Republicans pour late cash into Montana special election

With the White House enveloped in crisis, a Republican-friendly group is rushing a last-minute $200,000 ad buy onto the Montana airwaves ahead of next week’s special congressional election.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce will air TV commercials boosting Republican candidate Greg Gianforte. The spots will begin running on Thursday and will last through the election on May 25, one week later.

It’s the first investment the Chamber has made in the race. Over $8 million has been spent on the Montana special, most of it in support of Gianforte. Two conservative outside groups, the National Republican Congressional Committee and the Congressional Leadership Fund, have combined to spend around $3.5 million to date.

Democratic groups, seeing the race for the conservative-leaning seat as a reach, have largely stayed out of the contest.

Gianforte, a technology executive, is facing off against Democrat Rob Quist, a folk singer and first-time candidate. The two are vying to replace Republican Ryan Zinke, who resigned from the seat earlier this year to become Secretary of the Interior.

Republicans remain confident they will hold onto the seat. But Gianforte has stumbled in recent weeks, giving conflicting answers about his support for the health care bill passed by House Republicans.

A GOP loss in a state President Donald Trump won by more than 20 points in 2016 would send shockwaves through the national political landscape, energizing Democrats and raising questions about Trump’s impact on congressional Republicans.

Republicans, concerned about the race and looking to gin up turnout, have dispatched high-profile surrogates. Donald Trump Jr. and Vice President Mike Pence have stumped for Gianforte in recent weeks.

Source: http://www.politico.com/story/2017/05/17/montana-special-election-238523

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