After her defeat Tuesday night, Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., was being mentioned for a presidential bid in 2024 — either as a Republican or as the standard-bearer of the new Forward Party formed by such "Never Trump" Republicans as former Florida Rep. David Jolly and former New Jersey Gov. Christy Todd Whitman.
"It's something I'm thinking about," Cheney said during a television interview Wednesday morning, having said earlier she would "do whatever it takes to keep Donald Trump out of the Oval Office."
In becoming the first Wyoming U.S. Representative to be denied renomination since fellow Republican William Henry Harrison in 1968, Cheney was lost by a devastating margin of 66.6% to 28.7% to Trump-backed challenger Harriet Hageman.
But in losing, Cheney set a record as the top fundraiser of any U.S. House candidate in history, with $15,077,985 raised by July 27 and nearly half of that spent ($7,757,583). Final figures will be available much later, but it's likely the three-term congresswoman will have several million left over, more than enough to start a presidential exploratory committee next year.
"What's interesting to me," Dan Eberhardt, longtime Republican contributor and fundraiser told Newsmax on Wednesday, "is why Liz Cheney spent half of her funds on her race. She should have preserved the entire war chest for some other battle."
More interesting than the amount Cheney amassed is where the money came from. According to The Wyoming Truth, "California, Texas, Florida, New York, and Virginia [were] contributing the most to her campaign as of the end of last year, FEC [Federal Election Commission] data shows.
"Residents from California donated the most to her campaign, with $604,000 in contributions, while Wyoming residents contributed only about a third as much, $202,360."
Cheney also had an unusually strong base in Texas. Former President George W. Bush gave the maximum legal amount from his political action committee to the daughter of his onetime vice president Dick Cheney.
Former top Bush White House aides Karl Rove and Karen Hughes also weighed in for Cheney. Major Houston donors included philanthropist Nancy Kinder and Williams Brothers Construction Company CEO James Pitcock. Among Dallas donors were investors Ray Hunt and Ross Perot Jr.
All could easily form a powerful Cheney for President Finance Committee.
Cheney admirers like to note that history is full of politicians who lost races for lower office and went on to be nominated and even elected president.
Democrat Horace Greeley could not even be renominated in 1848 after one term as U.S. representative from New York and became the Democratic nominee for president in 1872, while fellow Democrat William Jennings Bryan lost a U.S. Senate race from Nebraska in 1894 and was nominated for president two years later.
Republicans Abraham Lincoln and Richard Nixon lost races for U.S. senator from Illinois in and governor of California, respectively, and, on their next races for office, both were elected president.
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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