“So these are big numbers, and it’s even more impressive because this is a year when there are a lot of other races, and so a contributor who wants to support candidates is looking at this huge array of opportunities to donate their money,” Muste said.
The November ballot will feature every statewide office, plus seats on the Public Service Commission and a contested Montana Supreme Court race. That’s on top of U.S. House and Senate races and the presidential contest.
Graybill is a first-time candidate who qualified to run by just a couple of months, due to the five-year practice law for Montana attorneys general. He beat primary opponent Kim Dudik 57% to 43%.
Bullock, now a term-limited governor, endorsed Graybill, which likely gave him a leg up in fundraising, according to Muste. Graybill works as Bullock’s chief legal counsel.
Knudsen was first elected as a state representative in 2010 and served two terms as Speaker of the House. He’s now serving his first term as Roosevelt County Attorney, in his home county in the northeast corner of the state.
Knudsen beat primary opponent Jon Bennion 60% to 40%. Knudsen endorsed Rep. Greg Gianforte for governor early on, which likely helped him win over the conservative base of Republican primary voters, Muste said.
Knudsen has collected donations from farmers and ranchers, members of the oil and gas industry, a federal PAC affiliated with Reynolds Tobacco Company, Charter Communications and beer and wine distributors, among others.