Oct 16, 2013 - The Associated PressCHEYENNE -- Liz Cheney is bringing in big money already, but Mike Enzi has plenty of fundraising power of his own as he tries to fend off his intra-party challenger and win a fourth term.
Cheney announced Tuesday that she's raised just over $1 million in her bid to unseat U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi next year. Cheney launched her campaign in July, giving her more than a year to raise money and campaign before she takes on Enzi in the August 2014 Republican primary.
Enzi's campaign, meanwhile, reported raising about $850,000 over the quarter and having $1.2 million on hand.
Analysts have predicted the race will be the most expensive primary the state has ever. An outside political action committee with its own funding unrelated to Enzi's already has been running an attack ad against Cheney on Wyoming television.
"My focus remains the same as always -- on solving problems and making things better for the people of Wyoming," Enzi said in a news release Tuesday.
If post-announcement enthusiasm holds, the race could shape up to be the costliest in Wyoming history. Enzi raised $3.4 million and spent $3.1 million leading up to his 2008 re-election -- typical for a federal race in the least populated state.
The federal government shutdown prevented verification of either campaign's third-quarter fundraising figure. Third-quarter reports were due to the Federal Election Commission on Tuesday, but most FEC employees have been furloughed and the FEC isn't updating its online records.
Nearly 2,000 people have contributed to Cheney's campaign and donations have come from every Wyoming county and every state, she wrote in a donor thank-you note.
"Let's keep the momentum building as we seize this moment and send a message to the Washington establishment," the note said. "They need to know that the conservative movement is strong and the principles of freedom are on the rise again."
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