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HELENA – Republican Ryan Zinke leads the chase for money so far in U.S. House race, reports filed this week showed.

Zinke, a former state senator from Whitefish, has collected more in total campaign donations than anyone in the race and brought in the most cash over the past three months. He also has spent the most money so far.

He has collected more than $908,000 for his campaign so far since last October, including about $460,000 in receipts over the past three month. He had about $424,000 in cash remaining as of March 31.

Next is John Lewis, a Democrat from Helena, who trailed Zinke, but topped all other House candidates in funds raised for the entire campaign and for quarter.

Lewis reported raising nearly $695,000 for his entire campaign, including $300,000 in the past three months. He had nearly $512,000 left in the bank as of March 31, which topped all candidates.

Cash on hand is a key number at this stage of the campaign because it tells how much money the candidates have left to spend, particularly on advertising, with seven weeks before the June 3 primary election. Some candidates have already spent money on advertising.

State Sen. Matt Rosendale, R-Glendive, trails only Zinke in fundraising in the Republican primary. He reported total campaign receipts of nearly $642,000, including about $34,500 from the latest quarter. Of that total amount raised do far, Rosendale last year lent his campaign $500,000 and has donated about $3,000 to his campaign.

Rosendale reported a cash balance of nearly $222,000 on March 31.

Corey Stapleton, a Republican from Billings, has raised a total nearly $374,000 in total campaign funds, including more than $43,000 in the past quarter. The former state senator had about $55,500 left in the bank on March 31.

Elsie Arntzen, another Republican from Billings, entered the race in January and filed her first campaign finance report in the race. She raised more than $133,000 for the quarter, including a $63,000 loan from herself. Arntzen, a state senator, reported having about $51,500 in cash on hand on March 31.

The fifth Republican candidate, Drew Turiano of Helena, reported total campaign receipts of $6,840, including a $6,700 loan to his campaign. He raised $4,300 for the quarter. He had $720 left in the bank on March 31.

John Driscoll, the other Democrat in the House race, has not had to file a report because he has not yet spent the $5,000 limit for an exploratory campaign. He itemized his expenses on his Facebook page, which showed he had spent $3,241 as of April 13 and has $1,759 left to spend to hit the $5,000 limit for an exploratory committee before filing campaign finance reports.

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Here’s a closer look at some of the candidates’ reports:

• Zinke: The Republican raised nearly 88 percent of his money from individuals, with the rest from political action committees. Zinke’s campaign has spent more than any other Montana House candidates, reporting more than $483,000 through March 31.

• Lewis: The Democrat garnered about 73 percent of his total money from individuals and 26 percent from PACs. Through March 31, his campaign had spent nearly $193,000.

• Rosendale: Of his total money raised, Rosendale’s personal loans account for 78 percent of the campaign’s treasury, while personal donations total 21 percent. Rosendale’s campaign has spent $419,980 through March 31, second only to Zinke.

• Stapleton: Individual contributions amount to nearly all of Stapleton’s total campaign receipts, accounting for all but $1,000 from a PAC. His campaign spent more than $318,000 through the end of the quarter.

• Arntzen: Individual donations made up 52 percent of her total receipts, while her personal loan accounted for 47 percent of her total. Through March 31, Arntzen’s campaign spent nearly $82,000 by March 31.

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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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