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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Candidate Spending In Montana Senate Race Tops $20 Million

Sen. Jon Tester (D) and challenger State Auditor Matt Rosendale (R).
Rosendale: Corin-Cates-Carney
Sen. Jon Tester (D) and challenger State Auditor Matt Rosendale (R).

Campaign finance reports released yesterday show that combined spending by candidates in the U.S. Senate race in Montana has topped $20 million.

Incumbent Democrat Jon Tester is outspending Republican Matt Rosendale at nearly a five-to-one clip this election cycle. Tester’s spending is the most by any one campaign in a race for the U.S. Senate in Montana history.

The latest finance reports, for July through September show both campaigns more than doubled their fundraising from the previous quarter. But even faster has been the rate at which they have been spending in the last few months.

Together, Rosendale and Tester combined for more than $10 million dollars in spending in late summer as they started emptying out their war chests in the final weeks before voting.

Most of that came from Tester, who spent just over $8 million.

That money has bought ads like this one:

Rosendale’s spent only about a quarter the amount Tester did in the last quarter, at just over $2 million, some of it on ads like this one:

In total, Rosendale has raised just over $4 million dollars for his run at unseating Tester. Tester has raised more than $18 million.

Libertarian Rick Breckenridge has yet to report raising any money for his campaign.

Outside money from political groups across the country is pouring another $20 million dollars into the race. A touch more than half of that money was spent to benefit Rosendale. The vast majority of the outside money is used to speak negatively about the candidates.



Corin Cates-Carney manages MTPR’s daily and long-term news projects. After spending more than five years living and reporting across Western and Central Montana, he became news director in early 2020.
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