Lawrence VanDyke

Lawrence VanDyke

HELENA – Now that he is back on the ballot, Montana Supreme Court candidate Lawrence VanDyke raised more campaign money over the past month than the other three candidates combined for the two justice seats.

VanDyke raised about $48,500 from Aug. 6 to Sept. 5 and spent $7,100 to leave about $55,200 left in the bank at the end of the reporting period.

For the campaign, he has collected a total of about $77,800 and spent about $22,500, according to reports filed with the state political practices commissioner’s office.

On July 22, the Supreme Court reinstated VanDyke to the November ballot three months after a Helena district judge had ordered his name off the fall ballot. Four delegates to the 1972 Constitutional Convention had challenged VanDyke’s eligibility to run for the court.

VanDyke is the state’s former solicitor general under Attorney General Tim Fox. He lives in northern Jefferson County.

His opponent, Justice Mike Wheat, reported raising about $6,900 over the past month to bring his total campaign funds to about $84,900. Wheat spent $44,400 the past month and $58,900 for his entire campaign.

He reported having nearly $26,000 in campaign funds left in the bank Sept. 5.

Wheat is a former state senator from Bozeman who has served on the court since 2010.

In the other court race, Justice Jim Rice of Helena has amassed a huge financial lead over his opponent, David Herbert.

Rice collected about $10,600 over the past month to bring his total amount raised to about $79,200. His campaign spent about $4,200 the past month to bring his total spending to about $58,000.

Rice reported having about $21,200 in cash on hand on Sept. 5.

He is a former state representative from Helena who has served on the court since 2001.

Meanwhile, Herbert raised and spent no money in the latest reporting period. For the entire campaign, he has collected about $5,700 and spent about $5,400 to leave a balance of nearly $300 on Sept. 5.

He is an attorney in Billings.

Chuck Johnson is chief of the Lee Newspapers State Bureau in Helena. He can be reached by email at chuck.johnson@lee.net or by phone at (406) 447-4066 or (800) 525-4920.

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