MISSOULA, Mont. - Two years ago, the country was in the process of electing a president and Montana was in the direct path of a political storm as Democrats and Republicans battled over control of the United States Senate. Money flooded the political landscape with $23 million dollars.
Two years later the battle continues, but the financial bonfire isn't burning nearly as hot.
There's a lot riding on this election. Republicans need to win six seats, including Montana, to regain control of the Senate. At this point in the campaign, two candidates are leading the charge.
Freshman Congressman Steve Daines has his eye on the seat recently vacated by 6-term Senator Max Baucus. As of today, John Walsh already has his foot in the door thanks to a Senate appointment by Governor Steve Bullock.
Monday we checked into the finances reported by the Walsh campaign. Now we fact check Daines' war chest.
Daines ended 2013 with almost $2 million in the bank. After checking federal campaign finance reports, we found $1.3 million in individual contributions.
Most of that money comes from Montana donors. We noted recognizable GOP names like former State Senator Greg Barkus and Ravalli County Commissioner Suzy Foss.
That's not to say there aren't some heavy hitters from out of state. Paul Allen's Seahawks just picked up a Superbowl win. He's throwing some money into the Daines bank account. Former South Dakota Governor Steve Kirby kicked in $5,200 dollars.
We're used to seeing big money from political PACs and Steve Daines is getting some help there, but nothing out of the ordinary. Common Values, a leadership PAC run by Wyoming Senator John Barrasso brought $5,000 to the donor list. John Boehner's Freedom Project added $10,000.
When you break down the campaign donations by industries with political interest, energy and natural resources is at the top of the Daines campaign list, followed by finance, insurance and real estate.
Read the reports for yourself at the Federal Election Commission with additional information from Open Secrets.
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