Trauner leads in funds for U.S. House race
Candidates differ on spending, race strategies.
By Noah Brenner, Jackson Hole, Wyo.
July 16, 2008
Democratic U.S. House hopeful Gary Trauner surged ahead of his potential Republican opponents in the last three months, raising about $318,000 and amassing $701,000 in campaign funds.
Trauner, a Wilson businessman, is vying for the seat for the second time in a row and running unopposed in the primary.
“As long as I have enough money to get my message out to all people in the state of Wyoming I will be happy,” Trauner said in a phone interview. “That is the only reason I fundraise.”
Republican candidates Cynthia Lummis and Mark Gordon improved on their first-quarter fundraising totals. Lummis raised $199,000 in the second quarter, compared to $168,000 in the first quarter. In the first quarter, she contributed about $67,000 to her own campaign while she made only nominal contributions to herself in the latest reporting period.
Gordon raised $416,000 in the second quarter, compared to $412,000 in the first quarter. In both periods, Gordon was the biggest contributor to his own campaign, donating $297,000 in the first quarter and $349,999 in the second.
Though Gordon’s campaign has taken in significantly more cash than Lummis, it has also spent significantly more. Much of the money has gone into advertising campaigns aimed at boosting the name recognition of the political newcomer from Buffalo. Gordon has about $69,000 on hand.
“It is going to be a tough race going up against someone like Cynthia Lummis, who has made a career doing this,” Gordon’s Press Secretary Renny Mackay said. “This is an investment from Mark in something he really believes in, and he is willing to continue to make that investment to make sure the people of this state have choice between someone with practical experience in life and someone who has been a career politician.”
Lummis, meanwhile, who was already well-known around the state as a state legislator and state treasurer, has reserved her funds for the days leading up to the Aug. 19 primary. Lummis has $247,000 cash on hand.
“I do believe voters pay more attention at the end,” she said in a telephone interview. “So many people were focused on the presidential race, and I believe they needed a mental break from political message. I think now they are beginning to focus on [the House race].”
Lummis said she was not concerned that Gordon was drawing so heavily on his own funds.
“All along I have said I will be outspent but will not be outcampaigned, and I believe that is exactly what has been happening,” Lummis said.
Trauner, meanwhile, has run a more low-key campaign, spending some of his money on radio ads and making appearances across the state.
“When the time is right, we will make sure our message is out in state of Wyoming,” he said. “At this point in time, we don’t even know who I am running against.”
Despite financial advantage over both Republicans, Trauner said he was ambivalent about his success because he doesn’t agree with the inordinately large role of money in politics.
“If I didn’t have to raise money I wouldn’t be,” he said. “Frankly, we have a system that promotes perceived bribery and that needs to be changed.”
Republican candidate Bill Winney of Bondurant had not filed his federal financial report at press time and could not be reached for comment. Winney raised about $5,500 in the first quarter.