Jan 20, 2011 5:12 PM by Associated Press
Bozeman businessman Steve Daines says he is off to a strong fundraising start in his effort to secure the Republican nomination to challenge U.S. Sen. Jon Tester.
Daines says his year-end campaign finance report will show he raised about $225,000 since entering the race in the middle of November.
Tester has yet to file his campaign finance report for that time frame. His latest report from the third quarter showed he had about half a million dollars on hand.
Some Republicans want U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg to enter the race for the GOP nomination to challenge Tester, which Rehberg has not ruled out. His latest campaign finance report shows he finished his 2010 re-election with roughly $600,000.
Republicans are staking out Tester's 2012 re-election as a key battleground race.