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Republicans drawing more money in Montana US House campaigns

| February 4, 2022 7:00 AM

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Republicans Ryan Zinke and Matt Rosendale have raised more than $1 million each in their campaigns for Montana's two U.S. House seats as the primary election season gets underway and Democrats trail in early fundraising, according to Federal Election Commission filings.

The 2022 election marks the first time in three decades Montana will have two House districts in play after the state gained a seat due to population growth over the last 10 years. Party primaries are on June 7.

Democrats view the Nov. 8 election as a chance to reverse a decade-long Republican surge in Montana that culminated in the GOP sweeping all statewide seats in the 2020 election. But if both Rosendale and Zinke win their primaries, the Democrats' prospects will narrow as Republicans enter the general election with two proven candidates.

In the western House district, campaign filings show Zinke collected almost $1.4 million through Dec. 31 to outpace Republican rivals former state Sen. Al Olszewski, who raised $414,000, and Kalispell pastor Mary Todd, who raised $114,000.

Voters elected Zinke to the House in 2014 and 2016. He left at the start of his second term to serve as Interior Secretary under Donald Trump until resigning amid ethics investigations.

The top-raising Democrat in the western district was health care professional Cora Neumann with $771,000, followed by lawyer Monica Tranel with $420,000 and former state Rep. Tom Winter with $53,000

In the eastern district, first-term incumbent and staunch conservative Rosendale raised just over $1 million, with none of his GOP rivals reporting contributions. Writer Jack Ballard raised $71,000 on the Democratic side.