Zinke extends lead, Tranel outraises Neumann in latest report | 406 Politics

Steering clear of the debate stage hasn’t appeared to dent Republican Ryan Zinke’s ability to raise money, as his primary campaign’s most recent fundraising haul continues to steamroll those of the other candidates for Montana’s western congressional district.

On the Democratic side, the pre-primary campaign finance reports that were due Thursday showed Cora Neumann for the first time falling behind Monica Tranel over the reporting period, according to reported contributions received between April 1 and May 18.

Tranel, a Missoula lawyer, led the Democratic primary field with $207,000 raised during that time. Neumann, a Bozeman nonprofit executive, raised $162,000, but maintains a large overall fundraising lead, with $1.3 million to Tranel’s $882,000.

Neumann also ended the reporting period with more $377,000 left in the bank, while Tranel had just under $100,000 cash on hand.

But those totals all pale in comparison to Zinke’s dominance in terms of raising and spending campaign cash, however. The former congressman from Whitefish added more than $450,000 to his lead during the last reporting period, including nearly $40,000 from political action committees.

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His campaign spent nearly $800,000 in the seven-week period, breaking the $2 million mark in spending to date. The next-biggest spender, Neumann, just cracked $1 million as of mid-May.

Tom Winter, a former state lawmaker from Missoula, remains a distant third in the Democratic money race. He brought in $23,000 in the most recent period, bringing his total raised to just under $100,000. He’s spent most of that, and reported just $6,000 left in the bank.

Al Olszewski, a Kalispell orthopedic surgeon and former state lawmaker, is the next most-recognizable Republican after Zinke in that party’s five-way primary. But donations to his campaign have slowed sharply, with the most recent report bringing his year-to-date total to $296,000, compared to Zinke’s $1.6 million.

The other Republican candidate to report significant fundraising, Mary Todd, also had an underwhelming total for the pre-primary reporting period. The Kalispell church leader raised $26,000, but also loaned her campaign over $250,000, fueling a sharp increase in spending by her campaign.

Todd reported spending $336,000 since April 1, representing 85% of the money she’s spent since announcing her candidacy last October.

Two other Republican candidates who have filed for the western congressional seat have not reported any fundraising so far: Mitch Heuer of Whitefish and Matt Jette of Missoula.

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