Californians have contributed more to the Republican House of Representatives. Liz Cheney than donors from any other state, including her home in Wyoming, as Trump’s outspoken critic faces an increasingly dangerous re-election bid.
Many California funders, including Hollywood and Silicon Valley moguls, strongly disagree with most of Cheney’s political positions, but applaud her fight against former President Trump’s false claims that he won the 2020 election and his actions since.
Cheney voted to impeach Trump after Jan. 6 The Capitoline Revolt and its prominent role as vice chairman in televised House committee hearings the attack boosted her status nationally, even as they hurt her in Wyoming, where she trails her primary GOP opponent by double digits in the polls. In strongly Democratic California, this translated into donations totaling about $1.2 million.
Lifetime Democrat Mardy Wasserman, who has donated $25 a month to the campaign since January, recalls leaving a voicemail in Cheney’s congressional office after the impeachment vote. “The message was that I didn’t agree with her about anything” but that she “respected her honesty above all else.”
La Cañada clinical psychologist Flintridge backs several other out-of-state candidates, but Cheney is the only Republican.
“She is sacrificing her political career for the sake of fairness and justice in this country,” said Wasserman, 72.
Over 1100 Californians According to FEC records, she contributed nearly a tenth of the $13 million Cheney raised through June 30 for her re-election campaign. During this period, she received donations from just over 200 Wyoming residents, totaling over $260,000.
The statistics in this story are based on detailed donations from individuals who donated at least $200 to a House nominee, a threshold that requires campaigns to disclose details of FEC donors. Figures do not include contributions to candidates from political action or joint fundraising committees.
California, due to its huge population and large number of wealthy donors, has traditionally been a top source of donations for presidential candidates, as well as candidates for the House of Representatives and Senate from both parties in races across the country.
But Cheney, 56, has received much more from the state than in previous election cycles. In 2020, she raised $161,608 in donations from Californians, up from just $5,900 in 2018. In 2016, her first congressional campaign, she raised $100,875 from donors here.
Cheney Trump-backed Republican challenger Attorney Harriet Hageman, collected much less ahead of August in Wyoming. 16 primary. Of Hageman’s $3.7 million in donations, almost $155,000 came from California residents.
According to the FEC, Hageman received more than $1.2 million from Wyoming residents, more than four times Cheney’s haul from her home state.
The concept of California liberals writing checks to Cheney amuses some political observers, given the deep antipathy towards congresswoman’s father Dick Cheney when he was Vice President under George W. Bush.
“People are not only rolling over in their graves—they are actually tossing and turning in their graves right now,” said Jessica Levinson, professor of voting law at Loyola Law School. But, she added, those critics of Dick Cheney “probably also approve” of the younger Cheney’s principles.
The donations irritate some Democrats, who say the money won’t affect Cheney’s presidential race and would be better spent helping Democrats fight hard as the party struggles to maintain control of Congress. They also argue that the donations could give Cheney a bipartisan patina if she ran for a higher office.
“Wyoming is cheap; it is not in the expensive media market. The voters know her well. She already has a sky-high name. Nothing in this race will be affected by more or less money,” said a prominent Democratic fundraiser, who asked not to be named so as not to harm relations with sponsors.
“I don’t know what they think they are after,” the fundraiser added. “Many people fear for the future of our country, and they rightly believe that we need the partnership of certain Republicans to protect her, and she will be an ally in this work. But that’s not the only job that excites me.”
Cheney’s sponsors include many bold Hollywood names, including studio mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg, Friends producer Kevin Bright, and filmmaker Gary Ross of Seabiscuit and The Hunger Games.
Katzenberg, co-founder of DreamWorks Animation and one of the leading Democratic fundraisers in the entertainment industry, said he chose to support Cheney because he admires her principled stance on a peaceful transition of power.
“We disagree on almost everything,” Katzenberg said of Cheney in a telephone interview. But, he added, “She was heroic and selfless in her speech and in her loyalty to America and our Constitution. I am in awe of her.”
He and his wife each contributed $5,800 to Cheney’s campaign committee, the maximum allowed by law. They also donated a significant amount to an independent committee supporting her re-election efforts.
Cheney has been backed by prominent Silicon Valley donors, including angel investor Ron Conway, Napster co-founder Sean Parker, Peloton CEO Barry McCarthy and LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, according to the FEC.
“It’s not so much about the money, but about showing support,” said Dmitry Mehlhorn, Hoffman’s political adviser. “It’s about showing everyone, including Democrats, that really the only thing that matters is that you’re on the side of a peaceful transfer of power.”
Donors also include a number of former Republicans who left the party after Trump was elected, such as Gina Gualtier. The 55-year-old Palos Verdes ranch resident didn’t know much about Cheney before she tuned in for Jan. 6 hearings.
“I just respect her for being a Republican and I probably get a lot of chit-chat from other Republicans for what she does,” said Gualtiere, who donated $250. “She’s just trying to do the right thing.”
Some of the left-wing donors, including Katzenberg, have previously donated to Republicans but not to conservative politicians like Cheney.
Cheney’s lifetime record of 77% congressional vote is in line with the American Conservative Union. She voted for Trump 93% of the time they were both in office and opposed. his first impeachment.
She also defended terror suspects waterboarded and did not denounce false conspiracy theories that questioned President Obama’s birthplace.
Although she supports most of the Republican Party’s orthodox views, Cheney sometimes deviates from her party’s most conservative views. On the same day, she praised the Supreme Court’s ruling that abolished the constitutional right to abortion. she voted in favor of a bipartisan gun safety bill.
During her unsuccessful bid for the Senate in 2014, Cheney opposed same-sex marriage, which caused a rift in her family as her sister is married to a woman. She deplored the stance last year and recently voted in favor of a bill making same-sex marriage a federal law.
The biggest rift with her party — one that likely cost Cheney her seat in the House of Representatives — is her outspoken criticism of Trump. Her passionate statements as well as Vote to Impeach for Inciting Jan. 6 rebellion eventually led to her censorship Republican National Committee and her removal from the leadership positions of the Republican Party in the House of Representatives and the Republican Party of Wyoming.
According to a July 15 Casper Star-Tribune poll, Cheney was 22 percentage points behind her main rival Hageman.
“She’s in a deep frenzy,” said Stuart Spencer, an adviser to President Reagan and a longtime friend of the Cheney family, who first met Cheney when she was in kindergarten.
Spencer and his wife, who live in Palm Desert, organized a fundraiser in January that raised more than $100,000 for the Cheney campaign.
“She’s very selfless,” he said of her work on Yang. 6 committee.
The insecurity of Cheney’s seat in the House of Representatives is an unexpected twist for a woman once considered a Republican royal. Her campaign declined requests for comment, but the congresswoman said her conscience is clear.
Speaking recently on CNN, she said, “If I have to choose between keeping my seat in the House of Representatives or defending a constitutional republic and making sure the American people know the truth about Donald Trump, I will choose the Constitution and the truth every single day.”