Who is contributing to the candidates?

By Bill McCarthy

Whether you believe contributors to political campaigns are looking for good government or influence, we are usually confined to analyzing lists of names and numbers when we think about the issue.

So when we saw that Niki Bornes at Colorado based CleanSlateNow.org created word clouds showing contributors to Colorado’s congressional candidates, we had to steal the idea for Wyoming.

Wordle is a toy for generating “word clouds” from text. We took the data showing the top 100 contributors to each member of the Wyoming delegation, as well as to each presidential candidate, and distilled it to the contributor’s name and total contribution. We then ran it through Wordle’s advanced program.

Sen. Barrasso's Top 100 donors

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Sen. John Barrasso and U.S. Rep. Cynthia Lummis  are running for reelection Nov. 6. Both are Republicans.

Cynthia Lummis

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Their Democratic opponents, Albany County Commissioner Tim Chesnut  for the Senate and Casper College professor Chris Henrichsen for U.S. House, have no official publicly-available records as of yet.

The fossil fuels industry dominates the list of contributors for Barrasso and Lummis.

Sen. Mike Enzi, also a Republican, is not up for reelection this November. Still we thought it would be interesting to look at his contributors, as well.

Sen. Mike Enzi

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Enzi is the ranking member on the Senate Health, Education Labor and Pensions Committee and potentially the chairman if the Republicans gain a majority in the Senate.

His top contributors are in the health care and fossil fuel industries.

President Barack Obama has raised $320,327 in Wyoming while Cowboy State supporters have donated $886,315 to Gov. Mitt Romney’s campaign.

Barack Obama

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John McQuillan of Jackson donated $30,000 to Romney’s presidential campaign. His name dominates the word cloud since the next highest donations are for $5,000.

Donors to Mitt Romney

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Larissa Sneider of Evanston leads the Obama donors with a $5,000 contribution.

Bill McCarthy is a freelance journalist who lives in Cheyenne.


Obama’s top donors: http://www.opensecrets.org/pres12/search.php?cid=N00009638&name=%28all%29&employ=&cycle=2012&state=WY&zip=&amt=a&sort=A&page=1

Romney’s top donors: http://www.opensecrets.org/pres12/search.php?cid=N00000286&name=%28all%29&employ=&cycle=2012&state=WY&zip=&amt=a&sort=A&page=1

Barrasso’s source data: http://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/contrib.php?cid=N00006236&cycle=2012&type=I&newMem=N&recs=100

Lummis source data: http://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/contrib.php?cid=N00029788&cycle=2012&type=I&newMem=N&recs=100

Enzi source data: http://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/contrib.php?cid=N00006249&cycle=2012&type=I&newMem=N&recs=100

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Published on October 12, 2012

  • Bill Welles

    As Aristotle said: ” The wise man speaks because he has something to say, the fool speaks because he has to say something….”

  • DeweyV

    Looks like 98 percent of Obama’s contributors reside in Teton County this time around. Still pondering that . What a huge difference between this election cycle and the 2008 Obama wave when over 400 Democrats turned out at the county caucus in Cody and Obama signs outnumbered dandelions on Cody lawns. This year you don’t see Sign 1 in anyone’s yard , and active Democrats are scarcer than wolf pelts. I campaigned for Obama in 2008 . This year I’m writing in the Green Party candidate, Jill Stein , mainly because she is from Herr Romney’s home state of Massachusetts , and my vote wont count towards the Electoral College anyway…

  • Brodie Farquhar

    My gestalt first impression is that the donors to Romney, Lummis, Barrasso and Enzi don’t have much in common with the average concerns of Wyoming citizens. And how come Foster Friess doesn’t jump out of one of these clouds? Oh, yeah, he said he’s giving money to these outfits that don’t disclose donor names.

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