Republicans Who Voted to Impeach Trump Out-Raised Primary Rivals
WASHINGTON — All seven House Republicans who voted to impeach former President Donald J. Trump and are seeking re-election have out-raised their primary opponents, many of whom have received Mr. Trump’s backing, according to campaign disclosures filed with the Federal Election Commission this week.
In Wyoming, Representative Liz Cheney, who was all but exiled by her party for bluntly condemning Mr. Trump’s false election claims and has emerged as one of the lead lawmakers on the special committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack, raked in $2 million during the last quarter, entering 2022 with nearly $5 million in cash on hand. Her opponent, Harriet Hageman, who has drawn the vociferous support of Mr. Trump and his family, raised $443,000last quarter and has about $380,000 cash on hand.
Representative Fred Upton, a centrist who has held his seat in southwest Michigan for more than three decades, brought in $726,000 and has about $1.5 million cash on hand, well ahead of the challenger Mr. Trump has endorsed, Steve Carra, a state representative who raised $134,000 last quarter and has $200,000 cash on hand.
Joe Kent, a Trump-backed Army Special Forces veteran prolific on social media and conservative talk shows, appeared to come closer to matching the fund-raising totals of his opponent, Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington, but still trailed her in both quarterly hauls and cash on hand.
The disclosures illustrate the foothold that establishment conservatives and well-funded political action committees still hold among the party’s donor class, despite Mr. Trump’s continuing grip on the Republican base. They also reflect how the former president’s endorsements, which he has dangled as threats over Republican lawmakers he deems insufficiently loyal to him, have yet to translate into significant donations for the candidates he backs.
How Donald J. Trump Still Looms
- Grip on G.O.P.: Mr. Trump remains the most powerful figure in the Republican Party. However, there are signs his control is loosening.
- Trump vs. DeSantis: Tensions between the ex-president and Florida governor show the challenge confronting the G.O.P. in 2022.
- Midterms Effect: Mr. Trump has become a party kingmaker, but his involvement in state races worries many Republicans.
- Just the Beginning: For many Trump supporters who marched on Jan. 6, the day was not a disgraced insurrection but the start of a movement.
By contrast, Mr. Trump’s political operation is doing far better than his party in raking in money, having raised more than $51 million in the second half of 2021 and entering 2022 with more than double the cash on hand of the Republican National Committee.
“The massive fund-raising hauls of some of these incumbents reflects a lot of people’s support for the positions they took,” said Alex Conant, a veteran Republican political strategist. “There’s only a handful of them, but they have a huge donor pool to draw from. And Trump has always struggled to translate his political capital to others.”
Even with their hulking war chests, the Republicans who voted to impeach Mr. Trump last year for his role in inciting the Capitol riot are expected to face grueling primary battles after inflaming the wrath of conservative voters. Some may still opt to retire, joining three of their colleagues who also voted to impeach Mr. Trump and already said they would not run for re-election in 2022.
Mr. Upton said in a statement on Wednesday that he saw his fund-raising numbers as evidence of a “hunger for restoring civility and solving pressing problems” that was “resonating with people across America,” but added that he was still deliberating over whether he would run for re-election.
Some of the financial disparities reflect straggling primary fields that have yet to be narrowed or candidates who only decided recently to enter their races. In South Carolina, for example, Mr. Trump endorsed a primary challenger to Representative Tom Rice on Tuesday, elevating Russell Fry, a state representative, over Graham Allen, a conservative media personality who had raised the most money in a crowded primary. Mr. Rice’s latest disclosure showed him with five times as much cash on hand as Mr. Allen.
“Congressman Tom Rice of South Carolina, the coward who abandoned his constituents by caving to Nancy Pelosi and the radical left, and who actually voted against me on impeachment hoax #2, must be thrown out of office ASAP,” Mr. Trump wrote in his endorsement.
Mr. Rice shot back with a retort of his own: “I’m glad he’s chosen someone. All the pleading to Mar-a-Lago was getting a little embarrassing. I’m all about Trump’s policy. But absolute pledge of loyalty, to a man that is willing to sack the Capitol to keep his hold on power, is more than I can stomach.”
For Trump-backed candidates, more help from the boldfaced names of the party’s right flank is likely on the way. On Tuesday evening, a day after campaigns were required to file their latest Federal Election Commission disclosures, Mr. Kent held a fund-raiser with Mr. Trump at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fla., at which couples that donated or raised $25,000 were invited to attend a private reception and take a picture with the former president.
Mr. Kent has previously complained on Twitter that Ms. Herrera Beutler was “running on America Last PACs not grass roots donations,” referring to big-money political action committees that once dominated campaign fund-raising, rather than the small-dollar contributions that are a growing source of financing for Republican campaigns.
But as Ms. Hageman’s fund-raising totals illustrate, Mr. Trump’s backing alone does not guarantee an immediate financial windfall. Mr. Trump has targeted Ms. Cheney as one of his most high-profile detractors in Congress, hammering away at her for months and vowing to depose her. Last month, his son, Donald Trump Jr., joined an elite fund-raiser for Ms. Hageman hosted by tech billionaire Peter Thiel at his Miami compound. The donations raised there were not reflected on the report her campaign submitted this week.
Ms. Hageman has chalked up Ms. Cheney’s fund-raising prowess to support from Democrats and out-of-state Republicans. A spokesman for Ms. Hageman’s campaign said she had raised more than half of her funds from within Wyoming.
Establishment Republicans have rallied to Ms. Cheney’s side. Former President George W. Bush gave her the maximum donation of $5,800, while Senator Mitt Romney, Republican of Utah, and former Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, have each helped raise money for her.
Mr. Bush also gave to Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, who voted to convict Mr. Trump at his impeachment trial and is also facing a Trump-backed primary challenger. Ms. Murkowski out-raised that challenger, Kelly Tshibaka, raising $1.2 million last quarter, while Ms. Tshibaka raised about $600,000.
“If you’d seen 100 Republicans voting to impeach Trump, the donor pool would have been more diluted,” Mr. Conant said. “They’re in a unique position to raise a lot of money.”
Rachel Shorey contributed reporting.