By Jimmy Orr, Cowboy State Daily
If you get the feeling that Wyoming’s congressional race will be the center of the political universe in 2022, you’re probably on to something.
It looks like it might become a showdown for the opposing wings of Wyoming’s Republican Party, in fact.
Is the ideology of the GOP more in line with former President Donald Trump or does the party line-up with former President George W. Bush?
Whatever the answer is, both former presidents have chosen sides in Wyoming.
Trump is going with Wyoming attorney Harriet Hageman and Bush, as it was revealed today, is lining up with incumbent U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney.
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Bush’s first campaign event for the 2022 midterm elections will be to support Cheney at a fundraiser in his home state of Texas.
None of this should come as any surprise to anyone who knows about the connection of the Bush and Cheney families and the acrimony between Bush and Trump.
No one knows how active Bush will be on Cheney’s behalf in the coming year — whether he will continue his work in her support until the August primary or whether the fundraiser will be merely a one-off.
If it’s the latter, it’s still significant and the news was welcomed by former Natrona County GOP Chair Dr. Joe McGinley.
“It is great to see former President Bush lead by example and support a long time conservative such as Representative Cheney,” McGinley told Cowboy State Daily. “The Republican Party is an organization based on conservative values and principles, not hate, anger, vendettas, misleading statements and conspiracy theories.”
McGinley’s views have made him a target of the current state Republican Party leadership.
In a harshly worded letter sent last April, the Wyoming Republican Party called McGinley a “loser,” “dishonest” and prone to “public tantrums.” Hageman signed that letter alongside current state Republican Party Chair Frank Eathorne.
But McGinley does not stand alone. Former Wyoming legislator and former state GOP Chair Diemer True, arguably the most influential Republican in party politics for decades, isn’t a fan of the current direction of the Republican Party.
“The anger that is currently being exhibited within the structure of Wyoming Republican Party is not who the Wyoming Republican Party really is,” True told Cowboy State Daily on Wednesday.
“It is a very small group of zealots and it is hard to exaggerate the damage they are doing to civil discourse and the opportunity to truly investigate different ideas which is what representative Democracy supposed to be,” he said.
In that vein, True called the obscene and violent email sent by a Park County GOP official to state Sen. Tara Nethercott “disgusting” and representative of the current state of affairs within the State Party.
“The way Republican politics should work in Wyoming is people have every right to express an opinion and they can express it with great eagerness and passion and then we shake hands and go have lunch together. But that’s not the way it is now,” he said.
“That email is sort of representative of what the [current Wyoming] Republican leadership is doing,” True said.
True said the 2022 election shouldn’t be about Trump and Bush, but should be about Wyoming people and Wyoming politics.
Bush’s fundraising event is scheduled for Oct. 18 and will be co-hosted by many of the Bush administration’s alumni including Karl Rove, former Bush White House Counsel Harriett Miers and former White House counselor Karen Hughes. Former U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison is listed as a co-sponsor as well.