- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 13, 2014

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - Incumbent Gov. Matt Mead has a substantial fundraising lead over his two Republican challengers, new financial reports show.

Mead’s campaign filed a report showing total contributions of $413,000 in his re-election campaign. Of that, over $323,000 is from individual donors while the rest is mainly from political action committees.

“There are more than 890 individual donors statewide, it’s just fantastic support,” Gale Geringer, Mead’s campaign manager, said Wednesday.

Mead’s contributions included nearly $90,000 from PACs. Much of these contributions were from coal companies and other energy interests.

Mead has fought the federal government over its proposals to enact air-quality standards that industry says will hurt the coal industry in Wyoming, the nation’s leading coal-producing state.

“I think first of all, the thing that people always have to remember about PACs - the teachers’ PAC, the stock growers’ PAC - that money comes from people throughout the state, throughout the countryside,” Geringer said. “And that’s the way a PAC accumulates its money. Then they support candidates that support their position.”

Dr. Taylor Haynes reported $164,000 in contributions. That figure included $116,000 from individuals and over $27,000 in various contributions from Haynes himself.

Shirley Tidwell of Cody, treasurer for the Haynes campaign, said Wednesday she believes the campaign has been very effect with the money it’s raised.

“We really ran a grass-roots campaign, and I think the people of Wyoming are going to stand behind us. We had a lot of foot soldiers out there,” Tidwell said.

“I just think that they’re tired of the way things used to be,” Tidwell said of Wyoming voters. “I think that they’re standing behind the candidate that believes in the Constitution and the Bible. It really came down to going to the small towns and getting the people behind him, as opposed to buying his way through the campaign.”

Cindy Hill, the incumbent Wyoming superintendent of public instruction, came in last among the Republican candidates. She reported nearly $114,000 in total contributions, of which over $72,000 was in loans and donations from herself and her immediate family. Hill reported just under $21,000 in individual contributions.

Hill said Wednesday she’s hadn’t reviewed the other candidates’ reports in detail.

“I’ve only had a cursory look, so I’m just going to give you a generalized view,” Hill said. “I think it shows who are relying on a relationship with the government have contributed to the governor here, including PACs, lobbyists, and higher-paid state employees.”

Hill said she hasn’t spent time fundraising. “It’s a peoples’ campaign, it’s not about PACs and special interests,” she said.

Asked about her heavy personal bankrolling of her campaign, Hill said, “I think you always have to contribute first. Don’t ask anybody to do anything you wouldn’t do.”

Democrat Pete Gosar is unopposed in the primary. He reported $56,000 in total contributions, including $20,000 he put into the campaign himself.

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