Oct 16, 2013 8:53 AM by Jay Kohn - MYN News

Montana 2014 political season off and running

BILLINGS - Although the 2014 election is still more than a year away, the money is already pouring in as the candidates and political parties gear up for another epic power struggle.

Campaign finance reports out Tuesday show how the candidates fared over the past three months in raising money.

Republican Congressman Steve Daines' new fundraising totals show that he has more than $1 million on hand as he considers a possible run for the U.S. Senate. Daines' totals released on Tuesday show that for the past quarter he has taken in $640,000.

Democratic Senate hopeful Montana Lt. Gov. John Walsh is not required to report his fundraising totals, since he just announced his candidacy last week.

Meanwhile in the race for Montana's lone seat in the U.S. House - which Daines is expected to vacate to run for U.S. Senate - former Billings state Senator Corey Stapleton reports more than $300,000 on hand. He reports raising $68,000 in the last quarter.

Democrat John Lewis, who formally announced his candidacy on Monday of this week has raised $189,000 so far.

Montana State University-Billings political science professor Dr. Craig Wilson says the impressive cash flow for the candidates so far should serve as a warning sign for voters.

"It's interesting that the 2014 campaign is underway already" said Wilson. " It's often said that money is the mother's milk of politics, you have to have it in terms of running.

Several other candidates are expected to jump into the race for Montana's U.S. House seat.

Glendive Republican state Senator Matt Rosendale kicked off his campaign Tuesday with a series of campaign stops across the state.

Missoula Republican state Representative Champ Edmonds, who earlier announced plans to run for U.S. Senate, now says he will run for Congress if Daines vacates his U.S. House seat.

Former state Senator Ryan Zinke of Whitefish is also considering a run at statewide office, announcing earlier this week that he has created an exploratory committee to assess his chances at securing the GOP's nomination to the U.S. House.


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