By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily
Cheyenne businessman and attorney Darin Smith told Cowboy State Daily on Friday he will run against U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney in the 2022 U.S. House race.
Smith, a Republican, said he sees Cheney as much more vulnerable to a primary challenge than she was in 2016, when he last faced her in an election. He finished fourth in the nine-way GOP primary.
“Obviously, her national stature is going down the tubes,” he said. “She does not share the same world view of the Republican Party.”
Smith said Cheney aligns herself too often with Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President Joe Biden.
Smith said he has also learned much about campaigning in the last five years.
“Back then (in 2016), my wife Alicia and I were so new at this,” he said. “We didn’t even know how to raise money and run a campaign.”
Smith is a Wyoming native who grew up in Rock Springs and attended the University of Wyoming and UW Law School, representing the university on its wrestling team.
In addition to maintaining his law practice, Smith has also worked as an executive and consultant with nonprofit organizations including the Family Research Council and the Christian Broadcasting Network.
To dedicate his time to his run for office, Smith has resigned from the Family Research Council, which describes itself as a “research and educational organization dedicated to articulating and advancing a family-centered philosophy of public life.”
Smith and his wife Alicia also run a real estate business in Cheyenne, but Smith said he will now work full-time on his congressional race.
Since the race in 2016, Smith has been active in politics, serving as state chairman for Foster Freiss’ gubernatorial campaign in 2018.
Freiss is now Smith’s campaign chair.
Smith also served as the chair of the Laramie County Republican Party in 2017 and 2018.
Cheney has faced some opposition in Washington, D.C., and in Wyoming since voting for the impeachment of former President Donald Trump. The two have traded barbed words ever since.
Cheney is now the Minority Conference Chair in the House, the third-ranking Republican position. However, Minority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisana has spoken in favor of replacing Cheney in the position. Trump has endorsed U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York to replace Cheney.
In Wyoming, Smith will be the fifth candidate to challenge Cheney, two of which are legislators: state Sen. Anthony Bouchard of Cheyenne and Rep. Charles Gray of Casper.
The others are Marissa Joy Selvig of Riverton and Bryan Eugene Keller of Cheyenne.
Despite the fact Cheney has already raised more than $1.5 million for her campaign, Smith said he is confident he can defeat her in the primary.
He noted that Cheney outspent his campaign by 30-1 in 2016.
“If she outspends us by 3-1, I think we can beat her,” he said.