U.S. Representative Matt Rosendale maintains an almost insurmountable cash advantage in the race for the U.S. House neighborhood of eastern Montana.
Rosendale’s campaign closed 2022 with $916,775 in the bank. His opponents combined for $29,456 in cash. Six people have filed nominations with the Federal Election Commission to represent eastern Montana.
For the first time in 32 years, Montana has two seats in the House, the result of strong population growth primarily in the western part of the state over the previous decade. The quarters of the houses were finalized last November. The western region became District 1, anchored by Bozeman, Butte, Kalispell and Missoula. The East became District 2, anchored by Billings, Great Falls, Helena and Miles City.
In previous elections, Republican statewide candidates won the District 1 region by double-digit margins.
So far, the race for Eastern Montana has been a low-energy affair. In addition to Rosendale, there are two other Republican candidates. Charles Walking Child of Helena applied to the FEC last October. James Boyette of Bozeman filed his candidacy Jan. 28. Neither challenger has reported any donations. Due to filing in January, Boyette will not be filing a campaign finance report until the end of the first quarter.
Democrats Jack Ballard and Penny Ronning said they received donations in 2021. Ballard, an outdoor writer from Red Lodge, reported 7,818 net contributions in 2021, excluding loans. He ended the year with $16,540 in cash. Ballard became a candidate in July 2021.
Penny Ronning, a former Billings City Council member and community activist against human trafficking, said she raised $14,851 and ended the year with $12,916 in cash. Ronning became a candidate on November 19, 2021.
A third Democrat, Skylar Williams of Billings, has no finances to report for 2021. Williams became a candidate on October 26, 2021.
Independent Curt Andrew Zygmond of Billings also had no contributions to declare. Zygmond registered with the FEC last May.
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