State Auditor Matt Rosendale
Sen. Al Olszewski, R-Kalispell

HELENA – State Auditor Matt Rosendale, one of a half-dozen Republicans vying for the U.S. Senate held by Democrat Jon Tester, said Wednesday he raised $410,000 in campaign funds during the first two months of his campaign.

An advocacy group backing President Trump’s agenda – the Great American Alliance — also announced Wednesday that it’s supporting Rosendale in Montana’s 2018 Senate race.

Rosendale’s campaign said his fundraising numbers “cement his status as the front-runner of the 2018 Republican primary field in Montana.”

“The outpouring of support we have seen for our campaign across this state is incredible,” Rosendale said in a statement. “Montanans are clearly tired of Jon Tester’s political games in Washington, D.C.”

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Other Republican Senate candidates who’ve released their fundraising numbers for the third quarter are state Sen. Al Olszewski of Kalispell, who told MTN News he raised about $127,000, and Belgrade business owner Ron Murray, who said he raised about $1,400, including a $1,000 loan from himself.

Big Sky businessman Troy Downing’s campaign said he plans to file his third-quarter fundraising report by the weekend deadline.

Financial adviser James Dean of Havre just announced his candidacy last week, and doesn’t have to file any report yet. State District Judge Russell Fagg of Billings, who formed an exploratory committee, said he’ll announce this weekend whether he’s a candidate for the Senate.

Meanwhile, Tester reported late last week that he’s raised nearly $8 million for his re-election campaign and has $5.4 million still in the bank.

Rosendale didn’t release his actual fundraising report, but a campaign spokesman said the donations came primarily from individuals, and included no personal loans from Rosendale.

The primary election to choose Tester’s Republican opponent isn’t until next June.

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