Less than two months from November’s city elections, rustling has started in the election’s only contested race, in Ward 3 between incumbent Democrat Bob Kaul and Republican challenger Rick Dow.
On Monday, Andrew Brekke, chair of the Hill County Republican party, announced that, while reviewing campaign finance documents, he had found a “potential campaign violation” in Kaul’s form that he had made Kaul aware of.
On Kaul’s declaration he checked the box stating he would not be receiving any contributions for his campaign. At the Great Northern Fair in July, Kaul had displayed a campaign sign he had purchased during his last campaign in 2007.
Although the sign was paid for four years ago, using it in this campaign still technically constitutes an in-kind contribution.
“If you’re going to say you’re not going to raise any money, that means you’re not going to spend any money, not one cent, ” Brekke said. “Now by common-sense logic, just using something you already have would not constitute spending any money, but the law doesn’t discern the difference. ”
Kaul said that Brekke had alerted him to the situation and that all changes had been made to the necessary paperwork.
That paperwork requires a candidate check one of three boxes for different levels of contributions being used: $0, more than $0 but less than $500, and more than $500.
Dow’s form lists him as anticipating more than $500 in contributions for his campaign.
As of Sept. 1, Dow had received $1,125 in contributions, including $965 from individual contributors. The list of people who have provided at least $100 to the Dow campaign include Brekke, local contractor Brad Lotton, Northern Montana Hospital physician Damian Ymzon and Bill Dritshulas, owner of the Duck Inn and Best Western Plus Great Northern Inn who, earlier this year, erected a sign on the edge of the Char’s Family Dining parking lot that he owns, urging voters to elect “anyone but Jeri Veis, Bob Kaul, Bob Kaftan. ” Kaul is the only one of the three people listed on the sign running this year, against Dow.
Of that money, Dow has spent $388 on laminated campaign signs and printing letterhead. He said this morning he is planning on spending more soon on yard signs and advertising, as well as receiving more contributions before the last campaign finance filing date, the week before the election on Nov. 2.