Might as well keep writing, therefore.
I think the best content has come from RD, where there’s actually a human face and human story to this crisis we find ourselves in.
I’m going to try and put more real-life stuff up as well.
But not today.
Today we’ll turn our attention back to politics, something that few have been paying attention to.
I mean...the campaigns are all but suspended...or at least in suspended animation. You can’t hit the road; you can’t shake hands. But you can still send out junk mail. Yippee!
I’ve been following the candidates closely on Twitter. Ever since this virus outbreak, they’ve been more concerned with getting votes than they have with the health of Americans or the working people thrown out of work.
All they really care about is making the June primary mail-only. They say they want this to protect the public, but the real reason is they figure it’ll increase turnout, something that we typically think helps Democrats.
For these egotistical and conceited individuals, the election is all that matters (licking Bullock's boots ranks a close second).
No one else in this country gives a shit about the primaries anymore, and few are talking about the general.
Despite that, we did have fundraising reports come out on Friday.
No one cared.
I sure didn’t.
I mean...a bunch of rich assholes - many of whom are from out-of-state - having a pissing contest to see who raised more money to waste on TV and social media ads than the other guy?
And can you imagine if we had Whitney as governor right now? We’d probably already be locked in our houses with the slight promise we might be let out this summer (in time for voting, of course).
Anyways, the reports run from the first day of the year to the Ides of March. Let’s get started.
Cooney continues the terrible optics campaign of taking money from PACs. This period he took $3,300 from three different PACs. Of course, these are Democratic PACs (the good guys), so there’s nothing wrong with this.
Cooney cares little about Montana small businesses.
He hires a Chicago firm to design his website. A San Francisco firm is doing the payroll. A D.C. company does his digital fundraising work, while another does his research consulting work.
Now, I will give him credit for hiring a Helena firm to do some social media work, and he does most of his printing with a Billings company.
Ronja Abel is making around $2,400 every two weeks working for Cooney. Missoula’s Emily Brock is making about the same. Emily Harris is also pulling in $2,400 a paycheck.
Whitney Williams raised $169,000 for the primary and $63,000 for the general. She spent $226,000 for the primary and another $1,700 for the general. She now has $66,000 cash on hand for the primary and another $190,000 for the general.
She raised about $400,000 less than she raised last period.
Anna Newman gets $1,969 every two weeks in wages. Brenna Davis got $979 just once. Brian Lenzmeier gets $3,505 every two weeks. Dayna Swanson was paid $4,500 for the period. Harry Child gets $1,203 every two weeks. Michael Toppen is paid $1,553 every two weeks. Rikki Henderson gets $2,324 every paycheck.
Fundraising consulting is done by a company in D.C., and they made at least $18,000 from the campaign this period. A Texas firm did the same service for $5,500. Clearly it’s important for Whitney to have people living in Texas and the District of Criminals tell her what Montanans want. She could hire a Montana firm to do this, but what do they know?
A woman named Kimberly Ross was paid $9,000 this period for fundraising consulting. She lives in D.C. as well.
Whitney spent $5,000 with a Maryland firm called MBPR to do “candidate self research,” which I guess means she paid someone else to dig up dirt on her so she’d be ready when the other campaigns dig it up.
A whopping $18,000 was spent with Washington State’s MSCR for “candidate likability polling.” This was done on March 11, so we know that this late in the primary campaign, Whitney still knows she has a severe likeability problem with Montana voters.
The reason for this is simple - Whitney doesn’t live in Montana and has spent most of her adult life out-of-state, raising money for rich people and their non-profits. She’s led an empty life, and any social media images will tell you this - she has no significant other in her life, no children.
She has little in common with Montana voters, little at all...and she knows it.
Greg Gianforte raised $781,000 for the primary and another $108,000 for the general. He spent $777,000 and has $370,000 left for the primary and $521,000 for the general.
$500,000 of that money was a loan to himself, meaning $389,000 came from individual donors.
Six different PACs gave about $5,000 to him.
Gianforte spends tons of money with out-of-state firms, not with Montana businesses.
For instance, Salt Lake’s Arena Communications made over $35,000 from him for mailers.
Big Sky Strategies - located in Maryland - got $5,000 for advertising strategy consulting.
There is a lot more in this report, and perhaps someone will wade through it and highlight the spending, but I doubt it.
Tim Fox raised $88,000 for the primary and $25,000 for the general. He spent $120,000 for the primary and $4,000 for the general. He has $33,000 left for the primary and another $156,000 for the general.
Al Olszewski raised $34,000 for the primary and $7,300 for the general. He spent $35,000 and now has $50,000 left for the primary and $26,000 for the general.
The good doctor loaned himself $16,781 this period...though that’s not quite accurate. He used it for printing. It could also be that he reused a bunch of “vote for Al” letters that he had last cycle. If so, that’s a good use of campaign funds, and it was a smart move saving those letters from the 2016 cycle.
One expenditure you don’t see too often is a “RV Full Wrap,” which cost $3,150 from a Kalispell company. I’m sure Don at MT Post will make light of this in a blog post. The left doesn’t have a lot in the ‘idea department,’ so typically resort to attacks.
Ian Sibbert is making $1,661 every two weeks working for the campaign.
That’s a lot more than the $35,000 he raised last period.
Graybill now has $153,000 primary cash on hand, with another $56,000 for the general.
The game of revolving Dem HQ staffers continues. Justin Ailport is making $1,000 to $2,000 a month as a consultant for the campaign.
Graybill cares about Montana small businesses, unlike most of our other statewide candidates.
I’m sorry, but money talks and bullshit walks.
Graybill continues his trend of spending money with only Montana companies, or at least 95% of expenditures.
I wish more candidates would follow his lead.
Kim Dudik raised $28,000 for the primary and another $5,000 for the general. She spent $42,000 and now has $20,000 left for the primary and $14,000 for the general.
Dudik loaned herself $5,000 a week ago. She owes money all over town, with at least 20 businesses and individuals listed as owed by the campaign.
Amazingly, Dudik owes herself $515,000 in all. I cannot believe she’s thrown away so much money on a job that pays $124,000 a year. That’s the ego taking over.
This is a rather spurious tactic. What Dudik is doing is listing most everything as a debt so that when the campaign is over in June, she can take the excess campaign donations she received and use those to pay herself.
That’s why she didn’t donate to her campaign; she loaned to it.
Even the poor staffers are listed as being paid not with donations, but with debt. These include Taryn Kovac ($548 every two weeks) and Sophie Moon ($1,119 every two weeks).
Dudik’s report is hard to read, because she has so many items paid for not with cash, but by taking out more debt.
For instance, the Billings Times received $298 on March 12 for “debt,” while Delta Airlines received $154 on February 7 for “debt.” Higgins Law Group got $1,600 for “debt” on March 5. There are dozens more just like this. It’s fine - it’s reported. For instance, the $1,600 is for office rent. She just used the campaign’s credit card to pay it.
I don’t feel this is the fiscal conservatism the people of Montana want in office to oversee budgets, but that’s just me.
Jon Bennion raised nearly $25,000 for the primary and another $5,000 for the general. He spent $131,000 for the primary and $41,000 for the general. He now has $123,000 cash on hand, plus another $41,000 for the general.
Bennion chose to take about $1,400 from two three different PACs.
Bennion didn’t spend a lot this period, and what he did spend was mostly spent with Montana businesses.
For instance, Bennion chose Dead Dinosaur Productions out of Helena to do his video work. He spent $1,365 for 20 hours of video, which is a much better deal than other candidates are getting with out-of-state firms. I’m sure the quality is better as well. He spent $715 more and got another 11 hours.
Montana companies know Montana voters better than companies on the coasts...duh!
That said, a New York firm was hired to do some fundraising and a California firm was hired to do bookkeeping.
Bennion is doing good, but he could do better. Montana small businesses need that campaign money now more than ever.
Our candidates need to step up.
I’ll let you know in three months which ones did and which ones did not. Please vote accordingly.
Austin Knudsen raised $25,000 for the primary and $2,000 for the general. He spent $10,000 and now has $90,000 cash on hand for the primary and $24,000 for the general.
Knudsen has loaned himself about $3,000.
Every single expenditure happened with a Montana businesses, except for $158 spent with a California firm because of fees on donations raised online.
It’s clear that the two Republicans running for AG care a lot about Montana businesses and their families and their employees.
Secretary of State
Boyer Strategies out of Missoula is managing the campaign for $1,945 a month, while Helena’s What’s Next Strategies also has a hand in that, for $1,700 in January.
Bennett continues to pay a California robocall company $134 a month.
Bowen Greenwood raised $5,500 for the primary and $665 for the general. He spent $5,400 and has $6,600 for the primary and $3,600 for the general in cash still.
Nothing much to report here. I wish Greenwood would list actual expenditures and not put “Gold Delta Card” then “See Addendum.”
Why not just say you bought some gas in Big Timber at the Town Pump? Why this run-around with your air miles card?
I don’t think he’s smart enough to hold office if he’s going to do his reporting like this. It tells me that for each task, Greenwood will take two steps when one is sufficient. The cost to taxpayers will be immense.
Christi Jacobsen raised $20,000 for the primary and $2,000 for the general. She spent $20,000 and has $76,000 cash on hand for the primary and $19,000 for the general.
She raised $110,000 less this period than last. On top of this, $14,250 of her money this period comes from a March 13 loan she made to herself.
Jacobson values the opinions of the good people of Las Vegas, as she paid a company there over $15,000 this period for “general consulting.”
The other expenditures involve printing and Party dinners. All other expenditures happen in Montana.
Forrest Mandeville raised $14,000 for the primary and spent $11,000. He now has $12,000 in the bank, all for the primary.
He did loan himself $10,000 on March 13.
I like this attitude - why the hell raise money for the general until you get past the primary? Mandeville doesn’t play that silly game like these other clowns.
Mandeville is saving a lot of money by reusing his old campaign yard signs. This is a $1,000 value so far this cycle.
Mandeville is spending most money in Montana, but he did spend $7,000 with an Indianapolis firm this period for online advertising. This company does that stuff for Mandeville, even though several Montana companies could do this better and for a better price.
Scott Sales raised $13,000 for the primary and $2,500 for the general. He spent $19,000 for the primary and now has $74,000 for the primary in cash and $22,000 for the general.
Not a lot to talk about in this report. Most was spent with Montana businesses. I would like to see the $5,100 spent to print 400 yard signs be spent with a Montana company, not one in Iowa.
He’s loaned himself about $3,000 this period. He also used frequent flyer miles to buy a plane ticket to some conference in D.C.
Not much to report on the spending side.
Troy Downing raised $18,000 for the primary and $6,300 for the general. He spent $11,500 for the primary and now has $62,000 in the bank for the primary and $10,500 for the general.
He loaned himself $3,250 on March 15.
All of Downing’s money is spent in Montana. Lots of dinners and bookkeeping and some credit card fees. He paid $40 for a St. Patrick’s Day parade ticket in Butte. I wonder if that’ll be refunded to him.
Nelly Nicol raised $14,000 for the primary and $2,000 for the general. She spent $22,000 for the primary and now has $46,000 cash on hand for the primary and $4,600 for the general.
Nicol loaned herself about $5,500 this period.
Her spending is mostly travelling around, some dinners, some online ads, and a bit of printing. The big-ticket item is $4,480 spent every month with Billings’ Yellowstone Solutions for consulting work.
She’s taken $360 in PAC money.
Elsie Arntzen raised $27,000 for the primary and $140 for the general. She spent $4,300 and has $30,000 left for the primary and $1,400 for the general.
$25,000 of the money that she raised was from a loan she made to herself on March 4.
She only raised about $10,000 last period. This is troubling. Here’s an incumbent candidate that cannot seem to raise any money, and actually has to resort to loaning herself money.
Is she doing such a terrible job as OPI head that no GOP insiders want to donate to her? Keith Regier was the only big name I saw this period. It could also be she has no primary challenger, and the money won’t start coming in until after the primary. We’ll see.
Nothing to report on the spending side, as there’s not much there.
Don't really matter how much you have for the general if you don't win the primary. The above image shows you primary and general money combined. Here's the primary money alone: