Being out-spent and outmaneuvered by a large margin with election day on the horizon, the Quist campaign has cast aside the “money shouldn’t buy elections” rhetoric and resorted to begging for national money. Or at least it seems that way on #mtpol, with posts trickling in every day pleading with the national Democrats to send money to Quist’s campaign.
It appears the only thing this desperate outreach has evoked so far is pity. National Democrats have their sights set on other races with young up-and-coming candidates, not a safe republican special election with a 65+ white male banjo player with a history of tax evasion.
That being said, a few outside groups are taking part in the election spending spree. Republican spending has been well documented already, with groups like the NRCC and NRA spending hundreds of thousands on TV ads and other election operations to support Gianforte and oppose Quist.
Spending has been more modest on the Democratic side with election group Planned Parenthood pouring thousands into mobilizing door canvassers and phone callers
What remains to be seen is the effect of dark money groups who are dedicating a large amount of resources to actively organizing for Rob Quist. Big Sky Rising, the liberal group we previously reported as hosting a risque, “very adult” fundraiser for Quist, has been continuing to coordinate efforts in support of the campaign. Quist campaign events pepper their internal organizing calendar, linked here.
However, the impact of Big Sky Rising’s campaign activity is hard to measure when their spending disclosures, or even a simple list of their donor’s contributions, are nowhere to be found.
It’s unclear exactly how much money and resources Big Sky Rising has spent or is planning to spend supporting the Quist campaign. It’s also unclear exactly who is the money behind the operation, since they don’t disclose their donors. Montanans deserve to know the special interests trying to influence our election.
Our investigative team will be monitoring the campaign operations of dark money groups like Big Sky Rising in our continued special election coverage.