Candidates backed by Trump in his impeachment revenge plan are raising less money than their targets, report says

Former president backing candidates to unseat GOP lawmakers who voted to impeach and convict him

Oliver O'Connell
New York
Saturday 16 October 2021 17:47
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Related Video: Trump impeached for second time in historic vote

Donald Trump’s impeachment revenge plan to help unseat Republicans who voted to convict him at the start of the year may not be on track.

Four candidates backed by the former president have raised less money for their campaigns than the lawmakers they are set to challenge, according to disclosures filed on Friday with the Federal Election Commission.

Republicans are determined to regain control of Congress in the 2022 mid-term elections and post-presidency Mr Trump remains a huge influence among much of the party’s base.

Only a small number of Republicans joined Democrats in impeaching Mr Trump on the charge he incited the violent insurrection at the US Capitol on 6 January.

The subsequent Senate vote to convict him was unsuccessful and the former president quickly rounded on the Republicans who went against him, calling them “disloyal” and “losers”.

Several have since said that they will retire or not seek re-election, bowing out in the face of scorn from party members and supporters.

However, those who are sticking it out and facing down Trump-backed candidates who are trying to unseat them via party nomination contests are finding they have the financial edge, having so far raised more money than their challengers.

The most prominent and vocal critic of the former president, Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming, is regarded to be in great danger of losing her seat because of her vote to impeach, along with nine of her colleagues. However, between July and September, she raised $1.7m.

Her Trump-endorsed opponent, attorney Harriet Hageman, only entered the race in early September, raising approximately $300,000 in that month.

Ms Cheney drew donations from a number of Wall Street executives  — one of the traditional sources of party donations — including Blackstone Chief Investment Officer Prakash Melwani. Ms Hageman received a donation from billionaire venture capitalist Peter Thiel.

In the Senate, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, a moderate and one of just seven Republicans who voted to convict the former president in the Senate, raised $1.1m between July and September.

That is more than twice the $466,000 raised by her Republican challenger Kelly Tshibaka, a former state administration commissioner endorsed by Mr Trump.

Ms Murkowski ended September with $3.2m in the bank, more than 10 times what Ms Tshibaka had collected.

FEC records show that the Alaskan senator raked in money from corporate-run donor committees.

Ms Murkowski also raised more than $75,000 through a joint fundraising effort with several senators endorsed by Mr Trump, including Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, who voted against convicting him and has therefore not been subject to the former president’s ire.

Mr Trump has also endorsed opponents to Representatives Fred Upton of Michigan and Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington state, who both voted to impeach him.

Mr Upton raised $293,000 between July and September, more than twice the $116,000 raised by his Trump-endorsed challenger, state lawmaker Steve Carra.

Ms Herrera Beutler not only voted to impeach Mr Trump but also submitted evidence in his Senate trial. She brought in $524,000 in donations during the three-month period, outraising Trump-backed Army veteran Joe Kent, who raised $452,000.

The former president also endorsed Max Miller, who was an aide during his time at the White House. He is challenging Representative Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio, but in September he announced that he would not seek re-election.

Mr Miller’s disclosure form filed on Friday showed his campaign raised a robust $695,000 — though most of that came from a half-million-dollar contribution he made to his own campaign.

Mr Gonzalez is one of 19 members of the House not seeking re-election in the 2022 midterms. Most recently Democrat Karen Bass said she is dropping out to run to be mayor of Los Angeles, and John Yarmuth of Kentucky, also a Democrat, announced his retirement on Tuesday.

With reporting from Reuters

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