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Tester tops $18m in campaign funds; Williams and Gianforte are almost even

Posted at 3:10 PM, Oct 16, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-16 23:16:53-04

HELENA – Democratic U.S. Sen. Jon Tester reported raising $3.8 million during the past three months, pushing his fundraising total to $18 million for the entire campaign – easily a state record.

Tester, who’s running for a third term, is embroiled in one of the most-watched Senate races in the country, facing Republican challenger Matt Rosendale and Libertarian Rick Breckenridge.

Rosendale, the state auditor, raised a respectable $1.95 million during the third quarter, but his campaign total is still far behind Tester, at just under $4 million.

However, spending by outside groups in the race, which has exceeded $20 million, has slightly favored Rosendale.

In Montana’s race for the U.S. House, Democratic challenger Kathleen Williams outraised incumbent GOP Congressman Greg Gianforte by an almost 2-to-1 margin in the past three months, nearly pulling even in total funds raised.

Williams reported raising almost $2.1 million in the third quarter, upping her campaign total to $2.86 million.

Gianforte, who’s running for his second term as Montana’s only U.S. House member, raised about $1.1 million during the quarter, increasing his total campaign fundraising to $3.25 million.

Tester’s 2018 campaign surpassed the prior fundraising record for a single Montana campaign several months ago – a record that he set himself in 2012, when he spent about $13 million on his re-election effort.

While Tester has piled up the campaign cash, he’s also been spending it at a healthy clip. His campaign reported spending $8 million in the past three months and $16 million for the campaign, leaving him just under $2 million in the bank on Sept. 30.

Rosendale had spent about $3.3 million on his campaign through the same period, leaving him with $622,000.

Through September, Gianforte had outspent Williams by more than $1 million – but Williams had about three times as much money in her campaign account on Sept. 30: $1.22 million vs. $400,000 for Gianforte.

Story by Mike Dennison, MTN News