By Leo Wolfson, State Politics Reporter
Campaign finance reports for the 2022 general election filed Tuesday show candidates for the Wyoming Legislature set numerous records for raising and spending money.
Republican Paul Vogelheim of Jackson, running for House District 23, led the state in money raised. Including his primary run, Vogelheim raised $111,129 over his 2022 campaign, the most raised by a legislative candidate in Wyoming history.
Vogelheim had a massive primary campaign, raising $71,566 for that effort. He did not report most of those campaign expenses until Monday night.
Vogelheim’s earnings far outpaced the previous record set by state Sen. Affie Ellis, R-Cheyenne, in 2020, who raised $81,345 that year.
High-Priced House Race
Sitting behind Vogelheim in campaign money reported is his opponent, Democrat Liz Storer, who reported $69,620. This is the most money ever raised by a Democratic state House candidate in Wyoming. Storer said all but $2,201 of her campaign funding came from sources other than herself.
Storer and Vogelheim have engaged in a back-and-forth spat in recent weeks regarding a $10,000 campaign donation Vogelheim received from his mother-in-law.
In a close third for money raised was Bob Ide, a state Senate candidate from Casper who won his primary election and is running unopposed in the general election. Ide raised $69,224, nearly all during his primary campaign.
Sen. Drew Perkins, R-Casper, who lost to Ide in the primary election, raised $58,850
Driskill’s Strong Primary
Sen. Ogden Driskill, R-Devils Tower, who won the Republican primary and faces a write-in candidate Roger Connett in Senate District 1, raised $56,550 during his campaign, $43,300 of the total during the primary season.
Driskill has expressed frustration in recent weeks that the Crook County GOP neither endorsed him nor gave him campaign funding. He did not make a request to the Weston County Republican Party for support, but did receive support from the Campbell County Republican Party.
If Driskill is reelected, he is likely in line to be the next Senate president.
The Roger is Right campaign raised $9,124 on Connett’s behalf during the general election season. This comes in addition to the $21,250 Connett raised during the primary campaign.
Democratic Senate candidates Ted Hanlon ($47,063) and Marcie Kindred ($38,874) also raised significant sums. Republican Sarah Penn, who is running against Rep. Andi LeBeau, D-Riverton, in House District 33, raised $35,345.
• Vogelheim also spent the most in the state at $73,216. Behind him is Storer at $68,074. Both also now represent the two most expensive House campaigns in Wyoming history.
• Ide spent the most of any Senate candidate in 2022, disbursing $58,463. Driskill was second with $50,411 spent.
• Kindred spent $37,343 during her campaign, while her opponent, Sen. Stephan Pappas, R-Cheyenne, spent less than half at $13,526.
• Hanlon spent $34,714, while opponent Lynn Hutchings, R-Cheyenne, spent a fraction of that at $4,801.
PACS Got Busy
Political action committees were very busy in Wyoming during the primary season, but most were quieter during the general campaign.
The WY Realtors PAC spent $214,950 during the campaign season, $102,500 which came after the primary election. This PAC spent money on behalf of and gave directly to Republican candidates – and a handful of Democrats – throughout the state, with donations ranging from $500 to $5,000 each.
The Wyoming Hope PAC spent $155,000 during the general election season alone. The largest of its expenditures came through an $85,000 contribution Aug. 22 to Republican Megan Degenfelder in her campaign for superintendent of public instruction. This was the largest donation given to any non-federal campaign in Wyoming by a significant margin in 2022. It’s also the largest donation made to a superintendent of public instruction candidate in state history.
This PAC also gave $5,000 each to a slate of eight Republican Legislature candidates and $30,000 to the Sweetwater County Republican Party.
The Wayback PAC was active in supporting Democratic candidates. This Sheridan-based PAC gave $5,000 each to Kindred, Hanlon and LeBeau.
The only remaining contested races for statewide positions are for governor and superintendent of public instruction.
Gov. Mark Gordon received $118,650 during the general election season and spent $111,324. He received $46,500 in PAC money.
His Democratic opponent, Theresa Livingston, received $1,628 during the general election season for a total of $3,330 in campaign support including the primary.
Libertarian candidate Jared Baldes reported neither receiving nor spending any money during the campaign.
In the superintendent of public instruction race, Degenfelder has received $389,956. She got $129,700 during the general election season and spent $127,065 after the primary election in her race against Democrat Sergio Maldonado.
Maldonado received $6,150 during the general election season and has been given $12,455 overall during the 2022 campaign. He spent $12,683 during the general election against Degenfelder.