Campaign Finance

Opinion: Montana Special Election Unlikely to Predict Larger Political Trend
But get ready for a barrage of talking points

Democrat Rob Quist, right, is vying with Republican Greg Gianforte in the race for Montana’s at-large House seat. (Courtesy Greg for Montana, Rob Quist for Montana)

Sometime after 10 p.m. Thursday in Washington, everyone in politics will feign being an expert on Montana or, as they will call it with an insider’s flourish, Big Sky Country. The returns from the first statewide race of the Trump era will inevitably trigger the type of frenzied over-analysis reserved for special elections at moments of political turmoil.

If the Republicans hang on to the House seat vacated by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, the sighs of relief from imperiled GOP incumbents may set off every wind chime in the D.C. area. Greg Gianforte, who ran 47,000 votes behind Donald Trump in a losing 2016 bid for governor, brings to the race two decided advantages — he is rich (he sold his software company for $1.5 billion in 2011) and he is a Republican.

Supreme Court Affirms Ban on ‘Soft Money’ in Campaigns
Opponents of ban say they will take concerns to Congress

Rep. John Sarbanes, D-Md., applauded the high court's decision to let a lower court's ruling on the case stand. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Supreme Court on Monday upheld the so-called soft money ban on state and local parties, prompting opponents of the restriction to turn their pleas for repeal to Congress.

Although proponents of political money limits cheered the decision, they said that new Justice Neil Gorsuch’s position on the case confirmed their fears about his campaign finance views.

Rokita and Messer Trade Accusations
Indiana Republican congressmen are both considering running for Senate against Donnelly

Rep. Todd Rokita  said fellow Indiana Republican Rep Luke Messer planted a story about him using campaign funds for a private plane. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Todd Rokita is accusing fellow Republican Rep. Luke Messer of planting a negative story about him in the media ahead of the two possibly facing in Indiana’s Senate race next year.

A recent post in Politico Pro revealed that Rokita had used $100,000 in campaign funds on use of a private plane. The story pointed out that he had broken no ethics rules or laws.

Rating Change: Montana Special Creeps Closer to Tossup
Voters to decide Thursday who will replace Interior Secretary Zinke

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who won last year’s Democratic presidential primary in Montana, campaigned over the weekend with Democratic House candidate Rob Quist. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The special election for Montana’s at-large House seat hasn’t received as much as attention as the race in Georgia, but it’s a similar storyline: Democrats are doing better than expected and an upset is within the realm of possibility.

Less than a week before the Thursday, May 25, election, wealthy former software executive Greg Gianforte has a narrow advantage over his Democratic opponent, musician Rob Quist. But Quist recently crossed the $5 million fundraising threshold, giving him ample resources to deliver his message in the final days in a relatively cheap state for advertising. 

DCCC Breaks April Fundraising Record With $9 Million Haul
GOP outraised Democratic campaign arm by $1 million

New Mexico Rep. Ben Ray Luján is chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee raised more than $9 million in April, breaking its previous fundraising records for the month. Still, that’s about a million dollars less than what the group’s Republican counterpart raised last month.

Republicans are defending two House seats in two closely watched upcoming special elections in Montana and Georgia. The DCCC has invested in both of those races, but not as much as some Democrats would like. 

NRCC Raises $10 Million for Fourth Straight Month
House GOP campaign arm posts best April haul in history

Ohio Rep. Steve Stivers presides over the NRCC, which has raised $46 million in the first four months of the year. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The National Republican Congressional Committee raised more than $10 million in April, marking the fourth month in a row that the group raised that much money — its longest streak in history.

While President Donald Trump’s White House continues to cause headaches for congressional Republicans, his presidency has been a boon for the House GOP’s campaign arm. 

Handel Touts National Republicans’ Contributing to Her Campaign
Republicans have criticized opponent Ossoff’s contributions from Democrats outside the district in Georgia House race

Karen Handel, candidate for the open Georgia 6th Congressional District seat, told donors Vice President Mike Pence and hopefully Sen. Marco Rubio will campaign with her. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Georgia Republican House candidate Karen Handel, who has been critical of Democrats outside the district supporting her opponent, was caught on an audio recording telling donors that national GOP heavyweights will be lending a hand to her campaign.

At a meet and greet for Dekalb County Republicans at a private home, Handel is heard speaking about plans to have Vice President Mike Pence campaign with her.

Liberals Criticize Frelinghuysen’s ‘Intimidation’ of Activist
Bank employee says she quit her job after congressman writes personal note to board member

Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J., wrote “One of the ringleaders works at your bank,” at the bottom of a fundraising letter to a bank board member. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Liberal activists are criticizing Republican Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen over what they call the congressman’s “intimidation” of one of his constituents.

Frelinghuysen sent a campaign fundraising letter to a board member of Lakeland Bank in his district in which he says, “But let’s be clear that there are organized forces — both national and local — who are already hard at work to put a stop to an agenda of limited government, economic growth, stronger national security.”

Sanders to Campaign for Democrat Quist in Montana
Vermont senator won state’s primary over Hillary Clinton last year

Sen. Bernie Sanders will campaign for Montana Democratic congressional candidate Rob Quist in four cities over two days next weekend.

Paul Ryan to Campaign for Handel in Georgia House Race Monday
Runoff to fill former Rep. Tom Price’s seat draws national attention

Karen Handel, candidate for the Georgia 6th Congressional district, speaks with reporters during a campaign stop at Rhea's restaurant in Roswell, Ga., on Monday, April 17, 2017, one day before the special election to fill Tom Price's seat . (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Speaker Paul Ryan will hold a rally Monday with fellow Republican Karen Handel in Sandy Springs, Ga., in an effort to give her a boost ahead of the June runoff in the state’s 6th House District race.

A poll last week showed a tight race between Handel and Democrat Jon Ossoff, with Handel holding a small lead for Handel. An internal poll from the Ossoff campaign shows a dead heat.