Trump endorses Republican donor Friess in Wyoming governor race

(Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump weighed in on Wyoming’s gubernatorial contest on Tuesday, urging voters to support Republican financier and mega donor Foster Friess, one of six candidates seeking the party’s nomination in that race.

U.S. President Donald Trump boards Air Force One to travel to a campaign rally in West Virginia from Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, U.S. August 21, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis

Friess, an evangelical Christian who gained national prominence for his support of conservative Rick Santorum’s failed presidential bid in 2012, is in a close battle with State Treasurer Mark Gordon and lawyer Harriet Hagman.

U.S. President Donald Trump boards Air Force One to travel to a campaign rally in West Virginia from Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, U.S. August 21, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis

Because Wyoming is a conservative stronghold, the winner of Tuesday’s primary election is likely to become the next governor when residents go to the polls for the general election in November.

“To the incredible people of the Great State of Wyoming: Go VOTE TODAY for Foster Friess – He will be a fantastic Governor!” Trump said on Twitter. “Strong on Crime, Borders & 2nd Amendment. Loves our Military & our Vets. He has my complete and total Endorsement!”

In June, a poll conducted by the University of Wyoming showed Friess lagging in fourth place in the contest. But the Trump-supporting investor surged into the top three in a follow-up poll released this week.

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On Monday, Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., also tweeted his support of Friess. The 78-year-old candidate founded Friess Associates, an investment company that amassed $15.7 billion in assets before he sold his majority share in 2001.

From January 2017 to July 2018, Friess donated nearly $200,000 to federal-level Republican candidates and organizations, according to the U.S. Federal Election Commission.

He has donated more than $2 million to his own gubernatorial campaign since May of this year, records show.

Voters in Alaska are also choosing candidates for governor on Tuesday.

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