Jul 21, 2015

Ben Carson early presidential favorite among Wyoming donors

While many Wyomingites have yet to even start thinking about the 2016 presidential election, some have already opened their checkbooks.

In the very early goings of the campaign, Wyoming’s political donors are showing a preference for Republican candidate Ben Carson, a former neurosurgeon and a political newcomer.

Ben Carson, speaking at CPAC in early 2015. Photo by Gage Skidmore under CC BY-SA 2.0
Carson has raised $26,435 from around the state so far, according to campaign finance data released by the Federal Elections Commission last week.

Following Carson in donations was U.S. Senator Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, with $14,412 and Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, with $14,120 from the Equality State.

After those three Republicans came former Secretary of Sta
te Hillary Clinton, the leading Democrat, who has raised $9,226 here.

Carson’s donations came from all over the state, including $250 from a supporter in Cody and $200 from a Powell backer. However, the top local fundraiser so far is Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas.

Cruz has already raised $2,825 from Park County, with $2,800 from a pair of Meeteetse residents, campaign finance reports show.

Presidential candidates' fundraising through June 30. Red denotes Republicans, blue denotes Democrats.
Wyomingites have chipped in a total of $86,111 to the 11 presidential candidates who’ve raised more than $100,000. The Cowboy State’s contributions are a mere fraction of the $125.4 million donated to the contenders across the nation.

The financial picture is likely to change over the coming year as a whole lot more money pours into candidates’ coffers; some prominent candidates only recently announced their runs.

Federal Election Commission records show Wyomingites gave more than $3.5 million to presidential candidates during the 2012 campaign cycle. The vast, $2.5 million majority went to Republican nominee Mitt Romney. Nationally, more than $1.32 billion was raised by the last batch of candidates.

While political contributions are one way to measure a candidate's appeal, they’re not always an accurate predictor of success. For example, billionaire Donald Trump — a Republican candidate and the leader of some national polls — has generally been financing his own campaign.

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