Money Matters in Montana Elections

Erik C. Anderson and I decided to follow the money for our election follow-up stories. In addition to new complaints about Excel (great with data, terrible with design) we learned that the future of campaign spending is as murky as its present.

Outside Money Plays Major Role in Top Montana Campaigns

The story on Montana Public Media, which was designed for web-only viewing, links to the non-profit groups in the “shadow money” sector as well as some of their ads and related filings.

A big thanks to the folks at and providing valuable data and working tirelessly to maintain some transparency in campaigns.

Two gubernatorial candidates walk into a bar…

Just kidding. These guys would never get beers together.
Rick Hill (R)Steve Bullock (D)
Republican Rick Hill, left, and Democrat Steve Bullock at a debate in Helena, Mont. Photos by Patrick Record. Read my governor’s race profile here.

The most difficult part of this story, and any political reporting, is the forced suspension of cynicism. Yes, the campaign manager is a third party on our call, and yes, half of the usable quotes I gleaned showed up in both of the debates I’ve watched, but that’s how it goes. Shake some hands, kiss some babies, keep smiling.

Still, I wonder if some stronger sentiments and childhood stories could’ve come out of our interaction. It would probably require a few beers together.