Democrat Mike Cooney said Monday his campaign for governor raised $910,000 from donors in the past month, pushing his total since May to $2.5 million – a likely record amount for a Montana gubernatorial candidate during that time period.
Cooney, the state’s lieutenant governor, has now raised $3.4 million for his campaign against Republican Greg Gianforte, in what’s considered the only competitive governor’s race in the nation this year.
Gianforte, the state’s U.S. House representative, has yet to report his fundraising for the past month; the report is due Tuesday.
But, through mid-September, Gianforte had still raised more money than Cooney from donors -- $3.17 million to $2.5 million – and had put an additional $3.55 million of his own money into his campaign.
Yet from mid-May through mid-September, Cooney received $1.6 million directly from donors, compared to about $1.2 million for Gianforte.
Cooney’s campaign said his record-setting fundraising indicates a surge of momentum for the campaign.
“Cooney’s latest record-smashing haul confirms what we knew to be true all along – Montanans refuse to let our state be sold off to a multimillionaire from New Jersey,” said campaign spokeswoman Ronja Abel. “Instead, they’re excited about electing Mike Cooney, a lifelong Montanan who has spent his career fighting for Montanans.”
Gianforte – who grew up near Philadelphia, not New Jersey – moved to Montana in the mid-1990s and co-founded a software-development firm that grew to be one of the largest private employers in Bozeman.
The company, RightNow Technologies, was sold to Oracle Corp. for $1.8 million in 2012, netting Gianforte tens of millions of dollars.
Most recent polls have shown Gianforte with a single-digit lead over Cooney.
Cooney’s campaign said he has received more than 80,000 individual contributions.
Both men have raised a considerable amount of money from Montanans, but the race also is attracting donors from across the country.