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Cheney Tops Fundraising Efforts In Third Quarter, Totaling $5.1M

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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney continues to lead all the Republican candidates for Wyoming’s lone U.S. House seat for fundraising, according to federal figures, raising more than $1.7 million in the third quarter of the year.

The reports for the period running from July 1 through Sept. 30 showed Cheney, who has not yet announced whether she will seek reelection, received $1.3 million from individuals and $67,900 from political action committees. She also received about $342,400 from other “other authorized committees,” which can include the campaign committees of other politicians.

The donations in the third quarter brought Cheney’s fundraising total to $5.1 million since the beginning of the year.

For fundraising during the third quarter of the year, Cheney was followed by Harriet Hageman, who raised $301,921 in the third quarter even though she did not announce her candidacy until Sept. 9, with less than one month remaining in the reporting period.

All of Hageman’s donations came from individuals.

State Sen. Anthony Bouchard, R-Cheyenne, raised $65,560 during the quarter, bringing his total donations for the year to $613,428. All of Bouchard’s donations so far this year have come from individuals.

State Rep. Charles Gray, R-Casper, who ended his campaign for Congress when Hageman announced her candidacy, raised $113,195 during the quarter, all from individuals. Gray’s campaign ended with a total of $209,209 in donations and $298,318 in loans.

Denton Knapp, a retired U.S. Army colonel from Gillette, raised $10,925 in the third quarter, all from individuals, bringing his total donations to $19,600, while Riverton’s Marissa Joy Selvig raised $3,909 to bring her total donations to $7,074.

Virginia residents continued to be the biggest contributors to Cheney’s campaign, donating $307,455, followed by California residents at $217,677. 

Wyoming residents donated $100,930 to Cheney so far this year, the FEC reports said, placing Wyoming behind seven other states as donation sources for Cheney. Hageman’s FEC filings showed that more than half of her donations, about $164,000, came from Wyoming individuals.

Wyoming residents were also the top donors to Bouchard’s campaign, contributing $46,490 so far this year, the reports showed.

Of Knapp’s $10,925, $5,400 came from donors in California, while Wyoming residents donated $3,600 to his campaign.

Most of Selvig’s donations, $1,475, have come from Wyoming residents, with $1,000 coming from Colorado residents.

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Legislators Divided Over Whether Wyoming Should Have Special Session On Vaccine Mandate

in News/Coronavirus/politics
Wyoming State Capitol

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Wyoming’s legislators are divided over whether or not the state should hold a special session regarding President Joe Biden’s proposed vaccine mandates.

In September, Biden announced that federal workers, health care workers and employees at companies that employ more than 100 people will have to be vaccinated against coronavirus or be tested every week for the illness.

Wyoming’s legislators have until Thursday to vote on whether or not the state should hold a special session regarding the mandate.

Nine members of Wyoming’s Democratic Caucus told legislative leadership that they would be voting against the session. These members included Reps. Cathy Connolly, Mike Yin, Karlee Provenza and Andi Clifford and Sens. Chris Rothfuss and Mike Gierau.

“After considering the $25,000 per day cost of a special session, the lack of released federal rules in regards to how OSHA may enforce vaccine mandates, and the Supremacy Clause of the US Constitution that indicates that federal laws override state directives, we believe a special session would be an undue burden to the taxpayer, a waste of time and resources for legislators and our staff, and would further cause an undue burden to Wyoming businesses who would be forced to choose  between following state OR federal law, requiring them to be in violation of one or the other,” the caucus wrote. 

Rep. Landon Brown, R-Cheyenne, was one of the Republican members of the legislature who also voted against the special session.

“My stance is clear: Our President’s mandate has no place in Wyoming,” Brown said. “Unfortunately, we have no clue what his mandate looks like under rule making process and we would be fighting against a rule that doesn’t exist yet. While I believe President Biden’s proposed rule is too far for government to reach, I also believe it is too far for government to enter into the hiring practices of private businesses.”

“If a private business wishes to impose hiring protocols that an employee is uncomfortable with, they have the choice to not enter into that employment,” he said. “Likewise, the business should be ready to suffer the consequences of the choices they choose to impose or not impose on their employees and the response from the public. Let the business succeed or fail based on their merit, not on government interference.”

Former Speaker of the House Kermit Brown praised Brown (no relation) for his vote.

“Courageous vote and absolutely the right thing to do. We don’t need to be getting in lawsuits with the Feds,” Kermit Brown wrote. “They are horribly expensive and trying to overcome the supremacy clause in the US Constitution is an uphill battle.”

“I always figured each day of the legislature cost $30,000 and I think I am low especially for a short special session. We are broke and don’t know it and we cannot afford silly expenditures like this,” he said.

As of Wednesday morning, a dozen senators had voted to hold the special session, while four had voted to not hold it. More than 25 representatives had also voted to hold the session.

Sen. Anthony Bouchard, R-Cheyenne, was one of the senators who voted to hold the session, posting a photo of his ballot to social media that included a post-it note with a message to legislative leadership.

“We now need a special session because the Republican establishment killed my bill on the same subject,” Bouchard wrote on the ballot. “Of course I will vote yes on the special session. Don’t Fauci our Wyoming!”

Rep. Chuck Gray, R-Casper, also voted for the session.

“The dates of October 26-28 have also been scheduled for the special session, which would allow us to pass a bill banning mandates before the Banner Health deadline goes into effect,” Gray wrote on social media. “This is great news for our state! We must stop these radical vaccine mandates.”

It was not immediately clear whether the plan was to hold the session in person or virtually, but it would be around $45,000 cheaper to hold a session online.

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Park County GOP Chooses Not To Censure Member Over Violent & Vulgar Email

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By CJ Baker, Powell Tribune

Leaders of the Park County Republican Party have decided not to take action against a precinct committeeman for a vulgar email he sent to a state lawmaker last month.

At a Thursday meeting in Cody, members of the party’s central committee rejected a motion that would have asked Troy Bray to resign and then narrowly voted down a motion to censure him. The party held its nearly hour-long discussion in a closed-door executive session and told the roughly two dozen members present to not speak about it, leaving the details unclear.

While not commenting on what was discussed, Park County Republican Party Chairman Martin Kimmet said no one on the central committee condones what Bray said to state Sen. Tara Nethercott, R-Cheyenne.

“Any sane person knows one does wrong when they say something like that,” Kimmet said.

However, the chairman expressed frustration about the amount of attention paid to the email, saying the press and others have “beat this thing to death” despite Bray apologizing.

“How much of a pound of flesh do you want? They made it so tough that the man [Bray] lost his job … because he used a couple profanities,” Kimmet said. “Is that justice? I don’t think so.”

“I think that is as big a wrong or more of a wrong than using those profanities,” Kimmet added. “He was exercising his First Amendment rights,”

In Bray’s Sept. 12 email, the Powell resident expressed anger about Nethercott’s handling of a bill last winter that sought to prevent coerced vaccinations. Bray said the legislation — which was rejected by the Senate Judiciary Committee on a 4-1 vote — would have negated President Joe Biden’s ongoing efforts to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations (Nethercott says the bill would have had little effect.) The rest of Bray’s message criticized Nethercott, saying she’d ensured that Wyomingites would be subjected to tyranny.

“If I were as despicable a person as you, I would kill myself to rid the world of myself,” he wrote in part to the Senate Judiciary chairwoman, concluding with the line, “F— YOU C—.”

Bray signed it with his titles as a precinct committeeman and as secretary of Park County Republican Men’s Club. When they learned of the email, the men’s club requested Bray’s resignation, which he gave, and both it and Kimmet reached out to Nethercott to say the message didn’t represent their groups.

Comments criticized

After the contents of Bray’s message were published by the Casper Star-Tribune, the Speaker of the Wyoming House of Representatives, Eric Barlow, R-Gillette, and Senate President Dan Dockstader, R-Afton, called on Bray to resign his position within the Park County Republican Party.

“Attacking a state legislator through use of violent, lewd and derogatory language cannot and will not go unanswered in Wyoming,” Barlow and Dockstader wrote on Sept. 22, calling on the county and state parties to join them in seeking Bray’s resignation.

Three newspapers around the state also denounced the remarks in editorials and former Republican gubernatorial candidate Sam Galeotos did the same in a weekend column, calling for “a more forceful cry for censure and resignation” from the state and county parties, lawmakers and the Park County community. Galeotos said that pursuing accountability would discourage similar episodes and “go a long way toward promoting civil debate as a continuing standard in Wyoming.”

In an Oct. 1 statement, the Wyoming Republican Party called Bray’s comments inappropriate, obscene and vile — and said that type of communication “is neither appropriate or effective.”

However, “despite calls by the liberal media and others to dictate from the top down in a heavy-handed fashion, the party will not engage in ‘cancel culture’ tactics, nor will we participate in destroying people for poor decisions, judgment, and behavior,” the Wyoming Republican Party statement said in part. The party said the matter should be handled at the county level.

Bray apologized to Nethercott for the “inappropriate” language he used in the email — specifically the final word — but resisted the calls to resign his position as precinct committeeman.

In a Facebook post in September, Bray said he wouldn’t be bullied — and that the “cowardice and pettiness” shown by Nethercott and her supporters amid the controversy “proves every other word of my e-mail.” In an interview, Bray said he lost his job after his employer received a steady stream of phone calls complaining about his message.

Ahead of Thursday evening’s Park County Republican Party Central Committee meeting, Bray invited any local Republicans — and specifically those from his precinct, which encompasses much of the southern part of Powell — to a morning meeting at the Red Zone Sports Bar and Grill.

Only a few people showed up.

“My take on it is nobody really is that upset about it [the email],” Bray said of the low turnout. “I’m not taking it as a sign that everyone said they would have said the same thing, but they weren’t terribly upset.”

However, one of the people who attended Bray’s precinct meeting was Josh Shorb, a rural Powell Republican who took issue with the email.

“I didn’t agree with the language he used,” Shorb said in an interview. “… I said, ‘I don’t care if you would have wrote her a letter that the sky is blue and then used that language.’ The message … with what he disagreed with is immaterial to me; it’s the language. You don’t talk to somebody like that and you don’t talk to a lady like that.”

Shorb also said he felt like “there’s some things you just can’t apologize for.”

Closed-door discussion

At the central committee meeting, held at the Cody Cowboy Church, Shorb served as a proxy for another committee member and made a motion to ask Bray to resign his position.

Before he finished the sentence, other members of the party called for the subject to be taken up in a closed-door executive session. Attendees who weren’t members of the central committee were then asked to step outside the church, while committee members were told to turn off their cellphones and place them on a table in the front of the sanctuary.

The county party’s handling of the discussion differed from past efforts to censure then-state Sen. Hank Coe, R-Cody, in 2014 and U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., earlier this year, which were held in the open. The Park County Republican Party’s bylaws don’t address executive sessions, but Kimmet indicated the decision was based on Robert’s Rules of Order.

In interviews, both he and Bray indicated the issue is now over with.

“The man did something wrong, he apologized for it … and Sen. Nethercott accepted that apology,” Kimmet said. “To me, that’s where it should have ended instead of certain people and certain press making a political issue of it. Really, it wasn’t a political issue, it was a personal issue.”

Other people “should have stayed out of it, and they cost that poor man,” Kimmet said, referring to the loss of Bray’s job. The chairman said there were more important issues, specifically naming the Cody school board’s spending and handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Compared to other meetings the party has held this year, Thursday’s gathering had low attendance, with only 27 of the party’s roughly 75 precinct committeemen and women or their proxies present, representing 36 votes at the start of the meeting.

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Fox Host Questions Barrasso’s Lack Of Support for Policies Benefitting Wyoming

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

U.S. Sen. John Barrasso’s opposition to the budget reconciliation bill even though it contains provisions that would benefit Wyoming drew some sharp questions over the weekend from Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace.

During Barrasso’s appearance on the show, Wallace pointed out that the Republican is opposing the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill, which contains an extension and increase of the child tax credit that the senator supported when he voted for former President Donald Trump’s tax cuts in 2017.

“Your state of Wyoming is one of the states that benefits most from the increase in the child tax credit. Why oppose that?” Wallace asked.

Barrasso began to discuss the bill’s multi-trillion dollar price tag, but Wallace interrupted him, asking the senator be specific about the child tax credit.

“It’s part of the bigger bill,” Barrasso said. “The issue for any member of the Senate or Congress, you have to look at the entire bill and say either you’re for it or you’re not.”

The senator also claimed congressional Democrats were not coming to talk with Republicans about any of the issues in the bill.

Wallace also questioned Barrasso on universal pre-kindergarten, another part of the bill.

“In the state of Wyoming, less than one-quarter of children 3 to 4, who would be covered in the bill, are enrolled in publicly funded preschool. Less than a quarter,” the Fox News host said. “Wouldn’t a lot of Wyoming families benefit from universal Pre-K?”

While the senator concluded some elements of the bill would benefit Wyoming residents, overall, the benefits did not outweigh the bill’s shortcomings.

“There’s a number of things that would help Wyoming,” he said. “Overall, Joe Biden’s policies have been hurting the people of Wyoming.”

Barrasso also said that he did not support universally free things such as community college, pre-K and daycare, adding there should be some sort of work requirements for recipients.

“That’s not the way our country has been founded,” he said.

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Hageman Says She Was Fooled Into Opposing Trump In 2016

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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

Congressional candidate Harriet Hageman was fooled into opposing the presidential bid of former President Donald Trump in 2016 by “Democrats and Liz Cheney’s friends in the media,” she said Monday.

Hageman, responding to a New York Times article about her current support for Trump compared to her opposition to his campaign in 2016, said she learned that what was being said about Trump then was untrue.

“The fact is, I heard and believed the lies the Democrats and Liz Cheney’s friends in the media were telling at the time, but that is ancient history as I quickly realized their allegations against President Trump were untrue. They lied about him before he was elected and continue to lie about him to this day.”

Hageman has won Trump’s endorsement of her campaign for the Republican nomination for Wyoming’s U.S. House seat. The former president has vowed to oppose U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney’s re-election because of her vote to impeach him in connection with the Jan. 6 invasion of the Capitol.

Cheney has not formally announced whether she will seek re-election, but Hageman, in announcing her candidacy, specifically targeted Cheney for what she called Cheney’s betrayal of Wyoming voters.

The New York Times article, written by Reid J. Epstein, described Hageman’s condemnation of Trump as “somebody who is racist and xenophobic.”

The article called Hageman’s current support for Trump “one of the most striking illustrations yet of the political elasticity demonstrated both by ambitious Republicans in the Trump era and by the former president himself…”

But Hageman said support for Trump was common among Republicans who took a closer look at him during the 2016 GOP Convention.

“It’s true I was a (U.S. Sen. Ted) Cruz delegate at the convention in 2016, as were most of the Wyoming delegates,” she said. “Like me, there were a lot of people who initially supported other candidates and then came to rally behind President Trump when he won the nomination.”

Wyoming’s Republican Party in 2016 backed Cruz’s presidential campaign.

Hageman added she is proud to support Trump now.

“He was the greatest president of my lifetime and I am proud to have been able to re-nominate him in 2020,” she said. “And I’m proud to strongly support him today. Our country would be in a better place with him still in office.”

The New York Times article also discussed what it called Hageman’s involvement during the 2016 convention in an effort to “unbind” delegates who had pledged support to one candidate so they could vote for any candidate to be the GOP’s presidential candidate.

Hageman said as a member of the convention’s Rules Committee, she focused on two issues. One was to close primaries so that only registered Republicans could vote in GOP primary elections.

The other was a proposal to give states with a high proportion of Republican officials, such as Wyoming, more delegates at the convention.

“In a state like Wyoming, where we have a Republican governor, a Legislature that is primarily Republican, and an all-Republican congressional delegation, we should be rewarded for that,” she said.

Hageman dismissed the New York Times story as “the national news media trying to ride to Liz Cheney’s defense by attacking me.”

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Park County GOP Official Refuses To Resign After Sending Violent Email to GOP Senator

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

A Park County Republican Party official is refusing to resign in the wake of criticism he received for sending a violent and obscene email to a state senator despite calls from Wyoming legislative leadership for him to step down.

Park County Republican Precinct Committeeman Troy Bray said in a social media post he would not step down because of the missive he sent state Sen. Tara Nethercott, R-Cheyenne, criticizing her for how she handled a bill that would have banned the state from requiring its employees to get the corronvirus vaccine.

“If I were as despicable a person as you, I would kill myself to rid the world of myself,” said the email, a copy of which was obtained by the Casper Star-Tribune. “You sicken me. Thank you for ensuring that the people of Wyoming are subjected to tyranny once again. F— YOU C—.” 

Bray said he apologized to Nethercott for the language he used in the email but was staying put with his position in the Park County Republican Party.

“I have resigned as Secretary of the Park County Republican Men’s Club after being asked to by the executive committee, but I will not resign as precinct committeeman,” he said on Facebook. “I have also received a bit of pressure from the leftists/ RINO class of scum, including a gentleman calling my employer demanding that I be fired.”

Bray said his employer would not cave to pressure, which he appreciated.

In the post, he again apologized to Nethercott for the language he used, calling it “inappropriate”.

“The cowardice and pettiness being shown by you and your supporters proves every other word of my e-mail. I will not be bullied, nor will I allow bullies to win. Have a wonderful day,” Bray said.

In her response to Bray’s initial email, Nethercott did not mention either Bray’s suggestion that she commit suicide or the obscenity it contained. Instead, she thanked the precinct committeeman for reaching out to her to share his opinions.

Bray did not respond to Cowboy State Daily’s request for comment.

He did, however, receive support from at least three members of the Wyoming State Legislature.

Sen. Troy McKeown (R-Campbell County) and Rep. Dan Laursen (R-Powell) both “liked” Bray’s Facebook post. McKeown also commented, “Troy, we can’t quit.” His comment was subsequently “liked” by colleague Rep. Robert Wharff (R-Evanston).

State Sen. Anthony Bouchard, R-Cheyenne, who has battled Nethercott in the past, spoke up in the comment section as well.

Bouchard said Bray would not get an apology from Nethercott for being “an absolute tyrant.”

“She either really believes that government isn’t out of control -or- she’s part of the progressive movement,” Bouchard wrote. “I personally pick the latter. Remember she was part of the cabal that stripped the bill to protect the second amendment while Biden is in power. We need fewer lawyers, they just make horrible representatives of freedom. I’m tired of being told to be nice to Liars and Tyrants.”

Neither Bouchard nor Laursen responded to Cowboy State Daily’s request for comment.

Earlier Thursday, Park County Republican Party chairman Martin Kimmet said there was no way to remove Bray from his position because he is an elected official.

“Despite calls for the precinct committee person’s resignation/removal there are no Wyoming state statutes providing for the removal of an elected person,” Kimmet wrote. “We welcome efforts by the Wyoming Legislature to provide a statutory and constitutional process to remove an elected person from their position.”

Former legislator and chair of the Wyoming Republican Party Diemer True on Wednesday called the email “disgusting” but representative of the current state of affairs within the 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.

In Wednesday’s statement, Kimmet specified the party does not support the language used by Bray.

“The Park County Republican Party does not condone the language used in a recent email from one of our precinct committeepersons to a Wyoming state senator,” the statement said. “Furthermore, that email is not reflective of the opinion of the Park County Republican Party.”

Kimmet said after he learned of the email, he sent a letter to and called Nethercott to apologize.

The Park County Republican Party’s executive committee has met to discuss the issue and will take up the matter again at a regular meting of the central committee, he said.

“We believe in constructive dialog with our elected persons,” he wrote. “However, we believe such dialog should be respectful.”

State Senate President Dan Dockstader, R-Afton, and House Speaker Rep. Eric Barlow, R-Gillette, issued a joint statement Tuesday calling for Bray’s resignation.

The two said they would also support efforts to develop “appropriate statutory means” to remove elected officials for such behavior.

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Cheyenne GOP Rep Worries Wyoming Will Be Only State Without Hate Crime Law

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

A Republican state representative from Cheyenne believes that Wyoming could be the last state in the nation without a hate crime statute, more than 20 years after the state was thrust into the national spotlight due to a hate crime.

Rep. Dan Zwonitzer, R-Cheyenne, told Cowboy State Daily on Tuesday that he believes the state needs such a statute.

His comments came less than one week after the Joint Judiciary Committee “voted down legislation that would have updated statutory language to create a…hate crime law in Wyoming,” according to WyoFile.

The committee also voted down a bill that would have brought law enforcement agencies’ reporting protocols in line with federal standards, WyoFile reported.

“I continue to believe Wyoming needs a bias-motivated crime statute. We are slated to be the only state in America without a statute at this point,” Zwonitzer told Cowboy State Daily on Tuesday. “Wyoming will continue to find statutory language which will work for Wyoming.”

Along with Arkansas and South Carolina, Wyoming remains one of three states without hate crime legislation.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations, the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, on Monday called for the reintroduction of hate crime bills in the Wyoming legislature.

“With racism and bigotry on the rise across the country, legislation protecting vulnerable communities is vital,” said CAIR Government Affairs Director Robert McCaw. “We urge lawmakers in Wyoming and nationwide to enact legislation providing strong penalties for bias-motivated crimes.” 

McCaw noted that CAIR offered support for the legislation when it was proposed in June. 

Discussions of hate crime legislation have been brewing for nearly 20 years, following the murder of Matthew Shepherd, a gay man, in Laramie.

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University Of Wyoming Football Attendees Chant “F— Joe Biden” During Saturday Game

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

A crowd at the University of Wyoming football game on Saturday followed what appears to be somewhat of a trend and participated in an obscene chant disparaging President Joe Biden, a video posted to social media showed.

It isn’t clear how many people are repeating the chant at War Memorial Stadium in Laramie, but their words can be heard distinctly: “F–k Joe Biden.”

The action received a mild rebuke from the University of Wyoming on Monday.

“The university doesn’t condone this type of behavior and encourages a family atmosphere at UW athletic competitions,” university spokesman Chad Baldwin said. “However, we recognize the right to free expression by our students and others. UW encourages respectful dialogue where there are political and other differences”

According to OutKick, a sports/political site founded by Clay Travis who replaced Rush Limbaugh on the radio earlier this year, this chant has become popular at college sports events all over the country, being heard at football games in Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi.

The chant also surfaced at anti-vaccine rally in New York on Saturday and a Luke Bryan concert in Ohio on Sunday.

At the show, Bryan appeared to laugh at the shouts but later strummed along to the chant.

“Hide the beer,” he laughed.

Trying to transition the crowd from the chant to his next song, Bryan lightly scolded the crowd by telling them the slogan “wasn’t nice” but said he loved them all anyway.

Saturday’s Wyoming clip was included in articles on a number of conservative website over the weekend including Breitbart and The Daily Caller.

The only major news site to mention the chant is Britain’s Daily Mail which reported the chants were also heard in Coastal Carolina, Virginia Tech, Auburn, Alabama State, Mississippi State, North Carolina State and Texas A&M.

More than 179,000 people had viewed the video of the UW football attendees chanting as of Monday morning. More than 250 people retweeted the video, with most of the users poking fun at the crowd for living in Wyoming in the first place.

“To be fair @wyoathletics@wyo_football are pretty irrelevant so they need something to get known for,” user Daniel Johnson wrote.

“PS… Wyoming comes to CT to play UConn next weekend, top 5 most liberal states in the country, this should be fun! Lol” user Nick G wrote.

“Wait aren’t we supposed to keep politics out of sports?” user Abby Kleinschmidt wrote.

“University of Wyoming is in Albany County. Albany County voted for Biden 48.8-46.1 in 2020. But it’s fun to chant in the U.S.A.,” user Dan wrote.

Some users also pointed out that coronavirus infection numbers continue to rise nationally and that people could likely get sick from attending the football game. Just over 36% of the state is fully vaccinated.

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Hageman Won’t Acknowledge Biden’s Presidency In Interview

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Congressional candidate Harriet Hageman declined to acknowledge the presidency of Joe Biden several times in an interview with CNN this week.

In an interview published Thursday, Hageman also called former President Donald Trump the “leader of the [Republican] party” and questioned the integrity of the 2020 election.

“She repeatedly declined to acknowledge that Joe Biden won, and said, ‘I think that there are legitimate questions about what happened during the 2020 election,'” said the article published on CNN’s website. “Hageman said, ‘The legitimate questions are: ‘What happened?'”

The idea that Biden did not legitimately win the White House has been blamed as a root cause of the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, as Congress was certifying the results from November’s general election.

Hageman announced her candidacy for Wyoming’s lone U.S. House seat last week, just hours before Trump endorsed her campaign.

In an interview with Fox News she gave last week, Hageman said she was running for the seat because U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney had “betrayed” Wyoming.

“It’s very simple: Liz Cheney has betrayed Wyoming,” Hageman said. “She betrayed all of us and she betrayed me. Had I known five years ago that Liz Cheney would align herself with [Speaker of the House Nancy] Pelosi and the radical Democrats in Washington, D.C., I probably wouldn’t have taken that first phone call.”

Hageman said she is unhappy with Cheney’s vote to impeach Trump earlier this year on allegations he encouraged attendees at a rally to invade the U.S. Capitol and her appointment to serve on a commission investigating the invasion.

During her interview, Hageman made a dig at Cheney’s lack of time spent in Wyoming. Hageman noted she is a Wyoming native whose family has lived in the state for generations.

“The state of Wyoming deserves to be represented by someone from Wyoming, by someone who was born and raised here, as I was, someone who has Wyoming’s best interests at heart,” she said.

Cheney was not impressed with the candidacy announcement or Trump endorsement.

“She [Hageman] is now abandoning that principle, sacrificing her oath, abandoning her duty to the people of Wyoming — in order to pledge loyalty to Donald Trump,” Cheney said in a call with Wyoming reporters last week.

Cheney said it was “tragic to see that kind of opportunism” and was “inconsistent with Wyoming values.”

Two candidates have dropped out of the race since Hageman’s announcement: Cheyenne attorney Darin Smith and Casper Rep. Chuck Gray.

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Anti-Biden Vaccine Mandate Special Legislative Session Would Cost At Least $118K

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Wyoming State Capitol

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

An in-person, three-day special legislative session to discuss possible reactions to President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate would cost the state around $118,000, the Legislative Service Office told Cowboy State Daily on Wednesday.

Gov. Mark Gordon is considering calling a special session as early as October to address the vaccine mandate.

LSO spokesman Ryan Frost told Cowboy State Daily on Wednesday that the mileage and per diem for travel by legisaltors to and from Cheyenne for the session would cost $23,000. Daily salary and per diem costs covering the expenses of legislators while in Cheyenne would run $24,000.

“Therefore, the estimated member cost for an in-person three day special session in Cheyenne would be $118,000 plus $24,000 for each additional day in session over three days,” Frost said. “Mileage and per diem for all legislators would likely not be necessary for a remote special session, reducing the estimated member cost by up to $72,000. Added to either option would be the costs associated with the number of session staff that would need to be retained.”

It would be more than $45,000 cheaper to conduct a special session by video conferencing through a service such as Zoom, rather than having all legislators meet in Cheyenne.

As for the session itself, Sen. Ogden Driskill, R-Devils Tower, said it would likely be conducted via video conferencing instead of in-person as the cost savings would be significant.

Biden last week announced that federal employees, health care workers and employees of companies with more than 100 workers would be required to either get the vaccine or be tested for coronavirus weekly. The rules would be enforced by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, which could levy fines against companies that fail to comply with the order.

Driskill said there is a 90% likelihood that the Legislature will hold a special session to address President Joe Biden’s sweeping national vaccine mandate.

Driskill told Cowboy State Daily on Tuesday that he envisioned a two- to three-day session where legislators would focus on strategies to fight the president’s mandate which would, in effect, force thousands of Wyoming workers to receive a COVID vaccine or be fired.

“The Legislature has listened closely to the people of Wyoming,” Driskill said.  “We agree with the people that this is egregious overreach by the Biden administration.  It is worthy of whatever the expense is to fight for Wyoming citizens’ rights.”

Gordon is preparing for both legislative and legal action to block the vaccination mandate issued last week by President Joe Biden, he announced Wednesday.

Gordon said he has advised Attorney General Bridget Hill to begin preparing a lawsuit to stop the mandate as it applies to private employers and has also started talking with legislators about holding a special legislative session, if necessary, to address the federal order.

“We cannot sit on our hands just watching this egregious example of federal government overreach,” Gordon said in a statement. “We are already communicating with other governors and states to prepare legal options once emergency standards are issued.”

The need for a special legislative session will be determined by the nature of the federal rules adopted to put the mandate in place, Gordon said.

“If there is a need and ability for the Legislature to respond to the emergency standards, specific bills and the rules for the session will be drafted,” the statement said.

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