By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
Republican challengers to U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney in her congressional re-election campaign are praising House Republicans for removing her from her position as House Republican Conference chair on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, both of Cheney’s Wyoming colleagues declined to comment specifically on the ouster, but vowed to continue working with Cheney on issues important to Wyoming.
“House leadership decisions are up to the House caucus, but I look forward to continuing my work with Rep. Cheney and Senator Barrasso to do what is best for our state,” said U.S. Sen. Cynthia Lummis.
U.S. Sen. John Barrasso echoed a similar sentiment to Lummis.
“Wyoming has a three-member delegation,” he told Cowboy State Daily. “All three of us will keep standing up for Wyoming and fighting the attacks from the Biden administration. Today’s vote in the House doesn’t change that. I look forward to continuing to work closely with Liz Cheney and Cynthia Lummis on behalf of the people of Wyoming.”
Both Sen. Anthony Bouchard, R-Cheyenne, and Rep. Chuck Gray, R-Casper, celebrated the news in the hours following Cheney’s removal from her position as the No. 3 ranking Republican in the House of Representatives. She is expected to be replaced U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York, although no timeline has been officially set.
“Republican members of Congress finally did what so many Wyomingites have longed to do — get rid of Liz Cheney,” Gray said in a statement Wednesday. “While Wyoming voters must wait until 2022 to also vote her out, this is a welcome first step and shows Republicans are serious about making sure our party doesn’t sell out to socialist Democrats the way Liz Cheney already has.”
Gray added that Cheney is siding with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez while continuing to “falsely” attack former President Donald Trump, a development he said was “disgusting.” He again criticized Cheney for voting to impeach Trump earlier this year and for recently fist-bumping President Joe Biden when he gave a joint speech to Congress.
“Wyoming voters gave her a chance to prove that she could effectively represent them and she has failed us miserably,” Gray said. “Today’s vote exposes Cheney for who she really is and is a good reminder that she can’t keep fooling Wyomingites like she did when she moved here to buy herself a seat in Congress.”
Like his colleague and opponent, Bouchard also celebrated Cheney’s removal, saying she was ousted because Republicans were the party of “America First” and Cheney refused and failed to represent this idea.
“Building the wall, reopening America and bringing American jobs back, opposing endless war, and stopping our enemies like China,” Bouchard wrote on his social media Wednesday. “That is AMERICA FIRST and Liz Cheney despises it. We must FIRE LIZ CHENEY! Vote Anthony Bouchard for Congress!”
Denton Knapp, a U.S. Army veteran who has become the sixth challenger to Cheney, said Wednesday’s decision shows that Republicans nationally are as unhappy with Cheney as he believes Wyoming residents are.
“That’s been coming for a long time,” he told Cowboy State Daily. “Not only does Wyoming disagree with her, but also the Republicans nationally.”
However, the move was criticized by Wyoming Democratic Party Joe Barbuto, who said Cheney’s ouster showed the Republican Party was more focused on defending a failed president and his lies than doing the work of the American people.
“In Wyoming and across the nation, the GOP is willfully choosing to build their party on a foundation of misinformation and falsehoods,” Barbuto said. “It’s a decision they will come to regret and voters will remember for many election cycles to come.”
Congressional candidate Darin Smith did not respond to Cowboy State Daily’s request for comment.