Out-Of-State Congressional Democrats Ask Wyoming Dems To Change Parties For Cheney

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By Leo Wolfson, political reporter

In another unprecedented move in Wyoming politics, a pair of U.S. House Democrats are asking Wyoming Democrats to “temporarily” change their party affiliation so they can vote for U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney in the Aug. 16 Republican primary.  

In a Facebook ad campaign that started Friday, U.S. Reps. Dean Phillips, D-Minn. and Tom Malinowski, D-N.J. urged voters to support the congresswoman who has taken former President Donald Trump head-on. 

“Now you might be a little surprised that I’d be supporting Liz Cheney in her bid to continue representing Wyoming in the U.S. House,” Phillips says to the camera. “But principle must come before politics.”

Phillips goes on to say that no one has shown more “honor, integrity, and courage” than Cheney and that their differences in policy are less important than the stand Cheney has taken.

“So I ask you to please consider temporarily switching parties and voting for Liz Cheney,” he said. “It will be sending a very clear message to Donald Trump and protecting our democracy,” Phillips said. 

Hero To Democrats

Cheney has become a hero for many in the Democratic Party due to her unflinching dedication to speaking out against Trump and his attempts to overturn the 2020 election.

She has played a lead role in the Jan. 6 Committee, which has been assembled to try and document Trump’s efforts in questioning the results of the election and his alleged role in sparking the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.  

Trump in response, has called Cheney “despicable” and endorsed her leading Republican opponent, Harriet Hageman. 

Dem Ads

Phillips is considered a moderate Democrat, according to Govtrack.us, which determines political ideology scores for every member of Congress. Malinowski is considered a bit more liberal than Phillips. 

“She had the opportunity to put country over party for all of us,” Malinowski said. “Wyoming Democrats can put country over party too by registering to vote for her in the Republican primary.” 

Both ads were paid for by Wyomingites Defending Freedom and Democracy, a super political action committee working on behalf of Cheney. According to Facebook, about $3,000-$4,000 was spent on the ads. 

Christy Walton, heir to the Walmart fortune and a Jackson native, gave $50,000 to this PAC in July.  

Cheney’s campaign has received large donations from man other big-name Democratic donors. 

“Patriots will put it all on the line to protect our country, and Liz Cheney has done that,” Phillips said.

Cheney has also issued campaign literature, instructing Democrats on how they can change their party to vote for her. The crossover pleas have increased in recent weeks, with the primary election now exactly one week away. 


State Rep. Chuck Gray, R-Casper, a Secretary of State candidate, has recently weighed on this matter in his race against frontrunner challenger Sen. Tara Nethercott, R-Cheyenne.

“Liz Cheney and Tara Nethercott know that they’ve betrayed the conservative heart of Wyoming, and that their only chance to win is a massive operation to stock the Republican primary with liberal Democratic voters,” Gray told Cowboy State Daily on Tuesday.

Many in the Wyoming Republican Party believe Democrats crossing over to vote Republican allowed Gov. Mark Gordon to become elected in 2018.  Some statistical analyses shows this is not the case. Gordon was considered by many to be less conservative than his frontrunner opponents, Foster Friess and Hageman. Hageman is now running against Cheney for U.S. House. 

Crossover Bill

Republicans put forth a crossover voting bill in this year’s Legislature that would have made it more difficult for people to do that. The bill would have created a deadline, about three months before the primary. In order to be allowed to change party affiliation, people would have had to do it before that deadline. Despite receiving Trump’s endorsement, the bill did not pass. 

Many Democrats and people who support voters’ ability to crossover vote say Republicans’ opposition to the practice is a phony issue. Trump won Wyoming by a larger margin than any other state in the 2020 election. 

 A state that Trump’s opponent, President Joe Biden, won with a larger margin than any other state was Vermont. The state, in some ways, shares some similar political phenomena to Wyoming, but with a complete reversal of party power. 

Vermont has open primaries, which allow voters to take part in any primary of their choosing, no matter their party affiliation. According to Vermont Public Radio, in 1998, a highly contested Republican Senate race led to three times more people voting in the Republican primary than the Democrat primary, despite the state’s overwhelming Democratic majority. The winning Republican in that race ended up endorsing the Democrat candidate in the general election. 

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