Former Vice President Dick Cheney is mining Michigan for campaign cash to boost daughter Liz Cheney's Wyoming Senate bid, leveraging relationships that date back to the 1970s, when he served as President Gerald Ford's chief of staff.
The two Cheneys are scheduled to headline a Grand Rapids, Mich., fundraiser on Sept. 17, according to GOP sources and information obtained by the Washington Examiner. The event, hosted by Michigan Republican heavyweights Peter Secchia and Rich DeVos, requests a $2,600 donation for a "roundtable" with the candidate and the former vice president, and $1,000 to attend a "luncheon."
Ford, who died in 2006, was a Grand Rapids native and represented the area in Congress for a quarter century before being appointed vice president in 1973. Cheney served as Ford's chief of staff from 1975 to 1977, after the Michigander assumed the presidency.
It is that connection to Michigan and the relationships Cheney has fostered over decades, sources say, that the former vice president has been using to raise money for his daughter, who is challenging Wyoming Sen. Mike Enzi in the 2014 GOP primary.
Not all Michigan Republicans are happy about this, with some grumbling privately that Cheney's fundraising is putting at risk their ability to raise the cash needed to compete for an open Senate seat next year. Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., is retiring after six terms, and although the state leans Democratic, some Republicans believe the GOP has a chance to flip this seat if it can recruit a good candidate and raise enough money.
Some Michigan Republicans don't like the idea of having to compete with Cheney for Wolverine State donors, particularly given that Wyoming is strong conservative territory, and that Enzi's Senate seat will remain in Republican hands regardless of whether GOP voters there re-nominate him or opt to support the former vice president's daughter.
Wyoming is among the most sparsely populated states in the country with a limited amount of political money available to tap, meaning Cheney is likely to continue using the relationship he forged throughout his political career — including a decade as Wyoming's lone congressman, a stint as former President George H.W. Bush's defense secretary and eight years as vice president under President George W. Bush — to help fill his daughter's coffers.