Montana voters have less than two weeks to return their ballots in this year’s municipal elections. Candidates for Helena city offices have raised more than $95,000 since the start of the campaign.
Candidates submitted their latest fundraising reports to the Montana Commissioner of Political Practices this week. These reports included campaign contributions from the end of September onward.
In the Helena mayoral race, challenger Wilmot Collins has raised more than $16,248 this year, while incumbent Jim Smith has raised $14,581.
Six candidates, including one incumbent, are running for two seats on the Helena City Commission. Not all of those candidates’ updated reports were available on the Commissioner of Political Practices website as of Friday afternoon.
The most recent reports available for all six candidates covered contributions through the last week of September. As of those reports, the campaigns had raised the following amounts:
Justin Ailport: $4,358
Mark Burzynski: $23,750
Andres Haladay (incumbent): $9,488
Sean Logan: $10,445
Heather O’Loughlin: $10,813
Gary Spaeth: $600
The only contested race in East Helena is for a city council seat in Ward Two. Both candidates, incumbent Don Dahl and Kelly Harris, do not have to file fundraising reports because they are limiting their spending to no more than $500 each.
This week’s filings will be the final regular reports candidates submit before Election Day. However, they will have to file updates if they receive any contributions of $100 or more from a single source during that time.
For the remaining weeks of the campaign, individuals will be able to donate no more than $170 to a candidate. A federal appeals court panel decided earlier this week to reinstate lower contribution limits that had been invalidated by an earlier court challenge. The Commissioner of Political Practices has decided to enforce those lower limits going forward, but allow candidates to keep any larger donations they already received.
MTN has conducted interviews with all of the Helena and East Helena candidates. You can find those interviews here.
Ballots must be returned by Nov. 7.