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HELENA — The $26.1 million campaign to decide whether to raise tobacco taxes to pay for the Montana's Medicaid expansion program was the state's most expensive ballot measure in at least the last 16 years.

Data from the National Institute on Money in Politics also shows the measure defeated earlier this month is also the nation's most expensive tobacco tax measure outside of California since 2002.

Campaign reports filed Monday show the committee to defeat the initiative to hike cigarette taxes $2 a pack raised $17.5 million. Ninety-eight percent of that money came from Altria, the parent company of Philip Morris USA.

Advocates of the ballot measure raised less than a third of that amount — $8.6 million.

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Altria also spent at least $6.2 million to successfully defeat a tobacco tax ballot issue in South Dakota.

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