Spending For Montana's Special House Election Tops $800,000

Mar 20, 2017

The Associated Press is reporting that more than $800,000 has been spent on Montana's special U.S. House election in just two weeks.

It says a Super PAC associated with House Republicans has pledged to spend $700,000 supporting Greg Gianforte in his quest to replace Ryan Zinke, who was confirmed as Interior Secretary in March.

Gianforte is facing Democrat Rob Quist in the May 25 election to fill Montana's one seat in the House.

"Actually the most difficult thing to determine on the special election compared to other elections is what the candidates themselves are raising," says Pete Quist with the National Institute on Money in State Politics, based in Helena. He is not related to Rob Quist.

He says that because the special election is coming up so quickly, candidates don't have to file the same number of reports they'd have to for a general election:

"Typically you're seeing quarterly reports filed all year, in addition to pre-primary and post-primary reports, and pre-general reports coming in. So, because you have a longer period of time you have more reports involved."

Greg Gianforte and Rob Quist don’t have to file their first report on how much money they're raising until a month before the May election. A second report is due two weeks prior to election day.

At this time there are no TV ad records yet for the Quist campaign or third-party groups supporting the Democrat. Likewise, Libertarian candidate Mark Wicks has not yet purchased TV ads.