Romney coming to raise funds
Republican presidential candidate scheduled for fundraiser with former vice president Cheney.
By Angus M. Thuermer Jr., Jackson Hole, Wyo.
June 20, 2012
Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is scheduled to visit Jackson Hole and former Vice President Dick Cheney on July 12 for a fundraiser.
The candidate, who has raised campaign cash twice in Teton County, is expected at a number of events, most of which will be invitation-only fundraisers, Republican supporters said this week. Among the gatherings will be cocktail party reception hosted by Dick and Lynne Cheney for a reported $2,500 donation and a dinner that could cost attendees significantly more.
Former Wyoming Rep. Clarene Law, a Republican stalwart who keeps pictures of herself with Romney above her desk, said she’s excited about his return.
“But I’m more excited about his candidacy,” the innkeeper said.
Romney raised money in Jackson Hole in August 2007 and honored Law by agreeing to a free rally in the meeting room of her Antler Motel.
“That impressed me,” she said of his willingness to have an event for the common man.
Teton County is hardly a swing county in a swing state, but it can be a lucrative fundraising stop for candidates. County residents have donated at least $3.5 million to candidates in 2011-12, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Among those is a $2.3 million donation from Foster Friess who heavily backed Rick Santorum.
Law will be a Romney supporter again.
“I haven’t decided at what level, but I absolutely will,” she said when asked whether she would participate in the events.
For valley resident Laurent Roux, a Romney visit to the Equality State is an opportunity for residents here to “get a look” at the candidate. Roux attended a Romney event hosted by Republican fundraiser Dick Scarlett last year, he said, and met the candidate.
“I think it’s great,” the banker and founder of Gallatin Wealth Management LLC said of Romney’s planned return. “I’m glad he’s coming back.”
Mike Halloran, a corporate attorney, SEC official from 2006-08 and valley resident, also looks forward to Romney’s visit, he said.
“I hope to shake his hand,” Halloran said, suggesting he would attend at least one event. But as for whether he would make it to an expensive dinner, “I’ll have to talk to my wife about that,” he said.
Whether Romney will mix with the masses or remain ensconced with the affluent is also uncertain. Fundraising organizer Bill Scarlett, son of Dick Scarlett, did not return a call for information Tuesday afternoon and evening.
Last year, Romney attended a $2,500-a-plate breakfast in Star Valley before addressing a crowd of 400 in Afton. He played up his regional ties. A member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he found support in the community south of Jackson Hole where Mormonism is influential.
From Afton, he came to Jackson for the fundraiser at Dick and Maggie Scarlett’s, but made no public appearances.
In his visit in 2007 in front of about 75 people at the Antler, he called for cleaning up polluted water and outlined his positions on foreign and domestic policy, immigration and energy.
“There should be no special pathway, no special deal” for illegal immigrants to become citizens, he said then.
Romney remained in town for a fundraiser at Robin and Cherrie Siegfried’s Lazy Moose Ranch in Wilson.
Tickets to that event cost $1,000 for the reception. A photo with Romney cost $2,300.
Teton County political donations reported by the Center for Responsive Politics include those to parties, political action committees, super PACs, outside groups and candidates themselves. The figures cover the zip codes for Jackson, Wilson, Moose, Kelly, Moran, Alta and Teton Village.
— Kevin Huelsmann contributed to this story
This story was corrected to reflect that $2.3 million in political donations was made by Foster Friess personally — Eds.