Bobby Caina Calvan Associated Press
HELENA (AP) – Republican Greg Gianforte raised more than $1.6 million in his bid for Montana’s only congressional seat, according to campaign statements filed Friday.
That gave the Bozeman entrepreneur a big lead in fundraising over his Democratic opponent, Rob Quist, who earlier this week reported more than $900,000 in donations.
Gianforte and Quist are vying to fill the congressional seat left vacant when Ryan Zinke became Interior secretary.
Libertarian Mark Wicks will also be on the May 25 special election ballot.
Gianforte has spent more than $1 million of the money he’s raised, leaving him with about $542,000 in the bank at the end of the reporting period from Jan. 1 through March 31, according to Federal Elections Commission records.
Quist reported nearly $700,000 in remaining cash as of the end of the reporting period.
Much of the money for the campaigns came from individual donors, according to the federal records.
The Quist campaign said individual donations average $40.
Gianforte’s campaign manager, Brock Lowrance, noted that nearly all of the Republican’s fundraising came from individuals, with three-fourths of that money coming from Montanans.
“While Rob Quist isn’t required to disclose his low-dollar donors, I’m sure Montanans would be interested in knowing where they are coming from and who is exactly funding his campaign,” Lowrance said.
Campaigns do not legally have to disclose donors who donate less than $200 over the course of a federal campaign.
A spokesperson for the Quist campaign could not be immediately reached for comment. Its website says two-thirds of the campaign’s more than 22,000 individual donors hail from Montana.
The Quist campaign has been trying to raise money to remain financially competitive with Gianforte, who has the ability to self-finance his run for Congress.
Gianforte, who made millions of dollars when he sold his software company RightNow Technologies, spent more than $6 million — the bulk of it his own money — on his failed bid last year for governor.
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