By Jimmy Orr, Cowboy State Daily
For all the talk about the certainty of Liz Cheney being ousted from her leadership position in the House, it wasn’t even close.
In a commanding 145 – 61 vote margin, Wyoming’s sole representative retained her position as the third highest ranking Republican in the House of Representatives.
The vote, only one week after Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz told a Wyoming crowd that Cheney’s defeat was imminent, put to rest any thought that Cheney’s influence would be less significant.
If anything, Cheney’s standing in Congress will likely be more powerful now.
That’s because the congresswoman withstood challengers by not blinking an eye or backtracking at all.
She not only told the Republican conference that she would not apologize for her vote to impeach President Trump but that she “absolutely did not” regret that vote.
Moments after the meeting concluded, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said the vote proved the resiliency of the Republican Party.
“This is just an example that the Republican Party is a very big tent, everyone is invited in, and when you look at the last election, we continue to grow and in two years, we’ll be the majority,” he said.
As for Cheney, she made it clear that the vote sent a powerful message not only for her but for the party.
“We had a terrific vote tonight and we laid out what we’re going to do going forward as well as making clear that we’re not going to be divided,” she said. “We’re not going to be in a situation where people can pick off any member of leadership,” Cheney said.
“It was a very resounding acknowledgment that we need to go forward together and we need to go forward in a way that helps us beat back the very negative and dangerous Democrat policies,” she said.
Meanwhile, Gaetz’s predictions that the Republicans had the votes to oust her or that McCarthy would avoid a vote fell flat.
In fact, Cheney was so confident that she would retain her leadership position, she asked for a vote during the meeting.
That, pundits said, showed remarkable confidence.
“She was blunt… She wanted the up-or-down vote. She got it and won big,” New York Times political reporter Jonathan Martin said.
As for her standing in Wyoming, it’s likely that Gaetz got it wrong here as well when he told a crowd last week that: “Liz Cheney is less popular among Republicans in her own state than Muammar Gaddafi was among the Libyans.”
Cheney has been censured by a number of county Republican parties but tonight’s overwhelming show of support could take the steam out of these efforts.
She’s already received high-profile support in Wyoming from former Speaker of the House Tom Lubnau, former Republican Party chair Matt Micheli, the Petroleum Association of Wyoming, and the Wyoming Mining Association.