Lummis raises more than U.S. Senate rivals

CASPER — U.S. Senate candidate Cynthia Lummis remains significantly ahead of her rivals in fundraising heading into the final weeks of Republican primary campaign season, according to numbers filed with the Federal Elections Commission this week.

Between the months of April and July, the former U.S. representative’s campaign did some of its best fundraising yet, raising roughly $360,000 — or 22% of her total fundraising haul this cycle — amid a slew of endorsements from organizations like the United States Chamber of Commerce and the Club for Growth.

Now with nearly $964,000 in cash on hand, Lummis’ total war chest dwarfs the entire field of candidates — Republican or Democrat — in the 2020 election 5 to 1. The only other candidate to come close to that total this quarter was Republican challenger Robert Short, whose $187,000 in funds raised this cycle was largely fueled by more than $155,000 in loans from the candidate himself.

While fundraising efforts from many of the candidates for federal office have been anemic this past quarter, much of Lummis’ success can be chalked up to what her campaign described as a broad network of grassroots support.

“Cynthia has been humbled by the incredible support she has received from people across Wyoming and around the country,” Lummis’ campaign manager, Kristin Walker, wrote in a statement to the Star-Tribune. “From day one, Cynthia has been focused on a people-powered campaign. She is proud to have received donations from over 8,000 people around Wyoming and the country. And she has a robust team of statewide and county chairs, which now includes well over 100 Wyoming leaders.”

While that holds true, much of that success can also be attributed to what campaign filings show to be massive sums of money from a number of major industry groups as well as strong support from big oil.

According to Lummis’ financial disclosures submitted to the FEC this week, the candidate raked in tens of thousands of dollars in contributions from major donors like Koch Industries, the National Association of Realtors and several political action committees representing big oil, including Marathon Petroleum, Exxon, Halliburton and Chevron. She also received thousands of dollars in funds from a number of national conservative organizations.

In all, Lummis took in nearly $203,000 in donations from political action committees this quarter, a strong return on the more than $134,000 the campaign has spent on fundraising assistance since last July.

Lummis — who has already racked up endorsements from a number of national conservative organizations as well as the support of Sens. John Barrasso and Mike Enzi — said in a statement through her campaign that the high density of large donations signified her record as a staunch conservative voice for Wyoming and should be seen as signifying what she could do for the state and its economy once reelected to Congress.

“The industries that power Wyoming’s economy, now and into the future, support Cynthia,” Walker wrote. “She is the pro-jobs, pro-gun, liberty-minded candidate putting our state’s economic future first. Her strong fundraising is a reflection of people’s confidence in her deeply held conservative principles.”

Bill Novotny, Short’s campaign manager, defended the campaign’s slow fundraising efforts this quarter, blaming the conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic and the challenges of facing off against a well-financed and well-connected opponent in Lummis.

“Fundraising in the COVID environment has been difficult,” Novotny wrote in a statement. “We’ve avoided the incessant emails and hyper partisan fundraising letters like the other campaign. Robert realizes people across Wyoming are struggling. He has been willing to invest in his campaign, with money he earned as a small business owner, to share his vision and message. It is a message of new blood and positive results not politics as usual. And it is resonating.”

“‘All Wyoming all the time,’ kind of takes on a new meaning when you are bought and paid for by corporations and out of state political action committees,” Novotny added, in an apparent jab to Lummis and her campaign slogan. “I guess we shouldn’t be surprised that the career politician dusted off the Rolodex of favors curried after all that time in government.”

The Wyoming primary takes place Aug. 18.