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Liz Cheney

Rep. Liz Cheney arrives for a news conference along with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California, left, and House Minority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana in January in Washington. Cheney has raised just over $321,000 in the first quarter of this year.

Rep. Liz Cheney has gotten off to a fast start in her fundraising to begin the 2019-2020 election cycle — outpacing the financial watermarks seen at similar points in her past campaigns.

According to reports filed with the Federal Elections Commission on Monday, Cheney — the third-ranking Republican in the House of Representatives — raised just over $321,000 in the first quarter of this year, the most money she’s raised since her first stab at Congress in 2016. This represents nearly four times what the congresswoman raised in the first quarter of 2018 and more than double what she raised at the same point two years ago.

However, Cheney’s Q1 numbers are nowhere near the high watermark set to start the 2016 cycle, where her campaign raised nearly $760,000.

While good enough to end up near the top 10 percent of all 819 candidates who filed with the FEC this quarter, Cheney still lags behind the head of the pack in what has been a pricey start to Congress’ two-year election cycle, finishing 85th-best among all candidates and 31st among Republicans.

The source of her funding is also diverse, with nearly $180,000 of the money raised coming from individual donations ($50,000 of which came from donations under $200) and $142,000 coming from political action committees representing interests ranging from the energy and telecommunications industries to the sugar processing industry, which collectively donated nearly $20,000 to the cause.

The lion’s share of funding from individuals — nearly $98,000 — came from denominations $2,000 or greater from big names in the financial and legal sectors.

Reached for comment, a spokesperson for Cheney did not respond to specific questions about whether the campaign had undergone a shift in strategy, nor did they respond to questions about whether Cheney’s aggressive fundraising efforts would be used specifically to help support the campaigns of Republican women running for Congress — a subject Cheney has often mentioned in her leadership role within the GOP.

In a statement to the Star-Tribune, however, it was clear the campaign had one goal in mind: using that money to defeat Democrats.

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“Democrats have been in control of the House for 100 days, and people in Wyoming and across the country have watched as they try to implement a radical policy agenda that includes embracing socialism,” the statement read. “Their efforts would strip power from the people and give it to the federal government. As a member of the House Republican leadership, Congresswoman Cheney is raising money and working hard to ensure that the GOP can take back the House Majority and work to advance ideas that will keep America safe, strong, and free.”

So far this quarter, Cheney has transferred $150,000 of the money she has raised to the coffers of the National Republican Congressional Committee — which finances Republican candidates in tightly competitive races across the country. Other significant expenditures include nearly $40,000 in expenses to Arlington-based media consulting firm Targeted Victory — whose client list has included the likes of Facebook, two presidential campaigns and 18 Senate candidates, according to its website — and the Townsend Group, a prominent fundraiser in Washington. There were also nearly $10,000 in expenses apparently associated to a Beverly Hills fundraiser, with expenses going toward lodging, catering and printing expenses.

Cheney has also raised some funding through a leadership PAC she founded — known as Cowboy PAC — to the tune of $11,500 this quarter. The PAC was particularly active in 2017 and 2018, raising more than $132,000 primarily through contributions from other PACs representing a multitude of interests. The group has had significant help in recent months, with a number of prominent lobbyists dating back to the administration of George W. Bush helping to facilitate contributions.

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Follow politics reporter Nick Reynolds on Twitter @IAmNickReynolds

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Politics Reporter

Nick Reynolds covers state politics and policy. A native of Central New York, he has spent his career covering governments big and small, and several Congressional campaigns. He graduated from the State University of New York at Brockport in 2015.

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