By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily
One of the Wyoming Republican U.S. House to visit with former President Donald Trump this week said his meeting went well.
Cheyenne businessman Darin Smith, one of at least two primary challengers to U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney to meet with Trump, said he met with the former president in New Jersey on Tuesday.
“I think it went great,” he told Cowboy State Daily. “We discussed the election, the endorsement, and I gave him the pitch as to why I think we are the campaign to defeat Liz Cheney and take America back.”
Smith is the first candidate from the crowded Republican primary race to confirm he met with Trump, who has announced he will make an endorsement in the race in the next several months.
Trump has been critical of Cheney since she voted to impeach him in connection with the January assault on the Capitol.
A spokeswoman for one of the other candidates, state Sen. Anthony Bouchard, R-Cheyenne, said last week that Smith and state Rep. Chuck Gray, R-Casper, were invited to meet with Trump in New Jersey. Gray’s campaign could not be reached for comment Thursday.
Prior to his meeting with Trump, Smith commissioned a survey by the Remington Research Group to gauge his support among likely Republican voters in 2022.
The telephone survey showed that of 766 voters polled, 70% would vote for Smith in a head-to-head race against Cheney, while 20% would vote for the incumbent.
“I told my guys I wanted to walk into Trump’s office with a legitimate poll,” Smith said. “That had to be fairly impressive for him to see (the results).”
The survey, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.3%, also showed that when Gray and Bouchard are taken into consideration, Smith would win votes from 24% of those questioned, while Cheney would 19%, Bouchard wins 18% and Gray wins 14%, the release said.
Smith said the survey showed that if he wins Trump’s endorsement, “we blow out the field.”
On the same day Smith announced the results of his poll, Gray released the results of his own survey, which also showed him as the front-runner for the race.
According to the survey of 300 likely GOP voters conducted by McLaughlin and Associates, 63% of those questioned in telephone and text-to-web interviews would support Gray in a head-to-head match against Cheney, while 24% would vote for Cheney.
Gray’s survey, which had a margin of error of plus or minus 5.6%, showed that in a three-way race between Gray, Cheney and Smith, 25% of those questioned would vote for Gray, while 23% would vote for Cheney and 14% would vote for Smith.
Both surveys indicated that a majority of those questioned — more than 70% — have unfavorable opinions toward Cheney.
In their separate news releases, the two candidates said they were pleased with the results of their surveys.
“I am very encouraged by these polling results,” Smith said. “Liz Cheney is the only representation in Congress Wyoming has, and she has turned her back on us. It’s time to dump Liz and elect someone with genuine pro-Trump, America First, Wyoming values and I know I am that person.”
“It is very clear that Wyoming voters are looking for solid, conservative Trump supporter Chuck Gray to defeat Liz Cheney for Congress,” Gray’s news release said. “These voters want an active, aggressive and unified campaign for Trump supporter Chuck Gray to hold Liz Cheney accountable for her bad vote on impeachment and her current attacks on President Trump on the January 6th committee.”