MTPR

Heenan Top Dem Fundraiser For Montana House Seat

Oct 19, 2017

One Democrat hoping to unseat Republican Congressman Greg Gianforte next fall has an early lead in his campaign bankroll, according to the latest federal finance documents.

John Heenan, an attorney from Billings, has so far raised more than $325,000, nearly a third of that money coming from a loan from the candidate to his campaign. Heenan was the first Democrat to jump into the race against Gianforte, and has released several campaign videos since his campaign kickoff in August.  

“Montanan's deserve someone who will actually listen to us, represent us, who will fight for us, and win,”  he says in one campaign ad.

John Heenan, Democratic candidate for U.S. House.
Credit Courtesy John Heenan

Heenan is one of three Democrats to have launched bids to challenge Gianforte, who won Montana's lone seat in the House in a special election this spring.

Grant Kier, the former director of Five Valleys Land Trust from Missoula, has raised more than $192,000 dollars since he announced his campaign in mid-September.

Tom Woods, a state representative from Bozeman, is the latest Democrat to enter the race and has yet to file any campaign finance reports.

After winning the expensive sprint race for the U.S. House this May, Republican Greg Gianforte’s  campaign is ending the latest finance reporting period with $178,000 cash on hand.

Billings attorney and Democratic U.S. House candidate John Heenan sparred with some feisty callers during his appearance Thursday on a Billings-based radio talk show.

One listener to the Northern Broadcasting System’s "Voices of Montana" program identified himself as "Kevin from Bozeman" who objected to Heenan's support of single-payer healthcare.

"Kevin from Bozeman:" We need a free market system. You sound like a Nancy Pelosi wannbe who’s going to go there and really get things done. Big government. Way to go, buddy.

Host Jon Arneson: Alright Kevin, thank you. Response?

John Heenan: "If I can, Kevin, tell me what's so great about insurance companies? Tell me what’s so great about a system where you don’t know what your deductible is going to be, you don’t know what your co-pay's going to be. You are sure that your premium's going to go up like it goes up for me and my family every year."

Heenan also says he likes the idea of publicly-funded trade schools and universities, but opposes taxpayer-funded charter schools.

When asked an open-ended question about his thoughts on Bernie Sanders, Heenen hedged, saying he's his own man and doesn't want to get labeled by other politicians. He then expressed his support for a living wage, saying Montanans prefer that to government handouts.

Heenan joins State Representative Tom Woods and former land trust director Grant Keir who are vying for the Democratic nomination to unseat Republican Congressman Greg Gianforte during next year’s mid-term elections.