Liz Cheney’s Latest Fans: Democratic Donors & More News


WASHINGTON — As one of many nation’s greatest Democratic donors, the movie producer Jeffrey Katzenberg helped make Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton into Hollywood darlings. But this yr, he’s backing a shock candidate: Representative Liz Cheney, the staunchly conservative Wyoming Republican.

“We agree on little, if anything,” Mr. Katzenberg mentioned in an interview. “But she has done something that very, very few people in history have done, which is she’s put her country over party and politics to stand in defense of our Constitution.”

He was referring to Ms. Cheney’s management function on the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the Capitol and her condemnation of former President Donald J. Trump, whom she has known as “a domestic threat that we have never faced before.”

To assist Ms. Cheney bolster her possibilities in Wyoming’s upcoming Republican main — she is dealing with a Trump-backed opponent — Mr. Katzenberg and his spouse have donated greater than $43,000 to her marketing campaign and teams supporting her.

Mr. Katzenberg mentioned his contributions went past that sum however declined to offer additional particulars, saying solely that he was speaking up Ms. Cheney, the vice chairwoman of the Jan. 6 committee, to “anybody and everybody that will listen to me, with any party affiliation.”

Mr. Katzenberg is one among numerous Democrats and independents who’re crossing ideological traces to assist Ms. Cheney, who has grow to be a pariah in her personal occasion for her break with Mr. Trump over Jan. 6 and her criticism of the House Republican management.

A supporter of Mr. Trump for nearly the whole thing of his time period, Ms. Cheney — who opposes abortion, helps conservative judges and needs to increase mining and vitality drilling even in environmentally delicate areas — voted consistent with him 93 p.c of the time, in keeping with FiveThirtyEight.

Most Democratic donors are profoundly out of step with Ms. Cheney on these points and others. But the Democrats supporting her say they’ve been impressed by her braveness in opposing the previous president — whom she voted to question after the Jan. 6 assault — and standing up for the peaceable switch of energy.

“Cheney is the most important politician in America right now,” mentioned Dmitri Mehlhorn, a political strategist who advises the LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, a serious Democratic donor whom Mr. Mehlhorn mentioned had quietly begun supporting Ms. Cheney.

The billionaire hedge fund supervisor Seth Klarman, an unbiased with liberal views on social insurance policies who has given to Ms. Cheney’s marketing campaign in latest months, mentioned in an e mail to potential donors that the congresswoman was “perhaps the strongest voice in the Republican Party speaking out about the importance of upholding the Constitution.”

Ms. Cheney is one among only a few politicians to whom Jane Fraser, a registered Democrat who’s the chief government of Citigroup, has given straight throughout this election cycle. A spokesman for Ms. Fraser declined to remark. Citigroup was the primary main financial institution to supply workers paid journey to obtain abortion companies this yr.

Yet it’s going to take greater than cash to salvage Ms. Cheney’s precarious place in Wyoming, and the inflow of assist from high-profile Democratic donors doesn’t essentially assist her politically in her state.

Polling means that she got here into the summer season trailing Harriet Hageman, her rival within the Republican main, which will likely be held on Aug. 16. Last month, Ms. Cheney’s marketing campaign despatched mailers to registered Democrats with directions on change events forward of the first — a transfer that will enable them to vote for her.

Ms. Cheney had beforehand mentioned she wouldn’t take such a step, and it’s unclear how profitable the gambit will likely be in a state the place the variety of registered Republicans dwarfs that of Democrats.

Ms. Cheney, who was ousted final yr from her management put up because the No. 3 House Republican, could also be trying past this race. She has refused to rule out a presidential marketing campaign in 2024, throughout which she may use a number of the funds that she has already raised.

Even as Ms. Cheney faces an uphill battle in her congressional race, the Jan. 6 hearings have given her a political lifeline for the longer term — and, if she loses her main, one thing to level to as an evidence for her defeat. A spokesman for Ms. Cheney declined to touch upon her standing within the race or her crossover donors.

Ms. Cheney’s re-election marketing campaign raised greater than $10 million by means of the tip of March, considerably greater than Ms. Hageman. Some of these donations got here from veterans of Republican administrations like Michael Chertoff, who was homeland safety secretary beneath President George W. Bush, and Theodore B. Olson, who was solicitor basic for Mr. Bush and in addition labored for President Ronald Reagan.

Mr. Chertoff and Mr. Olson co-hosted a fund-raiser this yr for Ms. Cheney with Bobbie Kilberg, who was a White House aide beneath Presidents Richard M. Nixon, Gerald R. Ford and George H.W. Bush, at a Northern Virginia lodge.

But Democratic {dollars} have been trickling in to Ms. Cheney as nicely. Her criticism of fellow Republicans who went together with Mr. Trump’s election lies and her questioning of witnesses like the previous White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson have additional raised her nationwide profile.

Mr. Klarman, who runs the Baupost Group, a Boston-based hedge fund, is holding a digital reception for Ms. Cheney on Tuesday, the identical day that the Jan. 6 committee will maintain its subsequent listening to.

“I strongly support Congresswoman Cheney’s bid for re-election, as we share a deep commitment to protecting American democracy and the rule of law,” Mr. Klarman wrote in an emailed invitation to the occasion. He added: “I’m resolved to do everything possible to send a strong message by keeping her in Congress. We need to stand behind Liz and send a rebuke to the most extreme factions in the Republican Party.”

In a press release, Mr. Klarman acknowledged his coverage variations with Ms. Cheney, given his liberal-leaning views on abortion entry, gun management and voting rights measures. “If we don’t save democracy, everything else goes to hell,” he mentioned.

Mr. Mehlhorn, who advises Mr. Hoffman and different anti-Trump donors of all political stripes, shared an analogous rationale for supporting Ms. Cheney.

“Liz Cheney is our enemy, so to speak, on every other issue,” he mentioned. “But on this issue she is so aligned with us.”

“Our theory is that if that is the dividing line — that all politics is about if you’re for the peaceful transfer of power or not — the governing coalition will be the peaceful transfer of power coalition,” Mr. Mehlhorn added. “And if you want that, you rally around Liz Cheney, who is making it the most important issue personally.”

Mr. Hoffman has given to Ms. Cheney’s marketing campaign, in keeping with marketing campaign finance data. He has additionally given to teams supporting her, Mr. Mehlhorn mentioned, such because the Republican Accountability Project, which helps Republican members of Congress who known as out Mr. Trump’s election lies and opposes those that countenanced them.

“Liz Cheney demonstrates incredible integrity, standing for America,” Mr. Hoffman mentioned in a press release.

Smaller-dollar donors have additionally been drawn to Ms. Cheney.

Khanh Nguyen, a Silicon Valley engineer who has given repeatedly to California Democrats like Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Representative Adam B. Schiff, describes himself as a centrist with a smattering of liberal-leaning viewpoints. But as an immigrant from Vietnam, the place he recalled violence and strongman politics because the norm, he mentioned he was appalled by the occasions of Jan. 6.

“It was shocking to me that only 10 Republicans voted to impeach Trump for Jan. 6,” Mr. Nguyen mentioned. He has donated to Ms. Cheney, he mentioned, as a result of “I want to give her all the tools she needs to win.”

“She’s one of the very few voices that speak out against Trump, speak out for democracy and actually have a chance to influence the party — the Republican Party — in a better direction,” he mentioned.

Vint Cerf, a longtime Democrat and an government at Google, mentioned mates who disagree with Ms. Cheney on coverage issues had chided him for giving cash to her marketing campaign. But his $2,900 donation to her re-election bid was a present of gratitude greater than something, he mentioned.

“As I looked at what Liz Cheney did, which was brave in the face of enormous pressure from others in her party, to stand up to them and say, ‘No, this is wrong,’ I was impressed enough by that to say, ‘You know what? She deserves support for that,’” he recalled.

Kenneth P. Vogel contributed reporting.


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