With 1 week to election, outside spending in Montana’s Senate race remains strong

Helena Independent Record

In a year of record spending in Montana's U.S. Senate race, another $6 million in outside money poured into the contest over just the last week, making it among the top races nationally with a flurry of money backing candidates and attacking others as the Nov. 6 election draws nearer.

According to an analysis of Federal Election Commission data done by the Washington Post, Montana ranks in the top six for U.S Senate races with the most outside spending in the weeks leading up to the Nov. 6 election. Total spending has topped $32 million and already this week more outside political groups, known as PACs and super-PACs, have announced additional ad blitzes aimed at capturing voters who haven't cast their ballot or made up their minds.

Incumbent U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, a Democrat, is seeking his third term against Republican state Auditor Matt Rosendale. Over the course of the campaign, Tester has far outraised Rosendale when it comes to contributions to his campaign, which are at about $20 million to just $5 million for Rosendale, according to FEC data.

 FEC documents from 2017 show that Rosendale was still owed $236,693 from loans he made to his 2014 campaign. At the time campaign finance watchdog Brendan Fischer, director of federal reform at the Campaign Legal Center, called it “a potentially legal scheme to allow a handful of wealthy donors to give up to $8,000 each to support Rosendale’s campaign, when the limit for everyone else is $5,400.”

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