Congressional candidate Steve Daines was given a clear field by the GOP powerbrokers. No challenge. As a result, he’s been able to amass $600,000 in contributions.
The Democratic primary, by contrast, is a four-person race: Franke Wilmer, Kim Gillan, Rob Stutz and Dave Strohmaier. They they must split money four ways, and thus none of these candidates have amassed more than 10 percent of what Daines has raked in. And all of them, in the final months before the primary, will be forced to deplete their funds in an effort to win the primary, while Daines will horde his chips in tall stacks and continue to take in more.
Partly this problem stems from the fact that there is no democrat in the race with any state-wide recognition, such as Steve Bullock who will likely enter the governor’s race some time in the next few months.
Also, there can be a downside to powerbrokers getting involved in primaries and hand-picking a horse. Rumors have long held that the bigwigs in DC tried forcing Jon Tester out of the senate race in early 2006. If that’s true, then such a heavy handed move by the DNC, had it succeeded, would have been an utter calamity because John Morrison, a candidate with a history of adultery, would have ended up as the nominee. So primaries serve an important Darwinian purpose and should be taken seriously.
Of course Daines, for all his money, has tremendous personal problems that will eventually come to light. When that happens, we will hopefully have a strong and well financed horse in the race against him.