Liz Cheney raises $1.5 million amid battle with Matt Gaetz and other Trump defenders
Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming (AFP)

Rep. Liz Cheney raised $1.54 million for next year's reelection campaign during the first quarter of 2021 as she fended off calls to step down from Republican party leadership over her vote to impeach Donald Trump during the final days of his presidency.

Originally published by The 19th

The Wyoming lawmaker's first-quarter fundraising is a five-fold increase over the amount her campaign raised during the first quarter of 2019, the last off year in which she did not face reelection. More than $1 million of it came from individual donors, her campaign said.

Cheney has held Wyoming's sole U.S. House of Representatives seat since 2017. In the last full quarter before Cheney's reelection in November, which she won with nearly 70 percent of the vote, her campaign raised about $443,000, according to campaign finance filings.

“Liz Cheney raised more money this quarter than ever before for a simple reason: People are responding to her effective, principled leadership," said Kevin Seifer, Cheney's political adviser.

The first months of Cheney's third term turned politically tumultuous after she said Trump “assembled the mob" that orchestrated the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, then voted to impeach the outgoing president. Trump was subsequently acquitted by the Senate, which was then under Democratic control.

Cheney was one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach. She is the highest-ranking GOP woman in the House, the only woman in her party's leadership and the only member of Republican leadership to cast a vote for impeachment.

In reprisal for Cheney's vote, the Wyoming Republican Party decided overwhelmingly to censure her; two state lawmakers announced they would challenge her in next year's primary; Trump-allied colleagues such as Rep. Matt Gaetz flew to Wyoming to campaign for her defeat; and a group of conservative House lawmakers launched a failed effort to oust her from leadership. She retained her post after a 145-to-61 party vote done by secret ballot.

“She resoundingly won the support of the House Conference in February and she will continue to generate support from those who are concerned with the future of the Republican Party," Seifer said.

“The people of Wyoming deserve a representative who is principled and unwilling to buckle when the going gets tough," he added.

Political strategist Sarah Longwell, who is part of the Republican Accountability Project, which has pledged $50 million to defend lawmakers who backed Trump's impeachment, said Cheney's fundraising haul amidst the tumult signals continued support for the lawmaker.

“I think there are a lot of old-school Republicans who appreciate her principled stand against Trump after his incitement of the attack on the Capitol and wanted to send a message that she continues to have serious support, despite silly stunts like being censured by the local GOP or Matt Gaetz's visit to Wyoming," Longwell said.