Helena mayoral candidate Wilmot Collins has raised slightly more campaign cash than his opponent and incumbent Mayor Jim Smith, according to their latest campaign finance reports.
Records filed with the Office of the Commissioner of Political Practices show Collins deposited $16,248.29 from May 2 to Oct. 26, including about $322 he loaned to his own campaign. Smith started his fundraising efforts about two months later, raising $14,581 from July 3 to Oct. 26.
Collins and Smith are Helena's only mayoral candidates.
Montana Commissioner of Political Practices Jeffrey Mangan said municipal candidates were allowed to accept donations of up to $400 from a political action committee and $330 from a person prior to Oct. 23, when the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a district court ruling against Montana’s lower campaign contribution limits. As a result of the ruling, the contribution limit was reset to $170 per election for both PACs and people donating to a municipal candidate on Oct. 23 or later.
Collins reported a $400 contribution from the Helena Firefighters L448 PAC and $330 donations from from Danny Tenenbaum of Missoula, as well as Helena residents Mark Leland, Alan Nicholson, Nancy Nicholson, Bruce Newell, Robert McNellis, Lisa Ponfick, Ronald Bell, Nathan Nachtsheim and Abigail St. Lawrence.
Collins’ biggest expenditures include payments totaling $6,588.82 to Action Print for postcards, bumper stickers, handouts and mailing, payments totaling 2,651.72 to Allegra for yard signs, and $990 to Montana Radio Company for radio advertising.
Smith reported $330 donations from Terry Gauthier, Mark Burzynski, Judi McCullough and Robert McCullough, all of Helena.
Smith’s biggest expenditures include payments totaling $5,950 to the Independent Record for print and online advertising, $2,300 to KTVH for digital advertising, and $1,124 to the Montana Club in Helena for an election night gathering.
Unless a candidate receives a contribution of $100 or more from a single source, neither will be required to file any additional campaign finance reports before Election Day.
Ballots have been mailed and must be returned by Nov. 7.