Governor candidate Cooney reports $670K fundraising in past month as race tightens

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mike Cooney reported Wednesday that he raised $670,000 for his campaign in the last month, pushing his total take to nearly $2.5 million, as his race against Republican Greg Gianforte enters its final weeks.

Cooney’s campaign called the monthly total a “dominant showing of support from Montanans.”

“This is the single most competitive governor’s race in the country,” campaign spokeswoman Ronja Abel said in a statement. “The future of health care in Montana is at stake. Public lands are at stake. Public education is at stake. …

“With 50 days left, we’re confident voters will choose lifelong Montanan Mike Cooney at the ballot box.”

Cooney, the current lieutenant governor, said last month’s total is more than double what his boss, Gov. Steve Bullock, raised during a similar period in 2016, when he beat Gianforte by four percentage points.

Cooney has now raised $2.49 million for his campaign, including $1.4 million in just the past three months.

Gianforte, a Bozeman businessman who made millions with the 2012 sale of a software-development firm he co-founded, had raised $5.4 million for his campaign through mid-August, but $2.55 million of that money came from his own pocket.

Most recent polls have shown Gianforte with a lead in the single digits, although the Cooney camp released its own poll recently showing him down by only a point.

The Montana contest is considered the only close, competitive governor’s race in the nation. It’s been drawing donors from all states, through various fundraising networks run by party-aligned and other groups.

Democrats have controlled the Montana governorship for 16 years, and Republicans see this year as a prime opportunity to end that run and retake the seat.