Enzi gets a little help from his friends, past and present

November 5, 2013

U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi visits with Staff Sgt. Eric Grish and other members of the Wyoming Air National Guard before a Wyoming vs. Colorado State NCAA college football game  Oct. 19 in Laramie. (Laramie Boomerang, Jeremy Martin/AP)

Republican senators take notice when one of their own gets a serious primary challenge. That’s the lesson to learn from Sen. Mike Enzi’s (R-Wyo.) recent campaign finance report, which is chock full of contributions from Enzi’s Senate colleagues, both past and present.

Enzi collected more than $150,000 from fellow senators between July 1 and Sept. 30, according to the report filed with the Federal Election Commission. That was about one-sixth of the $847,646 Enzi took in during the third quarter of the year. This year, Enzi has collected $207,500 from his colleagues.

A total of 29 sitting senators gave to the Wyoming Republican through their political action committees, the report shows. Those senators run the gamut from leadership to back-benchers, from moderates to conservatives and from old bulls and young pups.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell wrote two $5,000 checks; Sens. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) gave $5,000 apiece. So did Sens. Dan Coats (R-Ind.), Dean Heller (R-Nev.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Thad Cochran (R-Miss.). Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.), John Thune (R-S.D.) and Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) all kicked in $10,000 total.

Enzi’s rival in next year’s Republican primary, Liz Cheney, has criticized the senator for taking money from “liberal” Republicans like McCain. She didn’t bother to mention Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), whose Reinventing a New Direction PAC gave Enzi $5,000 on Sept. 30, or Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), whose Citizens for Prosperity in America Today PAC chipped in $10,000 in two $5,000 increments.

Enzi also got contributions from former colleagues Kit Bond (R-Mo.), Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), Dick Lugar (R-Ind.) and George Voinovich (R-Ohio). Maybe those four formed a bond with Enzi over their experiences as executives: Bond, Gregg and Voinovich all served as governors, while Lugar and Enzi were mayors before coming to the Senate.

About 230 of the 900 contributions Enzi received in the last quarter came from political action committees, including $4,950 from the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action and $5,000 from a PAC operated by the Office of the Commissioner of Major League Baseball. Republican mega-donors Philip and Nancy Anschultz donated $5,200.

Cheney has gotten the bulk of her money, a little over $1 million raised so far, from individual donors. She took one $500 check from One Nation PAC, a conservative group based in Palm Desert, Calif., that gave about $10,000 to Republican candidates last cycle. Cheney also fronted about $33,800 in start-up expenses as she kicked off her campaign. About a quarter of her total contributions came from Wyoming.

Senators whose PACs contributed to Enzi’s campaign:

Leadership PAC Affiliated Senator Amount Given
Bluegrass Committee McConnell $10,000
Common Values PAC Barrasso $10,000
Fund for a Conservative Future Inhofe $10,000
Fund for America’s Future Graham $5,000
OrrinPAC Hatch $10,000
Responsibility and Freedom Work PAC Wicker $7,500
Tallatchee Creek PAC Sessions $5,000
Hawkeye PAC Grassley $5,000
Denali Leadership PAC Murkowski $6,000
21st Century Majority Fund Isakson $5,000
Alamo PAC Cornyn $5,000
ARKPAC Boozman $5,000
Citizens for Prosperity in America Today Toomey $10,000
COATS PAC Coats $5,000
Country First PAC McCain $10,000
Free State PAC Moran $5,000
Freedom Fund Crapo $10,000
Georgians for Isakson Isakson $1,000
Heartland Values PAC Thune $10,000
Hellerhighwater PAC Heller $5,000
KELLYPAC Ayotte $5,000
Louisiana Reform PAC Vitter $2,500
Next Century Fund Burr $5,000
RAND PAC Paul $5,000
Rely on Your Beliefs Fund Blunt $5,000
Republican Majority Fund Chambliss $5,000
Rock City PAC Corker $5,000
Senate Victory Fund Cochran $5,000
Strategy PAC Johnson $5,000
TENN PAC Alexander $10,000

Former senators who have donated to Enzi’s cause:

Leadership PAC Former Senator Amount Given
KitPAC Bond $5,000
Ohio USA PAC Voinovich $5,000
White Mountain PAC Gregg $3,000
19th Star PAC Lugar $2,500

 

Reid Wilson covers state politics and policy for the Washington Post's GovBeat blog. He's a former editor in chief of The Hotline, the premier tip sheet on campaigns and elections, and he's a complete political junkie.
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