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Money piles up in 2016 Montana Supreme Court race - KPAX.com | Continuous News | Missoula & Western Montana

Money piles up in 2016 Montana Supreme Court race

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Sandefur reported this week he has more than $133,000 in his campaign account. (MTN News photo) Sandefur reported this week he has more than $133,000 in his campaign account. (MTN News photo)
Juras had just $22,300 in her campaign account last week and has raised about $41,000 this year. (Photo: Juras for Justice website) Juras had just $22,300 in her campaign account last week and has raised about $41,000 this year. (Photo: Juras for Justice website)
HELENA -

In the race for Montana’s only open Supreme Court seat in 2016, state District Judge Dirk Sandefur of Great Falls has piled up a big lead in campaign funds.

Sandefur reported this week he has more than $133,000 in his campaign account, or almost six times the money held by the only other candidate in the race so far, Great Falls lawyer Kristen Juras.

Sandefur and Juras are running for the seat currently held by Supreme Court Justice Patricia Cotter, who plans to retire at the end of her term next year.

Sandefur has raised about $50,000 in each of the year’s first three quarters, getting strong support from attorneys across the state. His numerous donors also include many Democrats, business owners and other judges, including Justice Cotter.

Juras, originally from Conrad, has practiced law in Great Falls and worked as an adjunct professor at the University of Montana law school.

Juras had just $22,300 in her campaign account last week and has raised about $41,000 this year. He donors include fellow attorneys, business owners and many Republicans.    

Cotter’s seat is one of three state Supreme Court seats up for election next year. Chief Justice Mike McGrath is up for re-election and Justice James Shea is running for the seat to which he was appointed last year. Neither of them yet has an opponent.

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