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Foster Friess, Big Donor to Republicans, Dies at 81

Foster Friess, a Wyoming businessman who based an funding agency, made a fortune and gave numerous it away to Republican presidential candidates and charities, generally with aptitude, died on Thursday in Scottsdale, Ariz. He was 81.

His group, Foster’s Outriders, which confirmed the demise, mentioned he had been receiving care at the Mayo Clinic there for myelodysplastic syndrome, a dysfunction of the blood cells and bone marrow.

On Twitter, Gov. Mark Gordon of Wyoming, who defeated Mr. Friess within the Republican gubernatorial main in 2018, known as Mr. Friess “a strong and steady voice for Republican and Christian values.”

Mr. Friess’s run for governor was his solely attempt at main elected office. In the political enviornment he was primarily identified for his donations, notably to the presidential bids of Rick Santorum, the previous United States senator from Pennsylvania, within the 2012 and 2016 campaigns. After Mr. Santorum left the 2016 race, Mr. Friess turned one of many first Republican megadonors to embrace (*81*) J. Trump.

But to many, a very powerful help that Mr. Friess, an evangelical Christian, and his spouse, Lynnette, offered was to charities. Foster’s Outriders and the Lynn and Foster Friess Family Foundation have offered scholarships, financed work for homeless folks, supported water initiatives in Africa and rather more. His group mentioned Mr. Friess had donated $500 million in his lifetime.

His Seventieth-birthday occasion in 2010 in Jackson Hole, Wyo., the place he lived a lot of the year, was the stuff of legend. The website described it in 2011:

“In the invitations to the party, Friess, a born-again Christian, had asked the guests to identify their favorite charity that reflected the values of his favorite quote from Galatians: ‘Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.’ He vowed to give $70,000 to the most worthy nominee.”

When the time got here to announce the winner, the servers at the Four Seasons Resort, the place the occasion was being held, distributed envelopes to the visitors.

“Friess asked the lucky winner to stand up and shout, and for the other guests to remain seated,” the account continued. “Then he sat back and waited for the mayhem.”

As folks opened the envelopes, somebody at each desk stood and shouted, “I won!” He had funded each request, at a value of $7.7 million.

Foster Stephen Friess was born on April 2, 1940, in Rice Lake, Wis. His father, Albert, was a cattle rancher, and his mom, Ethel (Foster) Friess, was a homemaker.

“I came from nothing,” he instructed The New York Times in 2018 throughout his marketing campaign for governor when requested if he himself is perhaps thought-about one of many “elites” he was railing in opposition to. “My mom dropped out of school in eighth grade to pick cotton and save the family farm. My dad had a high school education.”

He graduated from the University of Wisconsin in Madison with a level in business administration and served within the Army as an intelligence officer for a guided-missile brigade at Fort Bliss in Texas.

After working in finance for a number of years, he based the funding administration agency Friess Associates in 1974 and was quickly thought to be a first-rate stock picker. His flagship asset, the Brandywine Fund, swelled to greater than $15 billion. He offered a controlling curiosity in Friess Associates to the Affiliated Managers Group in 2001.

On the political aspect, Mr. Friess did greater than help candidates. In 2010, he was a founding investor in The Daily Caller, Tucker Carlson and Neil Patel’s conservative information and opinion web site.

In 2012 Mr. Friess supported Mr. Santorum not a lot as a result of he agreed with all his insurance policies — “I try to talk him out of them,” he instructed the broadcaster Lou Dobbs in February 2012 — however as a result of he thought the Republican Party wanted a brand new face.

“These old veteran war horses, they have a hard time making it,” he mentioned on “Lou Dobbs Tonight.” “Dole couldn’t make it, McCain couldn’t make it. On the Democratic side, Gore couldn’t make it and Kerry couldn’t make it. So the Democrats bring these fresh faces, they bring Carter from out of nowhere, they bring Clinton from out of nowhere, they bring Obama from beyond nowhere.”

Later that month Mr. Friess made headlines when, on MSNBC, Andrea Mitchell requested him whether or not Mr. Santorum’s statements on “the dangers of contraception” would harm his marketing campaign.

“Back in my days,” Mr. Friess mentioned, “they used Bayer aspirin for contraception. The gals put it between their knees, and it wasn’t that costly.”

Mr. Santorum’s main marketing campaign began sturdy however foundered, and Mr. Obama was elected to a second time period, defeating Mitt Romney.

In the following presidential marketing campaign, Mr. Friess additionally supported Mr. Santorum initially. In mid-2015, with the Republican discipline choked with candidates and the nastiness stage growing, he known as on the candidates not to “drift off the civility reservation.”

In May 2016, with Mr. Santorum out of the race and Mr. Trump having secured the Republican nomination, Mr. Friess threw his help to the Trump trigger, although acknowledging that Mr. Trump had superior by exhibiting the very incivility he had decried — one thing he anticipated would change to a extra presidential tenor.

“Donald’s strategy seems to work,” Mr. Friess instructed CNN that month, “but I’m convinced he’s going to shift.”

Mr. Friess supported Mr. Trump all through his administration, and when he ran for governor, the Trump household tried to return the favor — the president’s son (*81*) Jr. endorsed him in an opinion article in The Star Tribune of Casper, Wyo. President Trump himself was quieter, though he did provide a Twitter publish late within the marketing campaign endorsing Mr. Friess. Mr. Gordon’s victory was cited by a few of as proof of Mr. Trump’s vulnerability, although others noticed it extra as a neighborhood matter.

Three weeks in the past, when Darin Smith, a lawyer and businessman who has contended that Mr. Trump “probably” gained the 2020 election, announced that he would problem Representative Liz Cheney, Republican of Wyoming, who has been critical of Mr. Trump, within the 2022 primaries, he mentioned that Mr. Friess could be his marketing campaign chairman.

Mr. Friess’s spouse of 58 years, Lynnette Estes Friess, survives him, as do their 4 kids, Traci, Stephen, Carrie, and Michael; a brother, Herman; and 15 grandchildren.