By Bill Sniffin, publisher
It’s hard to imagine that any Wyoming politician has ever been in the national media spotlight as much as our current U. S. Rep. Liz Cheney – except for when her father was vice president, of course.
Folks from national media have been driving all over Wyoming this past week preparing big stories on Liz and her challengers in the August 2022 Republican primary for the Cowboy State’s lone seat in the U.S. House.
Both 60 Minutes from the CBS network and Gannett’s USA Today were doing major pieces on the outspoken Liz.
The main reason for all the attention is Liz Cheney’s continued bashing of former President Donald Trump. What is so incongruous about this is the fact the state Liz represents — Wyoming – had a higher level of voter support for Trump than any other state in the nation is the state in 2016 and 2020. In 2020, nearly 70% of Wyoming’s voters supported Trump’s re-election.
As a result, the Cheney-Trump feud has the national media drooling.
And folks, it REALLY is a helluva story. How crazy can this get?
A big majority of Wyoming people supported Trump in his two presidential campaigns. And yet, our lone member of Congress is leading the charge among a tiny group of her Republican congressional colleagues in standing up to the former president and what has come to be known as “Trumpism.”
Ledge King and Hannah Gaber of USA Today caught up with me last Wednesday as they tailed candidate Darin Smith of Cheyenne in his campaign to unseat Cheney.
I watched these reporters as they interviewed Smith and a coffee group in Lander known as the Fox News All-Stars.
I also watched Smith woo a group put together in Riverton that included former mayor Ron Warpness.
Meanwhile, veteran reporter Leslie Stahl and her camera crew from 60 Minutes were with Cheney as she moved across Wyoming. They filmed a Cheney-friendly small town hall event in Casper that was coordinated by Tim and Susan Stubson and others.
In talking with the USA Today folks, I found that they had already chatted with candidates state Sen. Anthony Bouchard, (R-Cheyenne) and state Rep. Chuck Gray (R-Casper), who are also running for Cheney’s seat. The reporters also attended the State Fair in Douglas, which they found fascinating.
They had flown into Denver and rented a car and started the long slog north through Wyoming, ending up in Lander and Riverton. Then they reversed directions and ended up back in Denver, missing their flights because of staffing issues at their airline. Ledge King loves Wyoming and has fond memories of visiting the CM Dude Ranch in Dubois as a teen.
King said the national interest in this race is incredibly high. He expects their printed stories and video pieces to be aired some time in the coming weeks.
King and Gaber also interviewed me about my feelings concerning the Cheney situation. They had followed my earlier comments in my role as publisher of Cowboy State Daily, which King subscribes to.
I repeated my thoughts from an earlier column, that it does not make sense for Cheney to ever run again for her Wyoming seat. There are three reasons why this is a bad idea for her:
First, because of her Trump-bashing, she has become a national media darling and is positioned to run for president as a nominee from the moderate wing of the Republican party.
Second, even if she runs again for the House and wins, it will be an ugly, expensive and grueling campaign. It will be her against Trump, which she might relish, but again, why take on the responsibility of representing Wyoming for two more years when she has much bigger national fish to fry?
And third, finally, why risk losing a Wyoming election? I find the possibility of a loss hard to grasp, however, since if she runs, some 14,000 Democrats and Independents will cross over on primary election day to pretty much guarantee her reelection.
My assumption is these comments will end up on the cutting room floor, but it was flattering to be interviewed by a national outfit.
Meanwhile, Cheney was not letting any grass grow under her feet.
She appeared on Casper’s KTWO-TV for an interview Saturday, in which she bashed Trump for how he originally got the USA into this Afghanistan exit fiasco. She also criticized current President Joe Biden for what she called his many mistakes.
Sunday morning, Cheney appeared on the longest running TV show in the country, Meet the Press, on NBC. She was warmly greeted by host Chuck Todd, who is notorious as one of former President Trump’s biggest detractors.
Cheney took the opportunity to bash Trump for ever making a deal with the Taliban and putting our country into an impossible situation. Then she again criticized Biden for making it even worse.
“Biden has reversed all these other decisions by Trump, why didn’t he reverse this one, too?”, she asked.
Stay tuned. Wyoming, courtesy of Liz Cheney, will be all over the national news during upcoming weeks.