Democrat Mary Throne leads the field of candidates to be Wyoming’s next governor in total campaign contributions through the end of 2017, though it is unclear how much the most recent entrants to the race have raised.
Throne, a former state lawmaker from Cheyenne, raised $185,643 from August through December, according to campaign finance records. Throne was followed by Republican attorney Harriet Hageman, who had raised $112,215 by the end of last year. Another GOP candidate, Sheridan businessman Bill Dahlin, generated $60,770 between his initial announcement in spring of last year through December.
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While Hageman had a faster rate of fundraising — pulling in more than $100,000 in less than two months — Throne had the most small donors out of the three candidates in 2017.
The average amount of contributions to Throne’s campaign was $323, compared to $1,900 for Hageman and $3,798 for Dahlin.
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All three candidates loaned themselves significant amounts of money, dollars that are included in the fundraising total. Throne loaned her campaign $100,000 last year, first with a $25,000 contribution in August and a second loan made in December.
Dahlin loaned $50,000 to his campaign, while Hageman chipped in $25,000.
Notable donors to the race include Republican State Reps. Mark Jennings and Marti Halverson, who both contributed to Hageman’s campaign, and Democrats Rep. Jim Byrd and House Minority Leader Cathy Connolly, who donated to Throne’s.
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Tatiana Maxwell, the woman whose accusation of sexual misconduct against then-Secretary of State Ed Murray played a role in Murray’s resignation and decision not to enter the governor’s race, donated to Throne’s campaign last year. Maxwell gave $500 to Throne several weeks before she posted on social media a detailed allegation of Murray violently assaulting her when the two worked at a Cheyenne law firm in the 1980s. Murray denied the claims, though did not address them in detail.
Throne’s campaign has said that the candidate does not know Maxwell, who now lives in Colorado and has donated thousands of dollars to Democratic candidates in the past.
No reports for several candidates
While speculation over who would enter the governor’s race picked up steam last fall, three major candidates did not officially start their campaigns until this spring.
State Treasurer Mark Gordon, Cheyenne businessman Sam Galeotos and Jackson financier and GOP megadonor Foster Friess, all Republicans, have not reported financial contributions of the Wyoming Secretary of State’s Office because their campaigns did not begin until after the most recent filing period closed in December.
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The current reporting period ends in August, shortly before the primary election, according to the Secretary of State’s office.
While Republican candidates Taylor Haynes and Rex Rammell announced their intentions to run for governor last fall, neither filed any fundraising documents with the Secretary of State’s office for the 2017 period.
Expensive race expected
Observers say this year’s race for the seat being vacated by Gov. Matt Mead is likely to be one of the most expensive ever, an expectation only fueled by Friess’s announcement two weeks ago that he would be throwing his hat in. Friess, who has an estimated net worth of more than $500 million, has lavished campaign contributions on favored Republican candidates across the country during past election cycles, though this is his first run for public office.
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Throne reported spending just under $30,000 during 2017 — primarily on advertising and staff and consulting fees — and ended the year with $150,000. Throne paid $10,800 to former campaign manager Bri Jones, who has since left the campaign to attend law school, $3,000 to Aimee Van Cleave, former executive director of the Wyoming Democratic Party, and $2,300 to Jennie Blackton, a political communication consultant based in California.
Hageman spent $11,700 in 2017, finishing the year with $98,000. She spent much of that sum on facility fees for campaign events, and more than $4,000 in payments to Lewis Media Consulting, run by Hageman spokeswoman Trinity Lewis.
Dahlin finished 2017 with almost $50,000 after spending slightly less than $11,000 on his campaign last year. The bulk of his expenditures were on campaign merchandise, including signs, buttons and shirts.