The far-right media has become very interested in Wyoming politics, but only because it smells blood.

Liz Cheney’s blood, to be precise.

But I’d caution anyone who thinks it’s time to write Cheney’s political obituary that there’s much yet to unfold before the state’s GOP voters go to the polls a year from now.

Can a three-term Wyoming congresswoman who has taken a principled stand against a disgraced former president to uphold American democracy return to the U.S. House? 

I don’t see why not. Cheney has money, the support of her party’s traditional establishment and the genes of former Vice President Dick Cheney, who never lost a political race.

Granted, it’s not the scenario faux-news outlets like Breitbart, NewsMax and other Donald Trump allies are predicting. They see Wyoming voters as sheep who will automatically choose Trump’s hand-picked candidate, thereby crushing Cheney. 

Let’s test that theory of Trump as the ultimate kingmaker, shall we?

Last week Trump released this statement: “The easiest way to defeat deplorable Liz Cheney is by having only ONE conservative candidate run and WIN! Wyoming patriots will no longer stand for Nancy Pelosi and her new lapdog RINO Liz Cheney.”

No one doubts that Cheney’s vote to impeach Trump, combined with her decision to join the House panel investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection he incited, will cost her some votes.

But both Cheney and Trump captured about 70% of the Wyoming vote in their respective races in 2020. Why does anyone believe her support would completely crater among all Republicans?

Cheney’s fundraising haul of $3.1 million in just the first half of 2021 is her personal best. She has more than five times the cash on hand as all of her competitors combined.

When the Washington Examiner spoke to a dozen Wyoming voters in June for a profile of Cheney’s race, not one could name a single candidate running against her

Based on fundraising and polling, the top three are State Sen. Anthony Bouchard of Cheyenne, State Rep. Chuck Gray of Casper and Cheyenne attorney Darin Smith. Bouchard and Smith are receiving many of their donations from out-of-state contributors who want to see Cheney humiliated, while Gray’s top donor is, well, Gray. The right-wing broadcaster raised $220,000 in the second quarter, but $165,000 came from loans he made to his campaign.

I don’t know how much Gray spent to hire the GOP’s most famously wrong pollster, John McLaughlin and Associates, but he’s getting a lot of mileage from the move. The firm is Trump’s favorite, since it only fed him positive (but inaccurate) projections about his re-election chances.

McLaughlin released a survey last week that sparked outrageous headlines 

like this one in the Washington Examiner: “Cheney in trouble: 77% GOP would not reelect, 53% call her ‘liberal.'”

McLaughlin claims Cheney can’t muster more than 23% Republican support in the state if the large field doesn’t dwindle. The firm admits, however, that 23% would be good enough to win her the nomination if none of the challengers drop out. The pollster says in a three-way, Cheney-Gray-Smith contest, the incumbent would lose to Gray by three percentage points.

But it’s in the head-to-head match-ups that Gray supposedly sparkles. McLaughlin has him beating Cheney, 63% to 24%. Smith would also win such a contest, the poll indicates, albeit by a tighter margin.

Notice that this dream scenario for Gray concocted by his pollster conveniently ignores an important factor? What happened to Bouchard?

Well, the Examiner justifies dropping the current challenger fundraising leader with this assessment: “Bouchard is said to be out of the running for a Trump endorsement since he admitted to sex with a 14-year-old girl when he was 18.”

That fits the extreme right’s narrative: Bouchard can’t win because Trump is going to bestow his blessing on Gray, and everyone else must fade into the sunset. Smith has reportedly said if he isn’t Trump’s chosen one, he’ll gracefully bow out.

Hold on a minute. I’m pretty sure Bouchard isn’t going anywhere, even if Trump listens to state pols who don’t particularly like the upstart state senator and former director of Wyoming Gun Owners.

And since when has a sex scandal kept Trump — who has survived many —  from endorsing a candidate? Does the name Roy Moore ring a bell? Trump threw his considerable weight behind Moore in the 2017 special U.S. Senate race in Alabama, even though the former judge had a reputation as a pedophile and had been publicly accused of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl.

Moore lost that race in a state that hadn’t elected a Democratic U.S. senator in a quarter-century. Thanks, Donald!

As Bouchard noted early on after the story of his teen relationship broke, he married the 14-year-old he impregnated. He’s hoping the GOP base will see it as a plus and ignore the sex-with-a-minor admission.

“It’s almost 40 years ago,” Bouchard told the Examiner. He said Wyoming voters “have their mind [on] issues that are happening today.”

Does that sound like a man who will drop out of a contest in which he’s attacked Cheney like a pit bull that hasn’t been fed for a week?

I don’t think so. I also don’t believe Trump is going to hand Gray or any candidate a victory. And while the Wyoming race will continue to garner a lot of his attention, I don’t think Trump will get his revenge and oust Cheney.

Many on the far-right are surely quaking in their boots about what the House committee probing the Jan. 6 Capitol crimes will find. Cheney, as one of only two Republicans on the panel, will have her own bully pulpit from which to castigate her tormentor-in-chief for siccing the mob on the People’s House.

“If those responsible are not held accountable and if Congress does not act responsibly,” she noted in her opening remarks, “this will remain a cancer on our constitutional republic, undermining the peaceful transfer of power at the heart of our democratic system.

“We must also know what happened every minute of that day in the White House — every phone call, every conversation, every meeting leading up to, during and after the attack,” Cheney added. “Honorable men and women have an obligation to step forward.”

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Many Wyoming Republicans will pay attention as the committee pursues the truth, and some will likely conclude that Cheney’s impeachment vote was right all along. 

I’d sure hate to throw a monkey wrench into these wacky proceedings, but I wonder if someone should tell Trump that Gray is spending his own money on this campaign.

Everyone knows Trump shook down the special interests to pay for his presidential ambitions — despite pledges to self-fund his campaign — and I trust he’d brand any candidate who bankrolls their own run a “loser.” 

So how could he endorse a loser? Well, Trump did it in last week’s U.S. House special election in Texas, in which his chosen candidate lost the GOP primary by six percentage points.

But if you ask him, no one really loses if they have Trump in their corner.

“This is the only race we’ve … this is not a loss, again, I don’t want to claim it is a loss; this was a win,” Trump said after the loss. “The big thing is, we had two very good people running that were both Republicans. That was the win.”

Gray isn’t a lock for Trump’s endorsement. But if he gets it, I hope it’s a comfort for the candidate that even if he spends his own dough but loses his party’s nomination, the guy who hand-picked him will still declare victory. Or maybe, when Cheney embarrasses him once again, he’ll just claim the election was stolen.

 

Kerry Drake

Veteran Wyoming journalist Kerry Drake has covered Wyoming for more than four decades, previously as a reporter and editor for the Wyoming Tribune-Eagle and Casper Star-Tribune. He lives in Cheyenne and...

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  1. I just have to say that this is the most one-sided article I’ve ever seen by a local paper. It’s nothing but absolute shilling for Liz Cheney, who’s so popular she lost the right to be called “Representative” in her own state! I expected more common sense from a Wyoming paper.

    1. Don’t be fooled. Wyofile is simply part of the liberal media machine that includes the Lee Enterprises Tribune, Oil City News, Jackson Hole News etc. All of them simply masquerade as “local” while promoting the corporate media agenda. Look how many “articles” are repeated across the platforms.

  2. @Greg Hunter

    “I agree they (polls) are falling but . . .”

    Do you even realize your own contradictions and bias? The lady provided what was asked, and you can only resort to a condescending attack on her intelligence?? The current regime does not respect or follow the Constitution. You earned that “F” all on your own, don’t blame her.

  3. UPDATE with some totally unsurprising nonshocking news. My very own Park County Republican Party totally disavowed Liz Cheney on Thursday , Aug 5. They issued a press release on social networks ( I know, I know, but that’s how it’s done these days, unless you are Donald Trump and have been blackballed ). The metaphorical longsleeved brownshirts with the black jackboots Park County Republican Party sent a letter to U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney this week telling her they no longer recognize her as their legitimate representative.

    (Quote)

    “After careful consideration of previous resolutions, our county censure of January 7th, 2021, and the State Central Committee censure of February 6th, 2021, and numerous outcries from Wyoming citizens, Park County Republican Precinct Committee will no longer recognize you as the legitimate Republican United States Representative for Park County Republicans,” said the letter, which was was shared to social media on Thursday night.

    Imagine that . Our sole reprsentative in Washington who is conservative to the bone marrow, who votes conservative 99.5 percent of the time and whom in fact voted with Trump at least 85 percent of the time , is no longer conservative enough or considered qualified to represent the Park County Republican apparatchiks.

    Note I did not say Park County Republicans, as in real workaday people and real voters. No , it’s just these few guys and a couple gals hailing from Cody, Clark, Wapiti, and maybe irrigated cropland between Cody and Powell, up in the wheelhouse of the garbage barge that was once the proud GOP liberty ship ” USS Park County “. The went all mutiny and usurped the party.

    It really has gotten that bad, that desperate for the Wyoming GOP. If Liz Cheney isn’t good enough for them , then by all means set sail for that mirage on the far right horizon , shimmering with delusion. There are few if any real Republicans left in Wyoming these days, and no definition of Conservative we can come anywhere close to agreeing on.

  4. Woodrow Wilson won the presidential election of 1912 with less than 50% of voter support. Liz Cheney can win the 2022 Wyoming election the same way Woodrow did. By splitting the vote among multiple candidates. Teddy Roosevelt split the Republicans allowing Democrat Wilson to win and thus sign off on income tax and the Federal Reserve. The New World Order Globalists will endeavor to run many Wyoming Republican candidates.

  5. Most of Cheney’s funding comes from out of state and she polls horribly with real conservatives. Typical Democrat activists like Drake won’t tell you that. It’s obvious her plan is to win by splitting an over-saturated primary. Not exactly glowing endorsement by WY (when was the last time she returned to address her constituents?) If the voters truly reflect her poor polling on Election Day, she’ll still be a media darling, only it will be working for fellow RINO Paul Ryan on Fox News.

    1. Please define “real conservative”. If this is something other than blind allegiance to Trump, what about Cheney is not a “real conservative”?

      1. If this is anything other than blind hatred for Trump, who was not even mentioned, please explain.

        1. You failed to define real conservative. Trumps name came up because, outside of voting to impeach him, Cheney’s record of voting has been staunchly conservative.
          You are the one who needs to explain what is meant by “real conservative”
          You post from August 4 however indicates that you merely traffic in right wing talking points devoid of evidence so I won’t be holding my breath waiting for a rational explanation.

          1. It’s easy to research the poll and also see why she polls poorly. No “right wing talking points”. P.S. nobody “needs” to do anything. Debate and freedom of speech will never be cancelled by the left simply because this is a leftist site full off supporters.

          2. Jeni Pollard:

            Please inform us what poll you’re referring to, specifically. Then, I will happily look it up.

            From what I’ve seen, people (I hesitate to call them ‘conservatives’, real or otherwise) are not supporting Liz Cheney because she spoke out against Trump’s failed coup**. Googling “Liz Cheney” + “polling” + “conservative” returns >7 million hits. So, the polls I’m looking at may not be the same one to which you refer, which is why I’m asking what you mean by “the poll”.

            ** If “failed coup” gets anyone’s hackles up, please substitute “insurrection”, “riot”, “pizza party”, “Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade”, or any other term you see fit to describe what happened at our nation’s capital on 6 January.

            The rest of your message is unintelligible, at least to me. No one is trying to cancel anything (?)

          3. Thanks Jeni–now we’re getting somewhere. Seems we are indeed looking at the same polls. Your earlier reference to “the poll” made me think you had a particular one in mind.

            Yes, Cheney’s popularity is falling because of her stance on January 6.

            This was my original point, that you’re failing to admit (at least publicly). Doing so would require an admission that the current Republican party has very little to do with the political conservatism that defined Eisenhower, Reagan, and Bush I.

            This is because there’s clearly nothing about Cheney that’s anti-conservative, weakly conservative, strongly liberal, or pro-liberal (unless one simply takes the lazy approach of equating a love for Trump with political conservatism).

            However, she has recently–and correctly–called out the January 6th insurrection (again, please substitute any term you fit for “insurrection”).

            So, since my original question seems to have put folks on the defensive, I’ll try asking it another way:

            How have Cheney’s attempts to investigate the January 6th incident made her less of a conservative, or less popular among conservatives?

            It’s a simple question. If you can’t answer it (or are embarrassed to state the answer), no problem. But please (I’m requesting, not demanding, Jeni!) resist the urge to respond with another deflection and/or distraction.

            Have a superb weekend,

            Kel

            PS: for all of its professed hating of cancel culture, the Republican party sure seems to be trying its darnedest to cancel Rep. Cheney these days. Maybe it’s only “cancel culture” if those being “cancelled” are those with whom they happen to agree?

        2. I’d be happy to explain. Then, I’d politely ask (again) for you to do the same regarding my original question.

          My post is not blind hatred for Trump. My post is justified confusion toward what the Republican party has become, and what is now meant by political conservatism.

          Five years ago, I understood what Republicans stood for–a combination of small government (achieved through deregulation, lower taxes, and frugality), a strong military, and a sense of personal responsibility. I frequently disagreed with some stances taken by this Republican party, but I understood how their views might appeal. And their internal logic was consistent.

          That many people are suddenly claiming Liz Cheney is not a real conservative, or that she polls poorly with real conservatives, is perplexing. You are one such person. So, I asked you a simple question.

          If the answer is simply that “a real conservative follows Trump no matter what”, that’s cool. Just be honest. No need to get hostile.

          I’ll be waiting for your answer. Please resist the temptation to continue deflecting. If you don’t have an answer (or are too embarrassed by it), just don’t respond.

          1. As you’re clever, I don’t believe that you can’t find simple polling data. But I’ll still help you. Try something like “Cheney’s falling poll numbers” using DuckDuckGo as your search engine. Tons of info on it.

          2. Are you ok with “Murder of Ashli Babbitt” instead of your fake coup? You know, the unarmed protestor who was murdered by an identified but unnamed government shooter and has yet to be properly investigated, even by the partisan fake Jan 6 committee.

          3. Kel – Perfect response and the answer was an F.

            It is clear that Republicans in Wyoming fail to understand the Constitution the way Liz Cheney and frankly most citizens should know. and they are more than happy to give away American values in subservience to one man’s poorly conceived idea of our system of government.

            The reason America survives is because of our adherence to the Constitution and not to a man who would be a King and a damn poor one at that.

            Jeni is confirming her bias through the expression of search that proves she is biased. “Cheney’s falling poll numbers” – I agree they are falling but I would bet that will be temporary as the news going forward until the next election will be all bad for the former guy..

            Hey Jeni read the Constitution and the Federalist papers instead of poll numbers and you will realize that those that failed to do their jobs were Senators Enzi, Barrasso and Lummis.

    2. Lin- before you make a blanket condemnation of where Mrs. Elizabth Perry ( stage name Liz Cheney , The Virginian ) gets her political capital, you would do very well to look at the funding sources of all the other Republicans who ran against here, and the entirety of Wyoming’s All Republican All the Time Congressional representation . You will see an abundnace if not a preponderance of out of state contributions. Then parse the PACs

      Example : Senator John Barrasso . His gross contributions come primarily from corporate interests not doing business in Wyoming much…. Wall Street financial houses; Big Pharma ; a whole lotta Big Oil Big Gas companies ; lobbyists of all stripes who might not know where Wyoming can be found on a map ‘ . Barrasso gets millions from PACs not from here.
      As far as personal campaign contributions go, Large donors gave 11 times as much money to Barrasso’s warchest as Small contributors ( defined as a contribution of less than $ 200 ). Barrasso spent exactly ZERO dollar of his own money on his own reelections.
      [ Source: OpenSecrets.org for the campaign period 2015-2020 ]

      Wyoming candidates running for higher office almost always seek out and get out of state contributions. Political operatives know Wyoming is a cheap state when it comes to ” buying” a politician. Some candidates even come here from out of state and fast track their legal residency to inject themselves onto the ballot.

      Bottom Line: no candidate from Wyoming can get elected to Congress ( either chamber) without a heap of out of state donors. Like most other things, Wyoming has too little population and Gross STate Product to pay for their own needs with their own small money . Not in a state where lawyers still barter for livestock to settle legal fees…

      1. Dewey nails it and I would contend the robber barons knew that buying the Senate would be easy, which is why they hustled through the 17th Amendment in 1913, forcing the popular election of Senators instead of the Governor or State Legislature making its own Senatorial picks.

        In 1913 the Electoral College was corrupted by the 17th Amendment by popularly electing the Senate but not the President, which guarantees conservative (owned by business interests) governance, no matter the person elected to the Presidency.

  6. Liz Cheney has her own reasons for voting to impeach and for being on the House committee. I’m very grateful that she has found a way to speak out that helps us all. I won’t vote for her in the primary because she is much too effective as an ultraconservative. I plan to vote for the dumbest, least effective republican I can. After all, the winner of that primary is our next representative. We can be proud of Liz, but we don’t have to put her back in office to prove it. Let’s just send a thank you card.

  7. Great analysis, Kerry. But I was hoping to read about one key variable that only strengthens your thesis that Cheney will emerge victorious in the primary: the number of Democrats and Independents who will register Republican in next year’s primary to vote for Cheney, not as an endorsement of her conservative voting record, but as an appreciation of her allegiance to the Constitution and the truth. (Even if her dad was manipulating the puppet strings, Liz’s actions and statements still required a ton of resolve and fortitude.)

  8. So far, Mr. Trump’s various endorsements in special elections and primaries around the country have gone thuddingly flat. Even in deep red Trumpian strongholds like Alabama and Texas, Another Orange-Blue litmus test is coming up in Ohio fairly soon.

    I believe Trump has the Reverse Midas Touch. Everything he touches eventually turns to… uh, Crud. It will only get worse for Trumpism between now and next year’s primaries and offyear ballots , contrary to what you may have heard. Personally , I hope His Royal Orangeness will watch the November 2022 election results from the Metropolitan Correctional Center in midtown Manhattan. By whence any endorsement from him will be worthless or detrimental to the endorsee. Expect to hear the distant squealing of many lemmings…

    The good news is Liz Cheney will do fine next year, regardless. The bad news is Liz Cheney will do fine next year , regrettably.

  9. Excellent analysis here by Mr. Drake. The reminder of Donald Trump’s support for Alabama’s leading pedophile is a good reminder of the character of the disgraced president.

    I don’t admire Congresswoman Cheney’s cultural and environmental politics, but I do appreciate her sticking up for law and order and the U.S. Constitution.

    I look forward to her debates with Gray and Bouchard. She is an experienced, bright, knowledgeable politician with talent that will contrast considerably with the Trump-loving Gray and Bouchard.

    1. Communist propaganda? Tell me you’re delusional without saying you’re delusional……

      Chrump wanted to silence the media that wasn’t favorable to him.

      Chrump put pressure on the DOJ to claim the election was full of fraud (it wasn’t, and still isn’t)

      Chrump thought he should be able to serve more than 2 terms. Directly in opposition to the constitution that you chrump worshippers claim to care so much about. Luckily, he didn’t even get to the 2nd.

      Chrump wanted to weaponize the military/police to squash protests. Going so far as to use the police to clear out peaceful protesters for his photo op in front of the church.

      Chrump used the DOJ to gather information on his detractors.

      Chrump used his office for the benefit of his family, friends, and personal interests.

      Chrump was the first “president” that didn’t commit to a peaceful transition of power after he LOST. In fact, he instigated a riot/insurrection with all his smooth-brained followers.

      There are dozens of others that I could list. But honest and rational folks already know and can see who has the communist tendencies.

    2. Well said. You summarized all that blathering in 8 succinct, effective, and accurate words.

  10. I trust Wyoming voters understand that Liz Cheney is EXTREMELY conservative, just like they are. 91 percent of the time her votes were the same as Mo Brooks’, the rep from Alabama, the state that Wyoming most resembles politically, it seems, and when their votes differed the issues were about congressional procedures So she didn’t think Trump won the election, (and Biden is sending Wyoming a ton of dough) or that it was okay for people to break into the Capitol hoping to zip tie
    Nancy Pelosi and hang Mike Pence? Bad girl! ,But since Wyomingites know or should know what sides their Conservative bread is buttered on, and Trump will not win again, and they’ll never vote for a Democrat,they should vote for her.