Trauner tops House fundraising totals
Wilson Democrat has $550,500 war chest.
By Noah Brenner, Jackson Hole, Wyo.
April 16, 2008
Democrat Gary Trauner raised more than $250,000 in the last three months and now has about $550,500 for his campaign for U.S. House, dwarfing the totals posted by his Republican rivals.
Of his contributions, 98 percent came from individuals, including more than 350 Wyoming donors. Trauner’s campaign office lauded the figures as proof of Trauner’s grassroots support in the state.
“Our successful fundraising efforts with the help of so many Wyoming donors shows the problems and issues from 2006 have just gotten worse,” Trauner said in a release. “I continue, as I did then, to offer straight talk about the issues that matter to Wyoming, and the response is overwhelming.”
The Wilson businessman is making his second run at Wyoming’s lone U.S. House seat. The spot is held by Rep. Barbara Cubin, but the seven-term incumbent has announced she will not seek re-election. Though Cubin could continue to raise money and then donate those funds to another Republican candidate, the representative showed no contributions for the quarter and $740 cash on hand at the close of the reporting period Tuesday.
Trauner, who was traveling Tuesday and could not be reached for comment, has said in previous interviews that he believes it will be a $1.2 million to $1.4 million race, based on his 2006 duel with Cubin.
“Unlike the last race, where the Republican National Party spent over $278,000 in the last week to distort Gary’s record, we want to make sure every voter can make up his or her mind without having to rely on distortions,” said Trauner spokesman Adam Ruff. “The bottom line is we are on target to make sure every Wyoming voter can make up his or her mind based on facts and truth and not mischaracterizations.”
Republican candidates have already begun advertising campaigns to gain name recognition and differentiate themselves. Rancher Mark Gordon of Buffalo, attorney Cynthia Lummis of Cheyenne, Retired naval officer Bill Winney of Bondurant, state Rep. Dan Zwonitzer of Cheyenne and motivational speaker Swede Nelson of Cheyenne are all vying for the nomination.
Lummis, a former Wyoming legislator and two-term state treasurer, is the most familiar face statewide, though Winney is no longer unknown after his 2006 challenge of Cubin in the Republican primary. Lummis posted more than $168,400 in contributions for the quarter, including about $67,000 she contributed to her own campaign.
“Cynthia is thrilled,” said Lummis spokeswoman Annaliese Wiederspahn. “The vast majority of her contributions came from Wyoming individuals, which is consistent with our goal to work through grassroots networks and real Wyoming support.”
Gordon reported about $411,000 in contributions, about $300,000 of which came from his own pocket. Of that total, he has more than $86,000 remaining after beginning a series of TV ads.
“Unlike my opponents, I have not been in politics my whole life, so it becomes important to get my name out to the public and talk about some of the things I am passionate about, like enacting a strong immigration policy and giving small-business owners the freedom they need to flourish,” Gordon said in a release.
Zwonitzer reported he had raised more than $9,000 for the quarter and had about $3,700 cash on hand.
Winney, reached by phone while traveling, could not comment on his financial report. It was not available by press time, nor was Nelson’s.
Because he is unopposed so far in the Democratic field, Trauner has not drawn heavily from his coffers, spending about $60,000 assembling a campaign staff and traveling. It is a strategy he plans to continue, Ruff said.