Targeted by former President Donald Trump and thrown out of her leadership position within the GOP, Cheney is raising vast sums of money as she seeks a fourth term.
And when I say “vast sums,” I mean it. The latest campaign finance reports show Cheney brought in more than $7 million in 2021, and ended the year with $4.7 million in the bank. She spent $1.8 million last year.
That’s a massive increase over the $1.3 million Cheney spent on the entirety of her 2020 reelection race. It’s also nearing the $2.5 million that Wyoming GOP Sen. Cynthia Lummis spent on winning an open seat race in 2020.
And Cheney’s 2021 haul dwarfs that of her main primary opponent. After launching her campaign in September, Harriet Hageman raised $745,000 through the end of 2021 and had $381,000 on hand. (Hageman’s total is all the less impressive when you consider she has the full-throated endorsement of the former President.)
It now seems nearly a certainty that Cheney will raise and spend more for this race than any other federal contest in Wyoming political history.
What’s far less certain is whether all of this money can save Cheney from paying the price for her willingness to vote to impeach Trump for his role on January 6, 2021.
The reality for Cheney is that the political universe that will decide her fate is a) very small and b) overwhelmingly pro-Trump.
To the first point, consider that Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon won a contested (and admittedly crowded) Republican primary in 2018 with fewer than 39,000 votes. (Cheney received almost 79,000 votes in a far less contested primary in 2020.)
To the second point, the Wyoming Republican Party voted last November to no longer recognize Cheney as a Republican. While the move was purely symbolic, it speaks to the level of unhappiness with her among the conservative activist crowd in the state.
A (relatively) small universe of voters — many of whom have likely already made up their minds — means that all of Cheney’s money may matter less than she would hope. Her best (only?) strategy is to use her financial edge to grow the size of the Republican primary electorate beyond the hardcore Trumpist base.
The Point: You’d always rather be the candidate with more money than the one with less. But the size of Wyoming and the nature of the opposition to Cheney may combine to make her money advantage much less impactful than you might imagine.