Skip to comments.Schweitzer claims fund-raising record in governor race
Posted on 04/08/2003 11:58:11 AM PDT by JohnnyZ
HELENA -- Democrat Brian Schweitzer already has raised more $254,000 for his race for governor in 2004, a total that he says has shattered fund-raising records for Montana gubernatorial candidates. He filed a fund-raising report Monday.
Schweitzer, who narrowly lost to U.S. Sen. Conrad Burns, R-Mont., raised $254,903 from Jan. 8 through March 31, despite refusing to take money from political action committees and political parties.
His campaign reported $229,377 in the bank at the close of the reporting period.
The Democrat said he has received money from 1,843 individual donors, with 91 percent from Montana. He and his wife, Nancy, have contributed $150 of the total.
"I will be the first elected Montana governor in history to accept no money from PACs, corporations or political parties," Schweitzer said. "Lobbyists will no longer control Montana's future. Nobody will be able to buy a place at the head of the line. The days of pay to play are over."
Meanwhile, Republican Gov. Judy Martz, who has not said whether she will seek re-election next year, raised only $49 during the same three-month period in which Schweitzer collected more than $254,000.
Since it was formed July 1, 2001, Martz' re-election committee has raised only $16,975 and spent $16,281 to leave a balance of $694 as of March 31.
"The governor's is doing her job during the Legislature, doing her job governing and working with the Legislature," said her spokesman Chuck Butler. "It goes without saying that there hasn't been any campaign fundraising by the governor. The future is the future."
Martz's separate constituency fund, however, raised more than $5,000 in donations from her staff and lobbyists on March 11. Money from this fund is used to pay for her political activities, including travel.
Schweitzer, a farmer and businessman, attributed his fund-raising success to Montanans' frustration with the lack of leadership in Helena and the residents' hope for a brighter financial future.
He said community leaders from Libby to Baker and Plentywood to Dillon and more than 150 towns have "cast the first votes for a change in state leadership."
"I accept their challenge for new honest leadership to deliver higher-paying jobs, affordable health care and world-class education while maintaining access to clean places for hunting, fishing, camping and hiking," he said.
Schweitzer provided documentation showing that a candidate for governor has never before collected a fraction of the money reported in Schweitzer's off-year filing. Schweitzer said if he doesn't raise a penny during the next year, his cash in the bank will still exceed past fundraising records for governor candidates in March of the election year.
Other potential Democratic candidates for governor in 2004, Attorney General Mike McGrath, 2000 Democratic nominee Mark O'Keefe and Yellowstone County Commissioner Bill Kennedy, among others, have not yet organized exploratory committees.
Another potential Republican candidate for governor, Secretary of State Bob Brown, raised $100 over the past three months to bring its total donations to $11,530 since Jan. 1, 2002. Brown's re-election committee for secretary of state has spent $7,008 to leave a balance of $4,522 as of March 31.
"We haven't engaged in any fund-raising the past three months," said Brown's chief deputy, Jason Thielman. "We've not made an effort to raise money for his re-election account since the last fund-raising period."
Thielman said Brown had raised more than $6,000 for his separate constituent fund over the same period.
I don't think Martz wants to necessarily sabotage the party's chances for holding the seat, so I do believe she will voluntarily step aside. It's rather a shame she's had such bad luck in office, she's a very kind and generous person (it's those qualities that got her into trouble, unfortunately). With Ohs and Brown waiting to get the word that she'll step aside, there won't be any need for Rick Hill.