Gianforte's airplane

A screen capture shows Greg Gianforte's private airplane in flight on Thursday.

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Republican Greg Gianforte's campaign said Thursday that the Bozeman businessman won't seek reimbursement for traveling on his private airplane if elected governor.

Aaron Flint, a spokesman for Gianforte, told the Chronicle on Thursday that Gianforte has used the 12-seat, single-engine airplane to campaign "on a very limited basis," and touted the campaign's road mileage, which he said was 49,000 miles.

"If he uses his plane to travel, Greg will not seek reimbursement from the state," Flint said in an email received as Gianforte's airplane was in-flight to Bozeman from southern California.

Flint clarified that Gianforte was not on the aircraft Thursday, but was instead campaigning in Belgrade. "The plane is leased out most of the time," he said.

The promise to not expense private flights comes the day after Gianforte called on Gov. Steve Bullock to sell a state-owned airplane that the governor has used to attend campaign events around the state after making official stops.

In March, Bullock told the Associated Press that he would reimburse the state $2,672 for time the pilots spent waiting while he attended campaign activities, including fundraisers, on 21 trips. 

Since at least 2006, Gianforte has owned the airplane, which is registered in the name of a corporation he controls, according to government records.

Bullock spokesman Jason Pitt said in an email Thursday that "Gianforte is misleading Montanans by saying he's out on the roads but he's really flying around on his own personal jet."

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Troy Carter can be reached at 582-2630 or tcarter@dailychronicle.com. He's on Twitter at @cartertroy.

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Troy Carter covers politics and county government for the Chronicle.