Conservatives Are Lining Up To Primary Anti-Trump Cheney In Wyoming


On Wednesday, House Republicans ousted Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) from her position as GOP Conference Chair, and now challengers in Wyoming are lining up to oust her from her Congressional seat altogether.

As many as six people have already announced they will challenge Cheney for her House seat in the 2022 midterms. A defiant Cheney told reporters on Thursday that she “obviously welcomes” anyone who wants to throw their hat in the ring against her. 

“There are millions and millions of Republicans out there who want us to be a party that stands for principles and who are very worried about the direction that the party is going and don’t want the party to be dragged backward by the former president.”

Cheney has been an outspoken critic of former President Donald Trump, and has also spoken out about her concern with the direction of the Republican Party as influenced by Trump.

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Trouble For Cheney Started With Impeachment

Liz Cheney’s troubles began not long after her impeachment vote against Donald Trump. In February, Cheney was censured by the Republican parties of ten Wyoming counties. Some used phrases in their announcements of a censure like “betrayed the trust” of voters, and “devalued the political influence of the state of Wyoming.”

Cheney also survived an attempt in February to remove her from the Conference chair position, with even fellow Republican Matt Gaetz of Florida traveling to Wyoming to encourage voters there to remove her from office. 

Last month at a GOP retreat in Florida, calls for her to be removed from the Conference Chair got louder as Cheney was at odds with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) over the scope of a commission that is investigating the events at the Capitol on Jan. 6.

She also said that anyone who challenged the 2020 election results should be disqualified from being the 2024 GOP nominee – a clear shot at Trump.

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Who Are Cheney’s Challengers?

State Senator, gun rights activist, and Cheyenne-area business owner Anthony Bouchard was the first to announce he intended to challenge Cheney.

Another Wyoming legislator, a conservative radio host whose family owns Casper-area radio stations, State Rep. Chuck Gray has also announced he is running. 

Retired Army Colonel Denton Knapp, who currently lives in California but grew up in Wyoming and plans to move back, has thrown his hat in the ring. He said what prompted him was, “What’s missing right now is trust in our elected officials. Wyomingites expected Cheney to vote a certain way and she didn’t. As a result, she’s going through consequences.”

Also in the running is Marissa Joy Selvig, former mayor of Pavillion, a small town of 200. Selvig said, “I’ve never been a Cheney fan.” She added, “She has been working more for herself and for the Republican Party than she has the citizens of Wyoming. That’s what I see.”

Businessman Darin Smith is the most recent challenger to announce his candidacy. He announced his intention to run last week.

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Could Be An Uphill Battle For Cheney Opponents

Liz Cheney has a formidable track record when it comes to campaigning. She has beaten both Democrat and Republican opponents in the Cowboy state, and enjoys all the benefits of incumbency.

In the first quarter of this year, she raked in $1.5 million, her best fundraising quarter yet. Being the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, she enjoys universal name recognition and family legacy advantages, too.

Prior to being in the House, Cheney ran an ill-fated Senate campaign against then Senator Mike Enzi, but dropped out after only six months. Accusations of being a “carpet-bagger” dogged Cheney and claims that she had not spent much time in Wyoming until moving to affluent Jackson Hole in 2012.

Liz Cheney is free to do what she believes is right, but she might want to get home to see if the people in Wyoming agree with her.

 

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