Montana congressional candidates getting big money from out-of-state – or not

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HELENA — For the top fundraisers in Montana’s two 2022 congressional races, culling campaign cash is a national affair, with donors from across the country and a relatively small portion of their money coming from Montanans.

For example, the Republicans with the most campaign money in each race – Ryan Zinke in the western district and U.S. Rep. Matt Rosendale in the eastern district – have raised only about one-third of their funds from Montanans, and boast donors from at least 40 states.

Yet some candidates who’ve done well raising money have garnered the bulk of their funds from Montanans.

In the western district, Republican Al Olszewski of Kalispell and Missoula attorney Monica Tranel have each raised about $400,000 – and all but a fraction is likely from Montana donors, an MTN News analysis shows.

Here’s a closer look at the fund-raising sources for each of the 10 congressional candidates who’ve reported raising money for the 2022 election:

WESTERN DISTRICT

  • Zinke: The former U.S. Interior secretary and ex-congressman reported raising nearly $1.4 million through the end of December, but only $303,000 is from identifiable Montana donors, or 22 percent. Yet he also reported raising $266,000 from “non-itemized” individuals, who give less than $200 and therefore don’t have to list their identity or address. It’s likely that a large amount of these funds is from Montanans.

At least $366,000, or 26 percent of his money, came from donors in Florida, Texas, California and the Washington, D.C., area. He got another $175,000, or 13 percent, from political-action committees (PACs). In total, Zinke had donors from 45 states and Washington, D.C.

  • Democrat Cora Neumann: A health-policy expert from Bozeman, Neumann raised $764,000 through December, from donors in 33 states and Washington, D.C. About 23 percent, or $175,000, came from donors in California, where she lived for many years before moving back to Bozeman several years ago.

She did raise $168,000 from Montanans, or 22 percent of her total, but also had $138,000 in non-itemized donations, which certainly include some Montana donors.

Neuman also raised $80,000 from New Yorkers (10.5 percent of her total) and $26,000 from donors in Washington state.

  • Tranel: She has reported raising $416,000, including at least $235,000 from identified Montanans, and another $137,000 from non-itemized donors. Her campaign has said the vast majority of her donors are from Montana, although she does have donors from 22 other states. Her highest total from any other state is about $12,000 from New Yorkers.
  • Olszewski: The former state senator and Kalispell surgeon has raised $413,000, including $295,000 from identified Montanans and $10,000 from his own pocket – 74 percent of his entire take so far. He does have donors from 15 other states, but only $42,000 of his total is from identified out-of-state contributors. He also has received $11,500 from PACs.
  • Republican Mary Todd: The Kalispell businesswoman, who entered the race last October, reported raising $114,000 through December – although almost half that money, $54,500, came from her own pocket. Of the $60,000 she raised from donors, at least $32,000 came from Montanans and $11,000 came from Californians.
  • Democrat Tom Winter: The former state representative from Missoula, another relatively late entry into the race, raised $52,500, including $10,000 of his own money. He had donors from 12 states, raised about $10,000 from identified Montana donors and $6,000 from Californians.

EASTERN DISTRICT

  • Rosendale: A real-estate developer who now calls Great Falls home, Rosendale has raised about $1.04 million for his re-election effort so far, yet just $290,000 of that money is from identified Montana donors, or 28 percent of his total. He has another $107,000 from non-itemized donors, that likely includes money from Montanans.

At least $304,000 of his money, or 30 percent, has come from donors in three states: Florida, Texas and California. He’s also received about $66,000 from PACs and has had donors from 40 states and Puerto Rico.

  • Democrat Jack Ballard: While the outdoor writer from Red Lodge is the top Democratic fundraiser in this race, he’s still far behind Rosendale, at only $71,000. At least a third of his total, or $21,500, is from Montanans, but he also reports getting $35,000 from non-itemized donors, most of which is likely from Montana. He has donors from nine other states.
  • Democrat Penny Ronning: The Billings city councilwoman has raised just shy of $15,000, almost entirely from Montana donors.
  • Democrat Skylar Williams: The Billings man has raised $2,500, all but $200 from his own pocket.
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