By Associated Press - Thursday, August 20, 2020

HELENA, Mont. (AP) - Democrat Lt. Gov. Mike Cooney has more money in the bank than his opponent heading into the final months of Montana’s governor’s race. But he has been far outspent to date as Republican Greg Gianforte pumps his personal fortune into the contest, according to their campaigns.

Republican U.S. Rep. Gianforte had $330,000 remaining, after spending more than $1.7 million in the past two months, according to campaign filings posted Thursday.

Cooney has more than twice as much cash on hand - almost $670,000 - after spending just $209,000 in the same time period, his campaign said.

The reports cover June 15 to Aug. 15.

Gianforte reported raising $582,000 from donors during that time, versus $725,000 for Cooney. But Gianforte’s campaign was boosted by an additional $1 million loan from the candidate himself.

The Republican’s total amount raised to date is over $5 million, including $2.5 million in personal loans to his campaign. Cooney’s fundraising total is $1.8 million.

Political action committees contributed $12,000 to Cooney’s campaign during the recent reporting period and over $100,000 to Gianforte’s campaign.

Cooney’s campaign communications director Ronja Abel said in a statement that “Montanans are fired up and ready to elect Mike Cooney as our next governor.”

Travis Hall, spokesperson for the Gianforte campaign, said “the record-breaking support Montanans have given Greg in his race for governor has helped him continue to build momentum and get out his positive, hopeful vision for Montana.”

Gianforte also spent heavily from his fortune as the founder of a tech firm in 2016, during a failed bid to unseat Gov. Steve Bullock.

Bullock is prevented from seeking re-election to a third term and is challenging Republican U.S. Sen. Steve Daines.

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