent taking Lyft rides in California. I assume this was spent in an attempt to raise money in California. Just what Montanans want in their lone representative.
$3,000 was given to D.C.’s Basecamp Strategy for digital consulting. As usual, the people that claim they want to create Montana jobs spend most of their campaign money creating jobs out of state.
California’s Matthew Wheat was given $3,600 for video production work.
$10,000 was given to D.C.’s Putnam Partners for media production.
Both political parties are rotten in this department, as no one holds their feet to the flames of accountability. Yep, Dems and Republicans spend most of their money out-of-state. Makes me sick.
Now, to be fair, Mues is spending money in the state. For instance, a Montana company called Fortune America Consulting got $1,700 for general consulting strategy.
But the five largest expenditures all happen out-of-state - four in D.C. and one in California, totalling over $22,000.
The largest expenditure for Montana was with Enterprise for car rentals totalling nearly $2,000.
Cora Neumann’s report starts at the end of September and goes to the year-end.
She raised $463,000 and has spent $171,000, leaving her with $291,000 cash on hand. She has zero debt.
Neumann’s report is not totally available on the FEC website yet. I can’t see receipts or disbursements, but will update this report later with that info.
Wilmot Collins’ report starts in April and goes to year-end. He raised $237,000 and spent $198,000, leaving him with about $39,000 cash on hand. He has zero debt.
There are 137 total instances of spending in Collins’ report, but we’ll just focus on the big stuff today.
Collins is giving most of his money to New York firms, followed by those in D.C. These make up the five largest expenditures.
A New York Company called Assemble got $28,500 for digital advertising.
D.C.’s Middle Seat Consulting got $7,000 for Collins’ website.
I had to go visit this $7,000 site, mainly to see what a $7,000 website looks like.
I was not impressed. It’s a single page, but it does have a separate issues page with a few paragraphs for seven issues.
$7,000 for that?
The “Latest” section of the site tells us that Collins hasn’t done anything since October. And this begs the question...if you spend $7,000 for a site but then don’t maintain it...was that a good use of funds?
Let’s move on.
Collins did give $3,500 to Montana’s Magellan Communications for communications consultations.
The 7th largest expenditure that Collins made was to pay Trent Bolger $3,038 in salary (Bolger used to be on the staff of the Montana Democratic Party). Collins’ 8th largest expenditure was to pay $3,038 in payroll taxes and related expenses for having Bolger on staff.
Bolger’s monthly salary seems have gone down after that to $2,670 a month. He’s the only staffer, and Collins has spent around $30,000 so far in payroll and payroll expenses to keep him on.
As usual with many Democratic campaigns in this state, the candidate will lose, but their staffers - having made out like bandits - will win.
Amazingly, people actually hire these staffers cycle after cycle.
Is Mike Knoles still a candidate for Senate? Wikipedia still lists him, but he doesn’t have any reports with the FEC.
Steve Daines’ report starts on January 1, 2019 and goes to year-end. He raised $5.2 million, spent $1.6 million and has $5 million cash on hand still. He has zero debt.
Daines has 629 separate spending transactions in his report.
The largest expenditure is $61,000 to Gula Graham in D.C. for “PAC Fundraising Commission” in August, whatever that is. Graham also got $35,000 in April for the same thing.
$60,000 was given to Oregon’s Moore Information for a voter survey.
The next four largest expenditures go to Virginia’s Allegiance Direct and MDI Imaging & Mail for printing and mailing work totalling $189,000.
There are lots more, but I’ll just skip around and focus on some interesting things.
For instance, Daines has spent over $50,000 on Facebook and Google ads alone so far.
$12,000 has been spent with Delta to fly around.
$5,200 was spent to cater a March event at the Yellowstone Club.
And there’s a lot more. Daines has a huge report because he has a lot of money raised and he’s spending a lot of it.
He’s in a great position to earn another term. The Democrats in this race are way behind him in the money department, and they’re not going to catch up.
Neumann is currently doing the best, but she has $4.7 million less cash on hand than Daines.
None of the other Democrats even come close to her. Chances are good she’ll win the nomination, though Collins seems to have the Helena Bubble’s support, and that could prove decisive.
At this point, I really don’t see how Daines is going to lose unless the economy collapses or Trump has a serious health scare, which forces Pence to take over and possibly run for the top spot himself.
These things are unlikely to happen, however, meaning Democrats will have to win on their own.
That’s going to be difficult, incredibly so.