Wyoming GOP Chair Frank Eathorne. Photo by Matt Idler

An Election Day Red Wave Or Red Ripple? Depends On Who You Ask

in Wyoming Republican Party/elections/News/politics

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By Leo Wolfson, State Politics Reporter

Was it a red wave? Was it not? These are the questions being posed by many Republicans around the United States and in Wyoming about the results of last week’s midterm election. The answer for most depends on what their expectations were entering Election Day.

“We just had a big election,” said Wyoming Republican Party Chairman Frank Eathorne at the party’s Central Committee meeting Saturday in Casper. “Some say, ‘Where’s the red wave?’ And their opinions vary.”

Many polls and analysts prior to the election predicted Republicans taking a more than 20-seat lead in the U.S. House of Representatives and having a solid chance of also taking a majority in the U.S. Senate as well. Republicans have gained at least eight seats in the House, and as of Tuesday afternoon were likely to take at least a small majority in that chamber, but will remain the minority party in the Senate.

Glass Half Full For GOP

Gary Welch, chairman of the Big Horn County Republican Party, said he believes the election was a red wave because Republicans did much better in traditionally blue areas like New York. 

In New York, Democrats lost almost every closely contested congressional seat and all four seats in Long Island. The state’s incumbent Democrat governor was reelected by just six points. In the Oregon governor’s race, a Democrat won by less than four points.

“I believe there was a red wave,” Welch said.

David Bossie, deputy campaign manager for former President Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential bid, spoke to the Wyoming Republican Party on Saturday. 

He told Cowboy State Daily taking a majority in the House was a victory in itself no matter the margin because Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-California, will be demoted to minority floor leader, a move he said will still stop President Joe Biden’s “radical left-wing” agenda.

“Firing Nancy Pelosi is a victory for America in my opinion,” Bossie said. “It is a victory.”

He also cited the Nevada gubernatorial win of Republican Joe Lombardo and the possibility Republican Herschel Walker will win his runoff election in Georgia.

Glass Half Empty

Many Republicans on a national level, such as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Trump, have expressed a more negative reaction to GOP candidates not achieving a more sweeping, dominant wave of wins.

Trump is expected to announce Tuesday night his intention to run for the White House again in 2024.

“There were a lot, a lot of disappointments,” DeSantis told reporters Tuesday when asked about Trump’s planned announcement. “That’s just the reality. It was a hugely underwhelming, disappointing performance, especially given that Biden’s policies are overwhelmingly unpopular.”

Trump has blamed Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, for the election results and criticized the idea of DeSantis potentially running against him for president.

U.S. Sen. Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyoming, signaled a departure from Trump on Monday, describing DeSantis as the leader of the Republican Party.

New Leadership?

During the Wyoming Republican Party Central Committee meeting Saturday, chairman Eathorne opened another channel of possible blame, asking members of his party to provide feedback about Ronna McDaniel, chairman of the Republican National Committee. 

“What I’d like to ask you to do is lean into that conversation,” Eathorne told his party delegation. “Gather your facts and send your opinions to me because I’m going to need, and I think the other two voting members on behalf of Wyoming on the Republican National Committee, are going to need some guidance on who to help choose.”

On Monday, McDaniel announced she will run for a fourth term.

“She’s done a lot of good things,” Eathorne said. “She’s accomplished a lot of big objectives on our behalf. Maybe it’s time for a new leader.”

McDaniel’s leadership has been questioned amid the GOP’s mixed election results, with conservatives like Matt Gaetz, R-Florida, demanding new leadership at every level of the Republican Party, including replacing House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-California.

Harriet Hageman, Wyoming’s U.S. Congress-elect, does not agree with this line of thinking when it comes to getting rid of McCarthy, who was easily reelected Tuesday.

“Defeating (U.S. Rep.) Liz (Cheney) was (a) team effort,” Hageman said in response to Gaetz on Twitter on Friday. “Kevin united over half the conference in support of my campaign. He was an ally in returning Wyoming’s seat to Wyoming.”

Wyoming Goes More Red

Wyoming’s local elections were much more aligned with the red wave prediction. Republicans won every state-level election by a landslide and the GOP added six seats to its supermajority in the state House of Representatives. 

“Republicans fared extremely well, Wyoming really did have a red wave,” said Corey Steinmetz, national committeeman for the Wyoming Republican Party. “I applaud the efforts of our county parties and state party in getting Republicans elected.”

Elected secretary of state was Rep. Chuck Gray, R-Casper, one of three winning candidates nationwide who ran for this position and questioned the results of the 2020 presidential election. Other election-denier candidates lost their bids for secretary of state in 10 states, according to States United Action. The secretary of state in Wyoming and most other states oversees elections.

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