U.S. House of Representatives candidate Harriet Hageman fundraised $188,850 from 150 in-state individual donors in the fourth quarter of 2021. Overall that quarter, Hageman raised $7 from Wyoming residents for every $1 Cheney took in. (Rhianna Gelhart/ Wyoming Tribune Eagle/Wyoming News Exchange)

Southwest Wyoming residents can party this weekend at a prom-themed “Conservatives in Crimson” fundraiser thrown by the Republican Parties of Uinta, Sweetwater and Carbon counties. 

For a $60 entry fee to the Rock Springs gala, revelers Saturday evening can sip on “spiked punch” and enjoy the ceremonial crowning of the “Republi-King” and “Republi-Queen.” Attendees should also get to make acquaintances with candidates running to unseat incumbent U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyoming) in the midterm election. Carbon County Republican Party Chairman Joey Correnti emphasized the event is a fundraiser for the county parties, not candidates. 

“We always provide equal opportunity to all candidates,” Correnti said, “and a couple of them have taken us up on sponsoring a table.”

The Hageman for Wyoming campaign sponsored a table and Harriet Hageman is expected to be there, he told WyoFile. An event webpage shows a $550 price tag for table sponsorship.

Retired Army colonel and U.S. House candidate Denton Knapp has also paid and is planning to go, he said. 

But Liz Cheney is not expected to attend. 

“She hasn’t responded to anything we’ve sent her in over a year,” Correnti said. “So no, she did not confirm.” 

Cheney is instead expected to be rubbing shoulders with journalists at the annual Wyoming Press Association conference in Casper that night, according to her campaign communications director, Jeremy Adler. 

Only 1.3% of U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney’s fundraising in the fourth quarter of 2021 came from Wyoming resident donors. Although lagging behind significantly in overall fundraising, challenger Harriet Hageman derived 43% of her funds that quarter from individuals in state. (Graeme Sloan/Sipa USA via AP Images)

Hageman’s decision to invest her time at an event — the Conservatives in Crimson gala — that’s geared toward grassroots fundraising is a hallmark of her campaign. “Harriet Hageman has driven 9,042 miles within Wyoming, meeting with voters in all 23 counties in the state,” according to her campaign website

That strategy isn’t paying off in terms of overall dollars and cents, but the Donald Trump backed challenger for Cheney’s seat has outshined her opponent for dollars raised from Wyoming voters. 

Wyoming’s three-term congresswoman has elevated her profile by contesting Trump’s disproven claims of a stolen election, earning herself a top-of-the-page entry onto the former president’s list of enemies. The feud has translated into donor support, and Cheney has raised nearly $7.2 million for her 2022 reelection bid — more than all but eight other U.S. House candidates nationally. In their first full dueling quarter (October through December), Cheney outraised Hageman more than four-to-one, $2.04 million to $443,000, according to campaign documents filed Monday with the Federal Election Commission. 

FEC/Courtesy

Cheney’s burying Hageman in total contributions, yes. But the FEC data tells a different story when carving out who’s getting funds from Wyoming residents.

In the fourth quarter of 2021, just 1.3% of Cheney’s $2-million haul came from individual in-state donors. The sitting congresswoman’s candidacy attracted 32 resident donations totalling $25,830.

But for Hageman, Equality State residents willing to personally donate were relatively more important. The Cheyenne attorney scored $188,850 from 150 in-state individual donors, which pencils out to 43% of her total quarterly contributions. Overall last quarter, Hageman raised $7 from Wyoming residents for every $1 Cheney took in.

This isn’t that

University of Wyoming political science professor Jim King told WyoFile it’s premature to make too much of that divide. He declined to speculate what it says about voter preferences. 

“The dynamic plays out differently for challengers and incumbents in fundraising,” King said. “We don’t know a lot yet about how this is going to look in the end.”

What the data shows definitively so far, King said, is that Cheney is raising a lot of money, and mostly from out of state. 

“That’s probably why she has a seven-to-one advantage of cash on hand right now,” King said. “What we can see from this is that Cheney hit the ground sprinting and Hageman hit the ground trotting. Cheney’s fundraising operation is significantly more efficient.” 

Out-of-state and political action committee money has been important for Hageman, too. 

Hageman received $5,000, the maximum amount allowable, from Donald Trump’s Save America Political Action Committee. She also received $5,000 from the Madison Project PAC directed by conversative former Kansas congressman Jim Ryun and his family and $1,000 from America Matters PAC created by ultra consevative Southern California political activist Joy Miedecke. 

Cheney, meanwhile, received several hundred thousand dollars in donations from more than 50 corporate and law firm PACs. 

Her affiliated Great Task and Cowboy PACs brought in additional in-state money, including $16,600 bundled from three Wyomingites not listed as individual donors in Federal Election Commission filings.

“The amount of money might be staggering, but this is a big time test. This is the real test of Trump.”

Al Simpson

There’s nothing new about out-of-state money coming into Wyoming elections, said former U.S. Sen. Al Simpson, who was in federal office from 1979 to 1997. What’s more novel, he said, is the total explosion of funds pouring in. Still, the 90-year-old Cody Republican wasn’t surprised by what’s happening given the modern race’s stakes. 

“The amount of money might be staggering, but this is a big-time test,” Simpson said. “This is the real test of Trump. Whenever he opens his mouth, she sticks it right back at him and he must be furious.” 

‘Real test’

Simpson’s take was that differences between Cheney and Hageman’s fundraising hauls might not matter.

“When they close that ballot box in November, don’t be surprised with what you’re going to get,” he said. “I think a lot of people are going to say, ‘I’m tired of this, and I’m tired of him.’” 

King, the UW professor, also made the point that the outcome of the U.S. House race wouldn’t necessarily hinge on whose coffers swell the most. 

“Money makes it easier to campaign, money makes it easier to get out a campaign message,” King said. “But you can’t simply look at money as the indicator.”

Fundraising — or lack thereof — says more about the viability of candidates who are significantly behind, King said. It doesn’t mean they can’t do well in the election itself, but somebody who’s lagging behind in campaign resources isn’t going to have the opportunity to get his or her message out, he said. 

Sen. Anthony Bouchard (R-Cheyenne)

State Sen. Anthony Bouchard (R-Cheyenne), who’s also targeting Cheney’s seat, said that he’s fine with that. The pro-Trump candidate’s contributions have fallen off: He took in $26,000 last quarter, after having raised $600,000-plus earlier in the election cycle, according to Bouchard’s FEC filings

“There’s no doubt that billionaires raising money for Harriet has certainly hurt [my] fundraising, but that’s OK,” Bouchard said. “People in Wyoming don’t like big money coming in from outside of Wyoming, so I’m just kinda sitting back and waiting for people to see with their own eyes what’s happening.” 

Knapp, meanwhile, told WyoFile he is also staying in the race, despite having raised just $21,000 in total so far: “I’m not discouraged about the fundraising,” he said. The Gillette resident has spent all but a few thousand, and is set to fork over a few hundred more for a table at the Conservatives in Crimson gala in Rock Springs Saturday.

Knapp intends to partake in the fellowship of the event, talk to people around the room and introduce himself to members of the Republican Central Committee. He doesn’t necessarily see the gala as much of an opportunity for him to solicit donations and fundraise.

“I think I’d make more impact if I went to Rock Springs and went door-to-door and talked to voters,” Knapp said. “Because in reality, the Central Committee has their mind made up, and that’s [to endorse] Harriet Hageman.”

Hageman’s campaign did not respond to WyoFile’s interview request for this story. 

Rone Tempest contributed reporting to this story

Mike Koshmrl

Mike Koshmrl reports from Jackson on state politics and Wyoming's natural resources. Prior to joining WyoFile, he spent nearly a decade covering the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem’s wild places and creatures...

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  1. “I don’t know the answer,” the GOP House candidate told the newspaper during the conversation.” Is this going to be just another RINO candidate from WY!!!!
    She sure as h_ll knows who won the election and she better get MAGA pronto!

  2. I would contend Harriet Hageman rubbing shoulders at a fund raiser sponsored by Peter Thiel, in his waterfront palace in Miami that he shares with his husband and daughter, that occurred in late January will move up that out of state total next reporting cycle. Peter’s Party was held under strict secrecy in a mansion once used to film MTV’s Real World whose guests included DJT jr. with no audio or video allowed.

    While Peter hasn’t plunked down 10 Million for a Harriet PAC, like he did for Hillbilly Elegy grifter JD Vance, indicating he his less sure of the outcome in Wyoming, he is really out loud about buying American Democracy because he believes Billionaires should run the world and not governments elected by the people.

    Election cycle 2022 – Its going to be wild.

    https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2022/01/billionaire-peter-thiel-hosts-fundraiser-for-liz-cheney-challenger

    1. Liz is not even from Wyoming. Her parents are from Wyoming. She was born in Madison, Wisconsin. She lived mostly in the D.C. area for most of her life. She received a BA from Col. and was given a law degree from Univ. of Chic. She rarely is even in the state of Wyoming. Almost everyone I know hates her. After I wrote a letter to CST against her last year Google banned me from making posts and so did other Big Tech companies. I am not the biggest fan of Hageman but she is much better than Liz. Actually Liz is just trying to get a position with CNN or MSNBC for a few million$ per year. She knows she is toast in the primary.

  3. I’m not exactly sure how much money plays in Wyoming politics. It seems to me that local media plays a small part in local Wyoming politics but that national politics plays a much larger role in local politics in Wyoming. I noticed this years ago when local politicians were running as Democrats but you would think that they were running alongside Bill Clinton. Didn’t make sense to me. In the end, to me it is a wonderment how people in Wyoming could support a scoundrel from New York City. Go figure.

  4. This article actually features legitimate journalistic content. The 5 W’s and everything. How’d the author sneak this one onto this platform? Stunning.
    I am curious to see what shenanigans Cheney pulls this year. Her crew will attempt to paint Harriet as the whack job that Cheney actually is. The election is Hageman’s to lose. Let the mudslinging begin!

  5. What Benedict Donald brought to politics is the realization that given permission from an authority figure, it’s alright to hate anyone that doesn’t agree with you. It’s then just a short step to believing that winning is the only thing that matters, no matter how you win. Cheat, lie, suppress votes, discrinate, intimidate, use the NSA. Whatever it takes.

    The big LIE is alive and well in Wyoming. If Harriet and Liz debate during this election cycle, Liz will eat her alive. She probably won’t win but she can leave office with her head held high. She has the right stuff.

  6. Money schmoney. Harriet Hageman’s gross tactical blunder is not hobnobbing at the Wyoming Press Association convention. Perhaps her greatest fear is that the state news media might actually tell the truth about her …

    That ” Conservatives in Crimson ‘ soirée has all the iridescent glitz of prom night in Wamsutter.

  7. Been there. Every candidate and pundit will try to spin money raised and where it came from a certain way. A couple of points: 1) inability to raise meaningful money is absolutely a determining factor in whether or not a candidate is viable and competitive; 2) campaigns are about message, media and money. Message and media (ability to get your message out to voters) are absolutely impacted by money. 3) Where the money comes from does not matter in the end. Most voters do not pay enough attention to know or care. Again, while candidates will try to make hay over the type and location of contributions, my experience tells me it just doesn’t matter, but the amount of money does matter.

    1. With these two front runners in the race, I really doubt who has the most money will determine the outcome. Everyone already has an opinion on Cheney. Those who hate her will vote for someone else. Money is certainly needed to run a campaign but it has been proven time and time sgain that it doesn’t get you the win. N.J. truck driver Edward Durr spent $153 (mostly in donuts) to win his state senate seat. Another mostly unknown person coming into the WY race would need money to get traction. Foster Friess needed to spend money because he wasn’t taken seriously by the press and for most WY residents, he was an unknown rich guy from Jackson (two strikes in WY). In your case, you had no real name recognition, no real traction in a conservative state, and a campaign that wasn’t the best. More money would not have gotten you the win. At least, my opinion.

      1. George – I ran 3 races in WY (all losses – yes, I know). But two were competitive and one was the closest race in the country that cycle. 2018 I got shellacked in my view mainly because the partisan divide has become insurmountable (in ’06 and ’08, I got between 30% and 50% of the other party’s votes). Leaving that and your opinion of my ’18 race tactics aside, you are correct – money does not always determine the winner. The Jersey race isn’t a great example – it was a complete fluke and based solely on local politics and the other candidate. My point from experience remain: money matters in a big way in most cases and where it comes from is essentially irrelevant in most cases. People overlook that, sadly, most voters are not paying attention in any way and can be persuaded by media and message, which takes… money.

        But you are correct – there are always exceptions to the rule and Hageman/Cheney may be one of them based on other factors.

  8. I was surprised by Senator Simpson‘s comment about what will happen in November, the election for Wyoming’s sole congressional seat will be decided in August at the primary. If Teton County Democrats decide they want to do whatever it takes to defeat Trump supported candidates they’ll come out in the primary in droves to vote for congresswoman Cheney. Senator Simpson seems completely out of touch but perhaps the reporter didn’t quite get it right . I know the senator and he’s always been very in touch. The Reporters comments on Simpson seem out of character, the idea that people are tired of Donald Trump and the candidates he supports has been floated for the last year. What political observers really don’t understand, is that Donald Trump represents the people‘s deep distrust for the administrative state in Washington DC in general. That distrust is not attached directly to Donald Trump he is simply the tip of the spear pointing out the truth. The fact that Donald Trump is so polarizing is a immaterial. What the reporter is not seeing is the the people have seen the curtain pulled back from the Wizard of Oz and they now know they’ve been lied to for an entire generation. The vote for Ms. Hagerman will be a vote to get rid of the administrative state, not for DJT.

    1. DJT may represent a dedicated base of cult like followers, but he does not represent most people in Wyoming or even most Republicans. A vote for Hageman is not a vote against the administrative state, but a vote for the cult of DJT and the Big Lie,

  9. I’m a democrat for Liz.. which is what she will be supported by. The small majority of people who stand beside a woman who stood up against brutality that is still gripping our country.
    Liz made me proud to be from Wyoming and she deserves our investment of time and energy to keep her in Congress

  10. It’s very sad with all the information that has surfaced regarding the BIG LIE that so many Wyoming people are still supporting Trumpers. It’s even sadder that the likes of Kevin McCarthy are able to raise so much money. What are people thinking?
    It’s heartening though to see Allen Simpson speaking out! He was Wyoming’s last great Republican senator. Wish more intelligent and ethical Republicans would speak out…

    1. Ron Smith- too bad you don’t really know Alan Simpson. I had a run in with him maybe 20 some years ago in Rock Springs. He was speaking at a meeting at the college there. Anyway, he got on his high horse and started spouting off about how military retirees shouldn’t be able to draw a retirement after 20 years of service. He and I went around the brush on it. I asked him how much he made as a retiree from government service. He wouldn’t answer. Also had nothing to say about the short period of time Senators and Representatives had to be in office in order to draw more retirement in one year than a 20 year retired service member draws. So, if this is your idea of outstanding Republicans then you are either a Democrat or should be one. They generally dislike the men and women in uniform. I hope and pray Liz Cheney is soundly defeated. She doesn’t represent the people of Wyoming. Let her take her millions of out of state donor dollars with her.

  11. Fries was an abomination.

    Cheney is one of a handful of Repugnicans that still believes in democracy. I disagree with her on nearly all policy issues, but I will stand with her on supporting the Rule of Law. These are dangerous times.

  12. Harriet’s not alone—many Congressional candidates endorsed by Trump are struggling to raise money, both for House and Senate races.
    It’s not going to get any easier for them as Trump holds more rallies and they have to respond to his inane positions instead of talking about local issues. We saw this play out in the two Georgia Senate races.

  13. For a $60 entry fee to the Rock Springs gala, revelers Saturday evening can sip on “spiked punch” and enjoy the ceremonial crowning of the “Republi-King” and “Republi-Queen.”

    $60.

    How about sponsoring a free event with locals getting a chance to personally talk with candidates about their positions in depth? Seems unlikely that will go over well with candidates who hate being pinned down in details but one never knows. One thing about Foster Friess, the multi-millionaire, who ran for Gov, is that he gave locals a chance to sit one-on-one and discuss any issue in depth. That man listened and had no fear in sharing his opinion on any topic. A rare bird in politics.

    1. Yes, Foster Friess gladly shared his view that the answer to birth control was for women to place an aspirin between their knees. Discussion?

      1. Katharine Collins says:

        “Yes, Foster Friess gladly shared his view that the answer to birth control was for women to place an aspirin between their knees. Discussion?”

        He certainly did. And it was an attempt at humor not a serious policy proposal. Foster said many stupid things off the cuff but he was never advocating a ban on contraceptives. He was commenting on too many people engaging in irresponsible sex, and despite the relative affordability of birth control. But, that has nothing to do with the fact that he was open to talking frankly with the people he met. Foster gave time for all points of view, and had a very forgiving nature unlike his haters. Like any person, he had his faults.

        Still waiting in Barrasso, Cheney, and Lummis to show any interest in meeting one-on-one with the people they serve. They always hide behind a well controlled setting and limit any meaningful discussion of any issues.

        The press barely scratches the surface on any topic with them.