Vulnerable Dem Senator’s Campaign Drops Thousands On Steak Houses, Fancy Catering, Booze

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Mary Lou Masters Contributor
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Montana Democratic Sen. Jon Tester’s reelection campaign spent thousands of dollars on upscale restaurants, fancy catering companies and alcohol, third quarter records campaign finance records reveal.

Tester brought in roughly $5 million between July 1 and Sept. 30, and ended the third fundraising quarter with $13 million cash on hand, according to Federal Election Commission (FEC) filings. The campaign spent $344 on alcohol, over $7,000 on nice restaurants and roughly $2,500 on fancy catering, along with several thousand dollars on related expenses, the disbursements show.

Tester’s campaign spent a total of $98.86 at Schneider’s Liquor in Washington, D.C., and $245.40 on alcohol delivery service Drizly, according to the third quarter filing. During the same time period, Tester’s campaign spent a total of $1,507.98 at Charlie Palmer Steak in Washington, D.C., according to the records. The senator also spent $5,107.46 altogether at Bistro Cacao, a French restaurant in Washington, D.C., and $393.20 at Plonk, an “eclectic” upscale establishment in Montana. (RELATED: FEC Records Show Eric Swalwell Spending Campaign Funds On Ritzy Steak Houses, Limos, Liquor Delivery App, Casino)

Tester’s campaign also paid $1,201.50 to Flik Catering in New York, $721.60 to Occasions Caterers in Washington, D.C., and $525.30 to Chef’s Table Catering in Pennsylvania, according to the filing.

Along with these disbursements, the Senate campaign reported spending $374.76 at Mission Bar & Grill in California, $453.64 at Bear Creek Saloon in Montana, $619.50 at Brewhalla in North Dakota, $335.40 at Drekker Brewing in North Dakota, $889.80 at Le Pain Quotidien in Washington, D.C., and $384.96 at Tagliare in Montana. Tester also paid $609.70 toward “Client Dining” in New York.

“The powerful grassroots support behind Jon Tester this year leaves no question: Montanans are fired up to keep the dirt farmer from Big Sandy in the United States Senate,” Shelbi Dantic, Tester’s campaign manager, said in a statement following the release of his third quarter totals. “They know they can count on Jon Tester to defend the Montana that three generations of his family have called home, and fight for the folks who understand a hard day’s work. We’re grateful for the energy behind this campaign and we’re hitting the ground running.”

Tester’s seat, which he’s held since 2007, is characterized by The Cook Political Report as in the “Lean D” category, along with Senate races in Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

The senator could face former Navy SEAL Tim Sheehy or GOP Rep. Matt Rosendale, who is weighing a bid, in the 2024 general election. The most recent polling, conducted by J.L. Partners in mid-August, suggests both Republicans would beat Tester.

Sheehy brought in $2.9 million during the third fundraising quarter, and ended with $1.1 million cash on hand, according to the FEC. Rosendale, who has yet to announce a Senate run, reported $334,700 for the same time period, and has $1.7 million cash on hand.

Tester’s campaign did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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