Minnesotans have donated more than $280,000 to the campaign of Wyoming Republican U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney, who was fighting for her political survival Tuesday in a heated primary race against a Trump-backed opponent.
Minnesota donations for the three-term Republican — ranging from $5 to $5,800 — have poured in over the past two years from both Republicans and Democrats, business owners, companies big and small, and Native American tribes.
Cheney voted to impeach Donald Trump after the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol and has taken a lead role in the select committee in Washington investigating the president's role in what happened that day. Her opposition to Trump has put her in a precarious position with her own party, and she lost her primary Tuesday to Harriet Hageman, an attorney endorsed by Trump.
But her party-bucking positions have risen her profile nationally, helping her raise an unusually high $15 million in her race for re-election.
"A lot of the other people who stood up to him didn't even run," said former Hormel Foods CEO Jeff Ettinger, who donated $1,000 to Cheney's primary effort in November 2021. "They just kind of gave in basically, and so I admired that she was willing to take on the race and proceed and see what the voters had to say."
Ettinger, a Democratic candidate for southern Minnesota's First District in Congress, said, "I just felt that she deserved some support for the fact that she stood up to [Trump]."
Diane Hofstede, a former DFL Minneapolis City Council member, has watched much of the Jan. 6 committee hearings and describes Cheney as a "breath of fresh air." She gave her $2,500.
"Although I don't agree with everything she stands for and supports — nor do I agree with everything the Democrats and independents stand for and support — I think her leadership has been outstanding," said Hofstede. "I want to support people who are willing to support the Constitution and support freedom of speech, but not to the extent of trying to take over our government, which is exactly what we saw on Jan. 6."
More than 60 Minnesotans gave individual contributions of $1,000 or more, while more than 220 gave between $5 and $800 to her campaign. The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community donated to Cheney, as did Minnesota companies such as Best Buy and American Crystal Sugar. Several members of the prominent Pohlad family donated to her campaign.
Minnesotans have donated less than $15,000 to Hageman, which included a $5,800 donation from Martin Davis, the CEO of Cambria. Davis hosted a private fundraiser in Minnesota for Trump during the 2020 campaign.
Cheney, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, has risen in popularity with Democrats as her approval rating among Republicans has tanked. In the recent NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll, Cheney had a 60% favorability rating with Democrats, but only 13% of Republicans approved of her.
Minnesota DFL U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips recently took to Twitter to encourage Democrats and independents in Wyoming to temporarily switch parties in the primary election to vote for Cheney. Phillips, who has openly blamed other Republicans for the attack on the Capitol, said no one has shown more "honor and integrity" than Cheney.
"It's far more important than any policy differences we might have," Phillips said, adding that a vote for Cheney will be "sending a very clear message to Donald Trump, and protecting our democracy."
Staff writers Hunter Woodall and Jessie Van Berkel contributed to this report.