By Leo Wolfson, political reporter
U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney has released her first set of TV and radio commercials of the 2022 primary campaign, featuring a who’s-who list of prominent figures in Wyoming politics who support her reelection bid.
Although she doesn’t provide the last name of any of these on-camera speakers, Rod Miller, longtime policy advisor to two former Wyoming governors and now a Cowboy State Daily political columnist, said she doesn’t have to.
“The people she is trying to reach recognize these guys,” he said, describing the traditional Republicans that make up Cheney’s base. Miller said if there’s enough of these people left in Wyoming, Cheney will likely win the election.
Of the 10 people in Cheney’s first spot which was released on Thursday, Rita Meyer may be most recognizable by a statewide audience. Meyer served as the State Auditor from 2007 – 2011 and was narrowly defeated in the 2012 Republican gubernatorial primary.
Meyer, a veteran, was a staple of Republican politics for years serving in many capacities including chief of staff for former Republican Governor Jim Geringer.
Two national figures appear in the commercial including Teton County’s John Turner, former president of the Wyoming Senate and head of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service under President George H.W. Bush, and Phillip Ellis, a Chugwater rancher who was the president of the National Cattleman’s Beef Association.
Ellis said Cheney “stands up for farmers and ranchers against crippling regulation” while Turner endorsed her conservation credentials.
“She knows that we need to protect and conserve the special things about Wyoming: our working ranches, our open space, our rivers and streams,” Turner said.
Going back in time even further than Turner is Jack Speight. Speight’s GOP credentials are unrivaled serving as chairman of the Wyoming Republican Party and chief of staff to Wyoming Gov. Stan Hathaway among many other duties.
“Cheney has the courage to do the right thing to stand up to bullies,” he said.
Ronna Boril, a prominent Casper real estate agent, also made an appearance.
“So many people today claim to be a ‘constitutional conservative.’ Liz truly is one,” Boril said, using air parentheses to make her point.
Cheney’s opponent, Harriet Hageman, has referred to herself as a “constitutional conservative” numerous times during her campaign.
Shane True, a petroleum geologist from Casper, spoke to Cheney’s support for the oil and gas industries.
Alexandra Jajonie, a Jackson resident, begins and ends the guest part of the commercial. Jajonie was a personal assistant to Cheney’s father, former Vice President Dick Cheney, and Liz Cheney from 2009-2014.
Although other groups like Donald Trump Jr.’s Wyoming Values super political action committee have run TV ads on behalf of Cheney opponent Harriet Hageman, the candidate has only released her own commercials online. Wyoming Values, a super PAC set up on behalf of Hageman, has raised $706,000 with a $300,000 donation from Lynn Freiss, widow of former gubernatorial candidate Foster Friess.
Cheney’s campaign has outraised Hageman’s by nearly $8 million so far. Hageman’s campaign will likely get a big bump from the rally hosted by former President Donald Trump on her behalf last Saturday.
Hageman has raised $2.06 million and spent around $1 million on her campaign, according to Federal Election Commission records.
Hageman has more than twice the amount from individual Wyoming contributions as Cheney, $543,094 compared to Cheney’s $255,336.
Hageman’s biggest contributor has been $15,822 from the House Freedom Fund, a Washington, D.C. based political action committee led by U.S. James Jordan (R-Ohio).
Great Task PAC, a Cheyenne-based political action committee formed to support Cheney’s third re-election bid, made the largest single donation to Cheney’s campaign at $296,835.
Hageman’s Cheyenne-based PAC, the Hageman Victory Fund, has raised $51,200.
The new filing reports will come out after July 15.