Gianforte holds big fundraising lead over Busse

Recent campaign finance filings reveal that with just a month remaining until Montana’s June 4 primary, Governor Greg Gianforte holds substantial financial advantages over his opponents.

During the fundraising period from March 16 to April 15, the incumbent Republican, Gianforte, amassed $157,000 for the primary and an additional $72,000 for the General Election, totaling $921,000 and $466,000 respectively in receipts thus far. Expenditures during the month amounted to $84,000, leaving $837,000 in the bank for the primary and $466,000 for the General, with the option to transfer leftover primary funds to the General Election.

His Republican primary contender, Rep. Tanner Smith, R-Lakeside, gathered just $16,000 in contributions, plus $15,000 in personal loans, bringing his total fundraising to just over $50,000. However, expenditures totaling $42,000 left him with just under $8,000 in cash at the beginning of the subsequent period.

Democratic candidate Ryan Busse secured $150,000 in donations during the month, adding to his cumulative fundraising of $404,000. Yet, his spending surpassed his earnings by approximately $159,000, leaving him with $245,000 in cash for the primary at the start of the current period. In the General Election account, Busse accumulated $22,000 in contributions and retains $97,000 in cash.

Libertarian candidate Kaiser Leib reported neither fundraising nor expenditures during the month, maintaining a cash balance of $2.99.

Absentee ballots are scheduled to be dispatched Friday, May 10, for the primary election. Subsequently, candidates are required to submit another campaign finance report by May 20. This report will offer additional clarity on their financial standings approximately two weeks ahead of the primary election.

By: Montana Newsroom staff