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Cheney tops fundraising mark

By Victoria Eavis
Casper Star-Tribune
Via- Wyoming News Exchange

CASPER — Rep. Liz Cheney reported her highest fundraising quarter yet, raising $2.05 million in the fourth quarter of last year, according to figures first shared Monday with the Star-Tribune.

U.S. Representative Liz Cheney (R-WY) on the television program Meet the Press.

The haul exceeds amounts raised earlier in the year. In the first three quarters of 2021, the Cheney campaign raised $1.5 million, $1.9 million and $1.7 million, respectively. The $2 million represents one of the highest fundraising numbers for U.S. House races this cycle.

The Cheney campaign reported    ending the quarter with $4.72 million in the bank. Over the entirety of 2021, the congresswoman raised $7.22 million.

Cheney’s vote to impeach former President Donald Trump and her repeated rebukes of him — she said last year he’s “at war with the rule of law” — have spurred the toughest reelection challenge of her career, with the Wyoming GOP censuring her and voting symbolically to no longer recognize her as a Republican.

But it’s also raised her profile nationally, and she’s received new support from critics of the former president.

Cheney faces multiple GOP challengers, including one backed by Trump: Harriet Hageman. Hageman, a lawyer and former gubernatorial candidate, entered the race on Sep. 9, roughly nine months after Cheney started fundraising.

Hageman brought in about $745,000 from the time of her campaign launch through the end of 2021, with $443,000 coming during the fourth quarter, according to Fox News. At the end of 2021, Hageman had roughly $381,000 in the bank.

Some of that money came from Lynn Friess, the widow of the late Foster Friess, a GOP mega-donor. Both were one-time Cheney donors.

The latest numbers offer the first look at money coming into the race since a number of candidates dropped out following Trump’s endorsement and Hageman’s entrance.

Further details, such as who and what states the money is coming from, remain to be seen.

“Wyoming deserves to be represented by someone who cares about Wyoming, not someone who is consumed by her own personal war with President Trump,” Hageman said in a press release Monday. “I have been to all 23 counties in Wyoming, and I know that the people are desperate for a change.”

Earlier this month, Hageman participated in a fundraiser at the Miami home of a tech billionaire and Trump-backer Peter Thiel. At that event, $200,000 was reportedly raised for the Hageman campaign. That money, plus what was raised in 2021, puts the Hageman campaign with about $1 million collected since the campaign began.

Cheney raised over $3 million during that same time period.

“We’ve already easily topped $250,000 raised so far in 2022, and our biggest events of the quarter are upcoming,” a source close to the campaign said.

One of these events is a fundraiser planned for mid-March with U.S. Senator Mitt Romney, R-Utah. Romney has defended Republican lawmakers who have criticized Trump. The fundraiser will be held by Bobbie and Bill Kilberg, previous supporters of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush in the 2016 presidential race, according to The Hill. Attending the “general reception” requires a $1,000 donation per person, while a photo reception necessitates a $5,800 contribution per couple. A VIP reception asks for a $10,800 donation per couple.

Hageman has centered her campaign around being anti-Cheney and pro-Wyoming, repeatedly arguing that Cheney is not adequately fighting for the Equality State because she’s too focused on fighting back against Trump.

“Liz Cheney doesn’t know what ‘riding for the brand’ means. We sent her to D.C. to be loyal to the outfit that hired her, to be loyal to Wyoming and our values,” a Hageman advertisement states. “Instead of fighting for us, she’s fighting against President Trump. She betrayed us.”

Already, this race is unlike any House contest in Wyoming’s recent history.

In the past, Cheney has coasted to victory. This time, she’s running against a formidable opponent in a race with national implications.

The high stakes of the race has also funneled more out-of-state money into the Cheney campaign’s pockets than previous Wyoming House contests (in a state whose electorate was known for not wanting outsiders involved in their politics).

The Hageman campaign recently launched a page on its website that’s aimed at indirectly inviting super PACs – a type of political action committee that can raise and spend vast amounts of money on candidates – into the race.

The Hageman campaign’s sly nod is the first time in recent history that super PACs have been welcomed into a Wyoming House race.

Hageman and Cheney are not the only ones in the Republican primary. State Sen. Anthony Bouchard, R-Cheyenne, and retired army colonel Denton Knapp remain in the race.

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