Montana Democrat’s Donations Top $5 Million As Woes Mount For GOP Rival
The populist Democrat running for Montana’s open seat in the House of Representatives has hit a major fundraising milestone, as a race ignored until last month by party officials heats up in its final week.
Donations to Rob Quist, the bluegrass legend who won an unlikely bid for the nomination in March, have surpassed $5 million, his campaign announced on Thursday. The contributions averaged less than $25 each and came from roughly 200,000 individuals. For context, donations to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who has endorsed Quist, averaged $27 donations during his insurgent bid for the Democratic presidential nomination last year.
Fundraising surged this month after Greg Gianforte, Quist’s multimillionaire Republican opponent, waffled on his support for the controversial health care bill just passed by the House. Gianforte told conservative lobbyists he backed the bill in a private call later published by The New York Times. He walked back the comment days later amid uproar from the more than 70,000 voters whose health insurance could be imperiled if the deeply unpopular American Health Care Act becomes law.
Quist, who supports single-payer health care and legalizing marijuana, has weathered his own history of financial woes, stemming from what he says was a botched gallbladder surgery that for years left him unqualified for affordable insurance.
Forced to pay out of pocket for follow-up surgeries, Quist accessed Social Security and sold off part of the ranch he inherited from his family. In October 1994, the doctor responsible for the surgery denied allegations of malpractice, according to a report published this week by the conservative Washington Free Beacon.