Montana Senate Race Turning Into the Most Expensive Thing Ever

Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.)<a href="http://www.tester.senate.gov/Newsroom/images/2008-11-11-Tester-Taps_3.jpg">Office of Sen. Jon Tester</a>

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There were two big stories out of Montana this weekend. First things first: They finally caught Bigfoot.

The second story, of perhaps more national significance, comes from Mike Dennison of the Helena Independent-Record, who reports that, thanks in part to a handful of recent Supreme Court rulings, the state has been buried by a deluge of attack ads ahead of Novemeber’s US Senate race. As of early March, outside groups like Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS and the 60 Plus Association have spent more than $3 million on advertisements targeting either incumbent Democrat Tester, or his GOP challenger, Rep. Denny Rehberg (rhymes with “Freebird”). There’s a lot at stake: The race could determine which party controls the upper chamber come 2013.

That $3 million is for television advertisements alone—to say nothing of radio, newspaper, and smoke signals. And in Montana, your $3 million goes a long, long way: A Montana gubernatorial candidate recently explained to the Missoulian that “It costs $150,000 to $175,000…to get one message across (the state), so 80 to 90 percent of (TV viewers) will see it six to eight times.” So with that as our blueprint, it’s not all that unreasonble to suggest that your average Montanan has been exposed to at least 137 iterations of ads like this:

And it’s still only March. This is your campaign finance system on drugs.

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WE CAME UP SHORT.

We just wrapped up a shorter-than-normal, urgent-as-ever fundraising drive and we came up about $45,000 short of our $300,000 goal.

That means we're going to have upwards of $350,000, maybe more, to raise in online donations between now and June 30, when our fiscal year ends and we have to get to break-even. And even though there's zero cushion to miss the mark, we won't be all that in your face about our fundraising again until June.

So we urgently need this specific ask, what you're reading right now, to start bringing in more donations than it ever has. The reality, for these next few months and next few years, is that we have to start finding ways to grow our online supporter base in a big way—and we're optimistic we can keep making real headway by being real with you about this.

Because the bottom line: Corporations and powerful people with deep pockets will never sustain the type of journalism Mother Jones exists to do. The only investors who won’t let independent, investigative journalism down are the people who actually care about its future—you.

And we hope you might consider pitching in before moving on to whatever it is you're about to do next. We really need to see if we'll be able to raise more with this real estate on a daily basis than we have been, so we're hoping to see a promising start.

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