Category archive

politics - page 2

Bouchard’s Campaign Donations Evaporate In Latest Quarter Report

in News/politics
16738

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Donations have slowed for the congressional campaign of state Sen. Anthony Bouchard, R-Cheyenne, who brought in about $26,000 in the fourth quarter of 2021, according to the latest Federal Election Commission reports.

Bouchard brought in $25,867 during the fourth quarter of the year, FEC reports showed. This was third in the congressional race, with incumbent U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney bringing in $2 million during the same period and Cheyenne attorney Harriet Hageman bringing in a little more than $443,000.

“There’s no doubt that out-of-state billionaires raising the bulk of my opponent’s money have changed the dynamics here in Wyoming,” Bouchard told Cowboy State Daily on Tuesday. “I’ll do what I’ve been doing since being elected in 2016, and that’s continue to fight for the people, while staying the course in this campaign.”

After announcing his campaign to unseat Cheney, Bouchard brought in donations of six figures during the first two quarters of the campaign season.

However, following the revelation that Bouchard impregnated and married a teenager when he was younger, as well as Hageman’s entry into the race, donations slowed.

In the first quarter of the campaign, Bouchard raised $334,541. In the second, he saw a total of $213,327 in donations.

The third quarter saw Bouchard’s campaign donations fall by more than half, with $65,560 raised during that period. Bouchard actually came in fourth during this period, beat out by Cheney, Hageman and state Rep. Chuck Gray, R-Casper, who has since dropped out of the race.

Hageman entered the congressional race in September, with a glowing endorsement from former President Donald Trump quickly following. Cheyenne attorney Darin Smith and Gray both dropped out of the race following her campaign announcement.

However, Poley told Cowboy State Daily in the third quarter that Bouchard had no intention of dropping out of the race, despite the donation slowdown. In October, she said that he was focused on more pressing issues.

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

Zwonitzer Calls Complaint About Residency A ‘Political Hit Job’

in News/politics
16686

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Rep. Dan Zwonitzer, R-Cheyenne, said he was blindsided over the weekend when he discovered his residency was a topic of discussion during the Wyoming Republican Party’s central committee meeting.

The Wyoming House Speaker Eric Barlow R-Gillette said Friday he has started to collect information as part of an investigation into Zwonitzer’s residency requested by the Wyoming Republican Party’s central committee.

In an interview with Cowboy State Daily on Friday, Zwonitzer called the accusations that he does not live in House District 43, which he has represented for 18 years, “ludicrous,” adding the state GOP’s call for an investigation into his residency a “political hit job.”

“Why would my own party attack me without giving me the benefit of a simple phone call or email?” Zwonitzer said.

He noted that the residency complaint came up as an “emergency issue” during the central committee meeting, and no one alerted him ahead of time about it.

The party’s central committee agreed Saturday to ask the secretary of state’s office to look into whether Zwonitzer has moved out of House District 43.

The decision was made in response to a concern raised by Joey Correnti IV, chairman of the Carbon County Republican Party, who said he wanted to see if the central committee thought the issue merited further review. Correnti said he was approached by others who made him aware of the problem and, after research to collect some documents, he took the matter directly to the central committee.

Zwonitzer said he was surprised to learn that questions about his residency in HD43 had been circulating for several weeks among Republican officials, while he had heard nothing about the issue.

He also questioned who gave the information to Correnti.

On Thursday, Secretary of State Ed Buchanan referred the complaint to the Wyoming House of Representatives. Zwonitzer has been asked to write an affidavit and collect information to send to House and Legislative Service Office officials, which he will likely have completed by next week.

“I don’t have any concerns [about the review],” he said. “I think I’ll be vindicated. I fully trust the legislative process to do what it does.”

On Friday, Barlow detailed the information he is collecting as he looks into the matter.

“I am conferring with House Leadership and LSO legal staff on the manner in which to proceed under the Wyoming Constitution and the Rules of the House of Representatives,” Barlow said. “Additionally, I have requested Representative Zwonitzer respond to the allegations in writing. Once I have received his response and understand the options available for resolving this matter in an appropriate and expeditious manner, I will propose a course of action.”

Zwonitzer believes the complaint is just a distraction from other political issues, such as the appointment of the new superintendent of public instruction, redistricting and the work that will need to be done when the Legislature convenes next month.

Redistricting is the process of redrawing House and Senate district boundaries to conform with new census figures.

Zwonitzer is the co-chair of the Legislature’s Joint Corporations, Elections and Political Subdivisions Committee, which is responsible for developing redistricting plans with an eye toward keeping population numbers within different districts as close to equal as possible.

As part of his presentation to the GOP central committee, Correnti said he was concerned that some of the redistricting plans proposed by Zwonitzer appeared to change the boundaries of HD43 to include the part of HD10 where Zwonitzer bought a residence with his spouse.

Zwonitzer said it is no secret that he bought a property near Carpenter, in HD10, where his spouse lives and is registered to vote. But Zwonitzer and his youngest child are living in HD43.

He added he has done his best to keep his personal feelings separate from his work on the redistricting maps.

As of now, he has no plans to move into HD10, but he did not rule the idea out in the future.

“I’m only 42, so never say never,” he said.

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

Wyoming GOP Celebrates Judge Ruling In Its Favor In Superintendent Lawsuit

in News/politics
16681

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

The Wyoming Republican Party celebrated the news that a judge ruled in its favor in a lawsuit regarding the process it used to select nominees for the office of superintendent of public instruction.

A federal judge on Thursday denied a request for a temporary restraining order that would have blocked Gov. Mark Gordon from appointing a new superintendent from a list of three nominees filed by the Wyoming Republican Party’s central committee. The request was filed on the same day as a lawsuit alleging the GOP’s system for selecting nominees was unconstitutional.

Eathorne is named as a defendant in the lawsuit, which remains active despite the judge’s ruling on the restraining order, and he has maintained he is being sued for following the law.

“The Wyoming GOP wants to thank Chairman Frank Eathorne for his steadfast leadership in the face of Democrat-inspired attacks on him, the party, and Wyoming Republicans,” the party said on Friday. “Chairman Eathorne was savagely criticized for merely following the advice of not one, but two, different party lawyers, who rejected the Plaintiff’s unfounded requests to change the way voting has been performed for decades.”

The party praised Eathorne’s work as in the party as a precinct committeeman, a county central committee leader, a state central committee member and now as chairman of the entire party in the state.

“No one has more experience and understanding of the party process, or works harder for Wyoming Republicans than Chairman Eathorne, and no one is better equipped to stand up to the Democrats and liberals when these liberal attacks come,” the party said.

Shortly after the judge’s decision, Gordon named Brian Schroeder the new superintendent to finish out the unexpired term of Balow, who resigned earlier this month to take a similar job in Virginia. Balow’s term expires in January 2023.

Schroeder, Thomas Kelly and Marti Halverson were the three nominees chosen from a pool of about a dozen applicants.

“The Court has swiftly and decisively confirmed the propriety of Chairman Eathorne’s decision and the accuracy and effectiveness of the legal advice he received,” the party said. “Chairman Eathorne is to be commended for standing up to these political attacks and abuses of the legal system by those who seek to advance their liberal agenda by engaging in the politics of personal destruction,” the party said.

The Wyoming GOP was defended in the case by Tyler Green and Jeff Hetzel of the Washington, D.C. law firm of Consovoy McCarthy and Cheyenne lawyer Brian Shuck, with assistance from numerous other lawyers and dedicated Republicans.

“The Wyoming Republican Party assures Wyoming Republicans that we will never stop fighting for you and we’ll continue fighting these liberal attacks of lawfare,” the party said.

These are similar sentiments delivered by Eathorne earlier this week, following the lawsuit’s filing.

“Grassroots Republicans are being sued, by Democrats and a handful of self-important RINOs and (U.S. Rep. Liz) Cheney supporters, for following the law and completing its role in sending 3 names to the Governor so he can fill the vacancy created when Jillian Balow resigned, the same way elected official vacancies have been filled for decades in our state,” Eathorne said.  

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

Barrasso, Lummis Applaud Withdrawal Of Failed Biden Vaccine Mandate

in News/Coronavirus/politics
16656

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Both U.S. Sens. John Barrasso and Cynthia Lummis praised this week’s decision by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to withdraw the federal vaccine mandate for employees of large companies.

Both senators have been vocal in opposition to the mandate proposed by President Joe Biden, saying individuals should be able to choose their own health care. Barrasso has regularly said he is “pro-vaccine, but anti-mandate.”

“It’s about time the Biden administration officially withdrew its overreaching OSHA vaccine mandate on private businesses. As the Supreme Court recently ruled, this mandate is unconstitutional. Thousands of Wyoming workers can now make their own health care decisions without the fear of losing their job,” Barrasso said. “Now the administration must do the same for millions of health care workers. Health care facilities across the nation are short staffed. We shouldn’t make it even harder for hospitals, clinics and nursing homes to get people the care they need.” 

OSHA said Tuesday it will withdraw the requirement that workers at companies with 100 or more employees either get vaccinated or be regularly tested for coronavirus. The news came in a statement on the agency’s website.

Lummis also cited the right of an individual to choose his or her health care in hailing OSHA’s decision.

“Businesses across Wyoming are working hard to recover from the pandemic and from rising inflation. This mandate would have forced employers to step into the relationship between a patient and their doctor,” Lummis said. “I am vaccinated, and I encourage everyone to discuss the vaccine with their doctor, but it is ultimately a personal decision, and employers shouldn’t be forced to make that decision for their employees. It is irresponsible for the federal government to further burden Wyoming businesses with job-killing mandates.”

Earlier this year, Barrasso and Lummis joined 44 of their fellow senators and 136 representatives in filing an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court to support a block of the mandate on private businesses.

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court halted the implementation of the federal vaccine mandate as it applied to workers at large companies.

Wyoming had joined in a lawsuit aimed at stopping the mandate and Gov. Mark Gordon said he was “delighted” to hear of the court’s decision.

President Joe Biden announced in September that he would require federal employees , health care workers and workers at companies employing more than 100 people to get the coronavirus vaccine.

In response, Wyoming filed three lawsuits seeking to block the mandate for employees of large companies, health care workers and federal contractors and their employees.

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

Eathorne Calls Plaintiffs In Superintendent Lawsuit “RINOs,” “Cheney Supporters”

in News/Education/politics
16613

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Wyoming Republican Party Chairman Frank Eathorne lashed out Wednesday at the multiple plaintiffs who brought a lawsuit against the party over the way it selected nominees for an open statewide office, calling them “RINOs” and “Cheney supporters.”

Eathorne noted the lawsuit filed Tuesday took aim at the party for following state rules that have been in place for decades for picking nominees to fill open state offices.

“Grassroots Republicans are being sued, by Democrats and a handful of self-important RINOs and (U.S. Rep. Liz) Cheney supporters, for following the law and completing its role in sending 3 names to the Governor so he can fill the vacancy created when Jillian Balow resigned, the same way elected official vacancies have been filled for decades in our state,” Eathorne said.  

Balow resigned as superintendent of public instruction earlier this month to take a similar position in Virginia. Under Wyoming law, Gov. Mark Gordon is to select a replacement to finish her unexpired term — which runs until January 2023 — from a list of three nominees submitted by the Wyoming Republican Party’s central committee.

The lawsuit alleges that because the central committee is made up of three representatives from each county, counties with smaller populations have a greater influence over such decisions than counties with large populations, a violation of the equal protection clause of the Wyoming and U.S. constitutions.

Eathorne said on Wednesday that for the plaintiffs, the situation was not about the Constitution, but about control.

“If you ever wondered what Wyoming’s self-appointed good ol’ boys club looks like, this is it – former and current newspaper owners, Democrats, high-level university administrators, former legislators, wealthy elite, self-important Cheyenne lawyers, and all represented by Democrat (Former Gov. Dave) Freudenthal’s former Attorney General, Pat Crank,” he said.

He added that the plaintiffs had one thing in common: none of them were currently elected to serve Wyoming Republicans.

“They represent Wyoming’s past, full of smoky back rooms and political side deals,” Eathorne said. “They cannot stand that the Wyoming Republican grassroots has risen up and can outvote the lobbyists and lawyers who have controlled Wyoming politics in the past. These are the same people who support Liz Cheney, fight to preserve the ability for Democrats to crossover and interfere in Wyoming Republican primaries, vigorously oppose runoff elections, and seek to tear down and defeat Conservative principles.”

The party’s central committee selected three nominees for Gordon’s consideration from a field of 12 applicants during a meeting Saturday.

Gordon interviewed the three Tuesday and, by law, is to select a replacement for Balow by midnight Thursday. Gordon has been ordered by a federal judge not to make the selection before midnight Thursday to give the parties in the lawsuit a chance to comment on a request for a temporary restraining order that would block Gordon from picking any of the nominees.

Eathorne said the plaintiffs in the lawsuit view certain Republicans as “pawns on their chess board who are expendable in the service of their king.”

“The current leaders of the Wyoming Republican Party view grassroots Republicans much differently,” Eathorne said. “We view you as our friends and neighbors, the voters who elected precinct men and women all over the State, who have worked hard and tamed this western landscape we call home. We have held town halls to encourage the grassroots all over the State to let their voices be heard on issues important to their communities, about Liz Cheney’s treasonous behavior, and the overreaching COVID shutdown of Wyoming’s small business, churches, and gathering places.”

He added that the plaintiffs have argued an unelected bureaucrat should remain in Balow’s position instead of adhering to the process set forth in law to fill the vacancy. Eathorne pointed out that Kari Eakins, the interim superintendent, is a Democrat, which she has been registered as since 2010.

“At a time when Wyoming needs this Superintendent to stand up to Joe Biden’s radical agenda and defend Wyoming’s children, they want an unelected Democrat to fill that role rather than follow a statutory process that they have never complained about before,” Eathorne said.

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

Romney To Stump For Cheney At Fundraiser In March

in News/politics
16608

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, will help raise money for U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney at a fundraiser in March, according to reports released Wednesday.

News outlet Reuters saw an invitation for a fundraiser being held March 14 at the home of Bobbie Kilberg, a Virginia Republican, that mentioned Romney.

Other guests stumping for Cheney at the event are to include Republican figures and critics of former President Donald Trump such as former Congresswoman Barbara Comstock, former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, lobbyist Charlie Black, and former Vice President Dick Cheney, Liz Cheney’s father.

Cheney has become an outspoken critic of Trump since the Jan. 6, 2021, invasion of the U.S. Capitol. She was one of the few Republicans to vote to impeach him on allegations he incited the invasion, a vote that cost her the position of House Conference chair.

Romney, a former presidential candidate, was the sole Republican in the Senate to vote to impeach Trump in 2020 on charges of obstruction of Congress and abuse of power.

Dick Cheney joined his daughter to commemorate the anniversary of the riot earlier this month and ripped into Republican Party members for their refusal to acknowledge how dangerous the day’s events truly were.

“The importance of Jan. 6 as an historic event cannot be overstated,” Dick Cheney said. “I was honored and proud to join my daughter on the House floor to recognize this anniversary, to commend the heroic actions of law enforcement of that day and reaffirm our dedication to the Constitution.

“I am deeply disappointed at the failure of many members of my party to recognize the grave nature of the Jan. 6 attacks and the ongoing threat to our nation,” the former vice president continued.

Cheney spokesman Jeremy Adler did not immediately respond to Cowboy State Daily’s request for comment on Wednesday.

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

Hageman Tells Hannity That Liz Cheney Is Just The Same As Nancy Pelosi

in News/politics
16466

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney is as much an adversary to the Republican Party as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, congressional candidate Harriet Hageman told Fox News.

Hageman again attacked Cheney during an appearance on Sean Hannity’s television show last week.

“She’s as adversarial to the Republican Party as is Nancy Pelosi,” Hageman said. “She’s not representing the state of Wyoming. She’s not doing the work that we sent her to Washington, D.C. to do and it’s time for Liz Cheney to be replaced.”

Hageman also said that while she had supported Cheney in the past, she did not support her any longer.

Hannity is also no fan of Cheney, especially after the representative revealed text messages Hannity sent to former President Donald Trump’s chief of staff on the day of the U.S. Capitol attack on Jan. 6, 2021.

Hannity questioned why Pelosi and other figures had not yet been questioned by the committee investigating the invasion, which is co-chaired by Cheney. He and Hageman said Pelosi and the mayor of Washington, D.C., did not address security concerns prior to the invasion.

“This is a witch hunt. This is about going after Donald Trump,” Hageman said, echoing similar sentiments uttered by Trump himself.

Hageman received an endorsement from Trump just hours after announcing her congressional campaign in the fall. Two candidates, Cheyenne attorney Darin Smith and Rep. Chuck Gray, R-Casper, dropped out following her campaign announcement.

Hageman added during the Hannity appearance that Democrats and Cheney were out to destroy Trump with the Jan. 6 committee.

Cheney voted with Trump more than 90% of the time during his time in office, more than many of her Republican detractors.

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

Wyoming’s Delegation Unimpressed With Biden’s Second News Conference

in News/politics
16464

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

President Joe Biden’s recent news conference missed the mark on foreign relations, and the economy, according to the members of Wyoming’s congressional delegation.

U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney and U.S. Sens. John Barrasso and Cynthia Lummis all made critical comments about Biden’s news conference Wednesday, the first time he has spoken with reporters for several months.

Cheney singled out Biden’s comments about tension between Russia and Ukraine for criticism.

“President Biden’s description of a potential Russian invasion of Ukraine as a ‘minor incursion’ was deeply troubling & dangerous,” Cheney said. “Putin must understand that any Russian invasion will be met with a swift and overwhelming response from the US and our NATO allies.”

She was referring to a question Biden was asked about the possibility of a Cold War with Russia. Biden said he expected Russian President Vladimir Putin to invade Ukraine, but U.S. and NATO allies would respond with “severe costs and significant harm on Russia and the Russian economy.”

Biden used the news conference to describe his first year in office as a year of challenges, but also of progress, while discussing his plans for upcoming months.

Biden said he expects his proposed action on social issues and climate change will have to be broken up to clear Congress, meaning some of his top priorities, such as child care, may be dropped.

Lummis told Cowboy State Daily on Thursday it appears that Biden is not aware of the challenges being faced by American citizens.

“It seems like he is completely unaware of what people in Wyoming and across the country are facing every day. Empty shelves, higher prices, and stagnant wages are just the tip of the iceberg,” she said. “Instead of being a unity president, he is taking every opportunity to point fingers and shift blame. The White House branded this press conference as a reset, and I truly hope it is, but it felt like more of the same. The people of Wyoming deserve better from their President.”

Barrasso had similar comments during a Senate floor speech on Wednesday afternoon, saying that the White House did not have a communication problem with Biden, it had an agenda problem.

“The White House seems to think that the cure for Joe Biden’s poll numbers is more communications from Joe Biden,” he said. “The White House doesn’t have a communications problem. It has an agenda problem. The American people understand exactly what President Biden and Senator Schumer and Speaker Pelosi are trying to sell. The American people aren’t buying it. Democrats don’t need a message reset. They need a better agenda for the nation.”

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

New Wyo Gubernatorial Candidate Says God Told Him To Run

in News/politics
16264

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

With just eight months remaining until Wyoming’s primary election, a new Republican gubernatorial candidate who said God told him to run for office has entered the race.

Cheyenne resident Aaron Nab, a truck driver who has not previously held a political office, officially announced his candidacy in late December, although he said he decided to run for governor in June.

“I have been in a very slow process to announce my candidatecy [sic] for Wyoming Governor as I am very particular and I am a very humble person as it wasn’t tell [sic] September that I really accepted that God was wanting me to do this,” Nab said on social media. “June 24th is when I finally agreed to run and I’d [sic] I wasn’t the best person for the position I would not be here as I have tried to get other people to do it so I wouldn’t have to, but here I am.”

Some of Nab’s priorities for the highest office in Wyoming include “not sit in my office hiding, be mobile around the State working and talking with the people,” fight critical race theory, expanding curriculum at Wyoming’s community colleges and make Wyoming the best state for veterans to live.

He also wants to end the construction of wind turbines and focus on the promotion of coal-generated power.

Nab’s social media postings include expressions of support for congressional candidate state Sen. Anthony Bouchard, R-Cheyenne, his distaste for President Joe Biden and his love for the Bible, the “best book [he] ever read.”

Currently, two other Republicans are running for governor: incumbent Gov. Mark Gordon and Rock Springs veterinarian and frequent candidate Rex Rammell.

Gordon was elected to the office in 2018, after serving as state treasurer.

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

Wyoming Congressional Candidate Changes Party Affiliation From GOP To Constitution

in News/politics
16097

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

One of the candidates in the race for Wyoming’s lone U.S. House of Representatives has changed her party affiliation.

Riverton resident Marissa Selvig over the weekend announced her intention to switch her affiliation from the Wyoming Republican Party to the Wyoming Constitution Party, pointing as a reason to turmoil within the party.

“One of the main reasons I decided to change is because of what I see inside of the Republican Party, which is big money, finger pointing and negative politics,” Selvig told Cowboy State Daily on Monday. “When I’m going around the state speaking with people, I’m talking about bringing virtue back to governance and looking at how we can reform our government to get back to its constitutional state.”

The Constitution Party was formed in 1992 as the U.S. Taxpayers’ Party, but changed its name in 1999. It was founded by conservative activist Howard Phillips, who was the party’s presidential nominee in three elections.

The party’s platform is based on interpretations of the U.S. Constitution and shaped by principles set forth in the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights and the Bible.

There are two officially organized Constitution parties in the state, in Platte and Uinta counties, but the party has a presence in a handful of other counties, including Laramie and Natrona. The Wyoming Constitution Party was organized and accepted by the national party in 2010.

The last Constitution Party member to run for statewide office was Jeff Haggitt, who collected 7,905 voters in his race for the U.S. House in 2020. He finished fourth in a four-person field. Cheney won more than 185,000 votes in her 2020 bid for re-election.

Selvig said the Constitution Party best aligned with her views and that its focus of integrity, liberty and prosperity appealed to her.

While campaigning, Selvig said she has encountered many people in Wyoming over the last year who want someone like her in office, “a regular gal.”

“I am what people are looking for,” Selvig said. “I’m a self-employed musician. I’m a stay-at-home mom. I’m active in my community. They want someone who isn’t the same old kind of politician and I am not that. I find that I don’t often fit into people’s little political boxes.”

Selvig was actually an unaffiliated voter for many years, but registered with the Republican Party in 2018 in order to vote in the state’s primary election.

Prior to her run for Congress, she served as the mayor of Pavillion, Wyoming, which is located in Fremont County and has a population of about 230, from April of 2019 to April of 2020.

Now that Selvig has switched her party affiliation, the Republican race for Wyoming’s U.S. House seat is slightly less crowded. The candidates now include incumbent U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney, Cheyenne attorney Harriet Hageman, state Sen. Anthony Bouchard, R-Cheyenne, and Gillette resident Denton Knapp.

Cheyenne attorney Darin Smith and state Rep. Chuck Gray, R-Casper, previously were candidates in the race, but have since dropped out.

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

Rand Paul Endorses Hageman For Congress

in News/politics
15895

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Congressional candidate Harriet Hageman on Monday received a non-surprising endorsement for her congressional campaign with U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, a longtime political foe of incumbent U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney.

Paul said on Monday that he had the chance to meet with Hageman and discuss their shared conservative views of the federal government, which made him want to endorse her.

“Harriet represents the spirit of Wyoming, which is full of people who want to live their lives without the oppressive weight of the federal government on their backs,” Paul said.

“She has a record of fighting against government overreach and will bring that same tenacity to Congress. On foreign policy, she shares my view that we should pursue policies that put America First,” he said. “I encourage everyone to get behind Harriet Hageman and make her the next congresswoman from Wyoming.”

Hageman thanked Paul for his endorsement, saying it indicates that her campaign is doing something right.

“Sen. Paul is a national leader in the conservative movement, and his views are perfectly in line with Wyomingites, who are largely libertarian in nature,” she said. “Just as I have in my professional life, as a member of Congress I will fight for Wyoming, putting our people and America first. We need a member of Congress who will stand up to the Biden administration and the unelected bureaucracy that is relentless in its quest to take away our ability to control our own future.”

Hageman, a Cheyenne attorney who supported Cheney’s initial run for Congfress in 2016, announced her GOP primary challenge to Cheney in September, with an endorsement from former President Donald Trump quickly following.

Cheney spokesman Jeremy Adler declined to comment about Paul’s endorsement.

Paul endorsed Leland Christensen, one of Cheney’s opponents in her first GOP primary for the U.S. House, in 2016. Cheney defeated Christensen by more than 16 percentage points.

However, their feud stretches back to before Cheney’s time in Congress, with the Kentucky senator mocking her run for U.S. Senate in 2013.

“When I heard Liz Cheney was running for Senate I wondered if she was running in her home state of Virginia,” Paul said at the time.

Nor has Cheney shied away from throwing barbs at Paul herself. She has even said the jabs she and Paul have exchanged can be “enlightening,” according to Politico.

“Rand and I do have one thing in common, though. We’re both 5’2” tall,” she tweeted once about the senator.

Last year, Paul said he didn’t think Cheney was good for the country and alleged that she was trying to sabotage Trump’s foreign policy.

“I mean she tries to sabotage everything he tries to do in foreign policy, so I don’t know whether she’s a good advocate for the president or not,” Paul said in July 2020.

Cheney voted with Trump more than 90% of the time when he was in office, while Paul only voted with him about 69% of the time, according to the political voting tracking website, FiveThirtyEight.

Former U.S. Rep. Barbara Cubin, who represented Wyoming in Congress from 1995 to 2007, has joined about 20 current and former elected officials to back Hageman in her challenge of Cheney.

Former legislators who have endorsed her include former House Speaker Bill McIlvain, R-Cheyenne, Rep. Scott Clem, R-Gillette, Rep. Hans Hunt, R-Newcastle, former Rep. David Miller, R-Lander, Rep. Marti Halverson, R-Etna, and Rep. Teense Willford, R-Saratoga.

Current legislators who have endorsed her include Rep. John Bear, R-Gillette, Sen. Cheri Steinmetz, R-Lingle and Rep. Chip Neiman, R-Hulett.

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

Lummis, Barrasso Sign On To Bill Keeping Toddlers From Being Forced To Wear Masks

in News/politics
15856

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

U.S. Sens. John Barrasso and Cynthia Lummis signed on to legislation Thursday that would prevent toddlers from being forced to wear masks in certain places.

The Preventing Mandates on Toddlers Act would nullify an interim final rule that was published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that requires universal masking for all individuals in a Head Start facility over the age of two, including staff, volunteers, contract workers and children.

“The Biden administration’s federal overreach knows no bounds. They’re now coming after Wyoming’s toddlers. Individual Head Start programs and families know what is best for their children, not the federal government,” Barrasso said on Thursday. “This bill will protect children in Wyoming and across the country from Washington’s impractical and unreasonable mandates.”

The rule also requires toddlers to wear masks while they are outside on the playground and mandates staff and volunteers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Jan. 31.

“Our Head Start programs should be focused on education, but the Biden administration is trying to turn our educators into mask police for some of our youngest kids. I am proud to join my colleague John Barrasso in opposing this ridiculous mandate on Wyoming’s educators, and on our toddlers,” said Lummis. “When Head Start educators are forced to turn their focus from education to other issues, our children suffer. Our educators know this. Our parents know this. I just wish the Biden administration did as well.”

The bill was introduced this week by U.S. Sen. John Thune, R-South Dakota, and U.S. Rep. Lisa McClain, R-Michigan.

The legislation is co-sponsored by multiple Republican senators and representatives, including Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley, South Dakota Sen. Mike Rounds and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.

The Head Start program is a federal government program that provides qualifying, low-income children with early education services. Program facilities are located throughout the nation and, up until this point, individual locations have been able to set and enforce their own COVID-19 protocols.

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

Hageman Bashes Cheney During Interview With Bannon

in News/politics
15683

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Republican congressional candidate Harriet Hageman used an appearance this week on the television show of former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon to again criticize incumbent U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney.

During the interview on Bannon’s “War Room,” Hageman steadily attacked Cheney, questioning her accomplishments while in Congress.

“Liz Cheney really has accomplished very little in her life other than be Liz Cheney,” Hageman said. “Tell me what she’s done. Tell me what she’s done in terms of fighting the battles that I fought. I’ve taken on the EPA, I’ve taken on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. I’ve taken on the USDA. I’ve done that.”

Bannon asked Hageman if she had the stamina to continue working against Cheney until the state’s primary election in August.

“I think the better question is: does she have the fight in her to defeat me?” Hageman said. “I’m a fighter and Liz Cheney never has had to be.”

She added that Cheney has had “everything” given to her and that she would not be in her current congressional position if she were not the daughter of a former vice president.

Hageman also differed with the sentiment that Cheney has the raw talent and ability to be in a leadership position.

“She was born with a silver spoon in her mouth,” Hageman said.

The House candidate again criticized Cheney for her lack of Wyoming roots, saying the representative only came back to Wyoming in 2012 and bought a house in the state because she was going to run for Senate.

Hageman announced her candidacy against Cheney in September, with a glowing endorsement from former President Donald Trump quickly following. Since then, House candidates Darin Smith and state Rep. Chuck Gray, R-Casper, have dropped out of the race.

Prior to her candidacy, Hageman supported Cheney in her 2012 bid for a U.S. Senate seat representing Wyoming and also in her first campaign for Wyoming’s lone U.S. House seat in 2016.

Bannon, who is facing federal prosecution, has his own connections with Cheney. He will go to court sometime next summer, according to CNBC, on charges of contempt of Congress for refusing to cooperate with a U.S. House committee looking into the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot. Cheney serves on the committee.

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

Hageman Releases First Paid Congressional Campaign Ad

in News/politics
15644

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Nearly three months after announcing her campaign for U.S. House, candidate Harriet Hageman released her first paid advertisement this week.

“Right now, the most important job Republicans have in Washington, D.C. is to stop Nancy Pelosi and the radical Democrats from destroying our country,” Hageman said in the video.

The ad focuses on the theme of “riding for the brand,” which Hageman touted in a recent guest editorial.

“When a cowboy rode for the brand, it meant they were loyal to their outfit, to the person that hired them, to the one that paid them, they gave their promise to protect the brand and fight for it as if it were their own,” said one of the cowboys featured in the ad.

The cowboy then goes on to say that U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney does not ride for the brand, but is too busy fighting against former President Donald Trump, pointing as an example to her appointment to the Jan. 6 commission investigating the events leading up to the riot at the U.S. Capitol.

“She betrayed us, she betrayed our values, she betrayed the brand,” the cowboy said.

One of Hageman’s brothers, Hugh Hageman, also appeared in the ad, hailing the fact that the Hageman family has been in Wyoming since before it was declared a state.

“Harriet has spent her career fighting for us against unelected federal bureaucrats trying to change our way of life,” he said in the ad, listing off a number of Hageman’s accomplishments.

Hageman announced her campaign for Congress in September, with an endorsement from Trump quickly following.

Cheney quickly reacted to the endorsement by posting Trump’s statement on her Twitter account, along with two words:  “Bring it.”

Hageman has regularly commented on Cheney’s lack of Wyoming ties and touted her own conservative record as to why she is the best choice for the House.

Former U.S. Rep. Barbara Cubin, who represented Wyoming in Congress from 1995 to 2007, has joined about 20 current and former elected officials to back Hageman in her challenge of Cheney.

Former legislators who have endorsed her include former House Speaker Bill McIlvain, R-Cheyenne, Rep. Scott Clem, R-Gillette, Rep. Hans Hunt, R-Newcastle, former Rep. David Miller, R-Lander, Rep. Marti Halverson, R-Etna, and Rep. Teense Willford, R-Saratoga.

Current legislators who have endorsed her include Rep. John Bear, R-Gillette, Sen. Cheri Steinmetz, R-Lingle and Rep. Chip Neiman, R-Hulett.

Cheney spokesman Jeremy Adler did not immediately respond to questions about when Cheney would officially announce her re-election campaign.

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

Wyoming Republicans Unsurprised At Biden’s Low Approval Ratings

in News/politics
15226

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

By Ellen Fike and Jimmy Orr, Cowboy State Daily

The continuing decline of President Joe Biden’s approval rating comes as no surprise to some of the state’s Republican leaders.

Various Republican officials from across the state chimed in to criticize Biden’s policies and administration, although some said the president remains a better choice to lead the country than Vice President Kamala Harris, the second in line for the office should anything happen to Biden.

According to political website The Hill, Biden’s approval rating hit 38% earlier this month in a poll conducted by USA Today and Suffolk University. The poll surveyed 1,000 registered voters from across the country by landline and cellphone. The margin of error is 3.1 percentage points.

Biden’s approval rating has consistently trended downward in recent months.

War on the West

State Sen. Ogden Driskill, R-Devils Tower, said that the Biden administration has started an all-out war on various industries since taking office, including oil and gas, timber, livestock and more.

He added that the administration has continued to spend frivolously and propose policies that hurt the nation.

“My guess is, long-term, the approval rating continues to head for the toilet, and our country suffers,” Driskill said. “We’re going to pay. We’re going to have a very long-term hangover from these administrative policies.”

While Driskill hoped for the best when Biden got elected, he said that at this point, he doesn’t know what else the president could do that could be much worse for the nation.

However, he did say that while Biden was bad, Harris being president would be “armageddon.”

“I can’t think of a worse thing that could happen,” he said.

Incapable of Decisions

Carbon County Republican Chair Joey Correnti, one of the more visible members of the Wyoming Republican Party, said he doesn’t believe “Biden’s numbers are actually Biden’s numbers.”

He said the president is a puppet for the left wing establishment, which he said was represented by Harris, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. The approval numbers are theirs, he said.

“Biden does nothing but blindly regurgitate anything they throw on a Teleprompter or note-card and put in front of him,” Correnti said. “I believe it’s fairly obvious that Biden is incapable of making any decisions or intelligible statements entirely on his own.”

According to The Hill, Biden responded to his slumping poll numbers last week, telling reporters during a press conference, “That’s not why I ran.” He noted that polls are volatile, adding, “I didn’t run to determine how well I’m going to do in the polls.”

Still Supporters?

Matt Micheli, attorney and former chair of the Wyoming Republican Party, was more shocked at the number of people still supporting Biden.

“With the runaway inflation, open borders, rising crime, socialism and unprecedented interference in our private lives, I am shocked he has anyone that says they still support him,” Micheli said. “Bottom line, the policies out of this administration are bad for America and voters are waking up.”

Bad Policies

State Rep. Landon Brown, R-Cheyenne, said that Biden’s low approval numbers were a direct reflection of his “disastrous” policies.

“In the first 10 months in office, the Biden administration has placed undue burdens on families who are struggling with the pandemic by continuing to push government spending and reducing homegrown jobs in the energy sector,” Brown said. “People are hurting and they thought he was going to help, but he’s done nothing but hurt the American people.”

Getting What He Deserves

Former Wyoming Republican Chairman Diemer True, a former state senator and chairman of the Wyoming GOP, said Biden got the approval rating he deserved, saying the president has surrounded himself with unqualified advisors and has denied problems such as the immigration crisis.

“He seems to be tone deaf and maybe blind,” True said. “We just have never had such a poor president. If you’re that incompetent, people are going to see it.”

True added if Biden were a Republican, the media would be pointing out every mistake he made, such as when he pulled soldiers out of Afghanistan in August.

“I’m so concerned with his competency and his taking us down the wrong road, I hope his policies aren’t fatal to our country,” he said.

Not Even A Food Truck

Longtime Wyoming political fundraiser Rob Jennings said that although Biden’s national approval rating is at 38%, he expected the number is significantly lower among Wyoming voters.

Like True, Jennings did not believe Biden was a capable holder of the Oval Office.

“I ask people all the time, if you made $1 million and invested in a food truck, would you hire Joe Biden to run that truck?” Jennings said. “The answer’s no.”

He said that the country was in a constitutional crisis due to legislators propping the president up. Jennings also said that as a Wyomingite, he wanted to know what the state’s leaders were doing to fight Biden’s policies.

“I think all of our politicians, at some level, are failing us, because they’re not telling people what’s really going on,” he said. “People see it more than the politicians do.”

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

Casper Republican On CNN: Wyoming GOP Has Been Taken Over By Extremists

in News/Liz Cheney/politics
15141

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

The former Natrona County Republican chairman appeared on CNN Wednesday to discuss why he voted against rescinding U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney’s Republican credentials and to criticize the “extremists” running the Wyoming Republican Party.

Dr. Joe McGinley spoke with CNN host John Berman on Wednesday about the vote the Wyoming Republican Party held over the weekend to rescind recognition of Cheney as a Republican.

“I was just surprised this topic came up again,” McGinley said. ” However…the state party…the leadership is somewhat irrelevant at this point and felt the need to bring the topic back up again, to my surprise. And you know, this is even crazier. I mean, you can’t tell someone that they’re not a Republican. If they register as a Republican and say they’re Republican, then they’re a Republican.”

The Republican State Central Committee on Saturday voted 31-29 in support of a resolution that states that it will no longer recognize Cheney as a member of the Republican Party because of her vote to impeach former President Trump and her criticism of Trump’s perpetuation of the claim that the 2020 presidential election was stolen.

McGinley said there is a real silent majority in Wyoming of “true conservatives” who believe in morals, ethics and humility.

“They don’t want to come up and express their opinion to everyone. They go to the polls. That’s where they express their opinion,” McGinley said. “They also don’t want to be harassed. There’s a lot of extremists even within our own party, that if you express an opinion that differs from theirs…they’re going to try to embarrass you. They’re going to harass you on social media. You might even get censured by the state party for speaking out.”

McGinley said people do not want to be put in the spotlight for political opinions and are afraid to share their thoughts regarding the happenings in the party.

McGinley also told Berman extremists have taken over the state Republican Party organization, as well as many county parties across the state.

However, he added he has faith in the voters, both in Wyoming and nationally.

“The common voter does not agree with this type of messaging or behavior,” McGinley said. “There’s a lot of individuals that really do support the policies of President Trump, but also support Rep. Cheney. So, those individuals also are afraid to speak out. [Extremists are] oppressing the voice of the individual by creating fear and essentially a larger group of individuals that just don’t want to participate.”

McGinley noted that Cheney’s voting record showed she consistently backed Trump while he was in office and added even now, her voting record is one of the most conservative in the House. He said these facts aren’t brought up among Republicans because they are not “convenient” facts.

“As a true Republican…you want a representative that represents your conservative values and principles, and someone that’s going to vote the way the party really wants you to vote overall with principles. So, that’s what we see with Rep. Cheney and her voting record. Really, you can’t question it,” he said.

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

Sen. Bouchard Calls Senate Colleagues “Slime Ball” and “Liar”; Says They Should Resign

in News/politics
14853

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Sen. Anthony Bouchard, R-Cheyenne, took to name-calling his fellow senators on Friday, labeling one a “slime ball” and the other a “swamp monster.”

Bouchard, who is also running for U.S. House, said Senate Majority Floor Leader Ogden Driskill, R-Devils Tower, was a “flat-out liar.”

Although he didn’t specify what Driskill was allegedly lying about, he posted a graphic of the vote count for a defeated Senate bill (SF-1012) which would have allowed doctors to prescribe any medicine for the treatment of Covid-19 and pharmacists the ability to fill such prescriptions without penalty.

The vote count showed Driskill voted against the bill.

Bouchard said he and Driskill had discussed hydroxychloroquine (a controversial alleged COVID treatment in which Bouchard is a proponent) and that Driskill said doctors in his area would not prescribe the medication for his wife who was ill with the virus.

Bouchard claimed he referred Driskill to a doctor who would treat his wife with the drug.

“She got what most people could NOT get. They got their prescription outside of WY,” Bouchard wrote on Facebook Friday. ” Oggie is playing games with legislation that would advance Covid Early Treatment practices, he needs to Resign!”

He also claimed that Driskill was taking Ivermectin (another controversial COVID drug that also doubles as a horse medication) during the special session and that Driskill got the OK to do so from Sen. Eric Barlow, R-Gillette.

“Real Leaders don’t play games with life matters. But Swamp Monsters do,” Bouchard wrote.

Mudslinging

Driskill told Cowboy State Daily on Friday that Bouchard was twisting the facts in order to drag his “reputation through the mud.”

Driskill explained that around December 2020, his wife was ill with COVID and she was not getting better. During a committee meeting, he mentioned that she was sick.

He said that Bouchard came to him and recommended a Cheyenne doctor who would prescribe “Trump’s cure.”

“The doctor did a tele-health meeting with my wife, which I was not a part of, where he prescribed her medication, which I then picked up at a Walgreens in Spearfish, South Dakota,” Driskill said.

Until Friday, when his wife spoke with Cowboy State Daily and confirmed the medication she received from the doctor (which included hydroxychloroquine), Driskill did not know what medicine she had taken to recover from COVID.

Driskill also noted that he spoke with the Wyoming Board of Health, which told him that doctors in Wyoming could prescribe any medication, on or off-label, that they saw fit and that no doctors have been censured or had privileges revoked in the last decade.

Did Take Ivermectin

Driskill did also confirm that he took one dose of Ivermectin before the special session began and one during the session, but that he didn’t ask Barlow for permission to take it.

“He’s a veterinarian, so I asked him what the side effects would be for a human taking this kind of medicine,” he said. “He works with this kind of stuff all day, so I wanted to know if it would make me go blind or make my liver sick if I took it. But, I went to a number of people about it, not just Dr. Barlow.”

Driskill also noted that while he took two doses of Ivermectin, that was his personal choice and he would not recommend anyone else do so. He is also vaccinated against COVID, he confirmed.

“I’ve got my own faults and there are many, but to have lies and slander that affect your reputation and the way people look at you differently, people will start to think there is something there,” he said.

“This is clearly an attempt to either not get me to run again or damage my reputation enough that I get beaten in the election. It doesn’t have anything to do with vaccines or anything else.”

“Slime Ball”

After Driskill, Bouchard set his sights on Senate Vice President Larry Hicks, R-Baggs.

Although he didn’t provide any examples or explain his accusation, Bouchard accused Hicks of using Senate PAC money to “quiet” him during his primary election.

“It’s not just his actions during the kabuki theater special session. Senate Vice President Larry Hicks tried to use Senate PAC money to quiet me in August of 2020,” Bouchard wrote.

“He couldn’t get off the phone fast enough when I told him I was taking no PAC money for my 2020 race. Larry is a slime ball. He needs to resign! Drain Wyoming’s Swamp!”

Hicks did not immediately respond to Cowboy State Daily’s request for comment on Friday.

Drain The Swamp

April Poley, Bouchard’s congressional campaign spokeswoman, said the senator was just “calling out the swamp” in Wyoming.

“He calls out the swamp. He always has. He always will. The swamp isn’t just in DC. Wyoming has its own swamp in Cheyenne,” she told Cowboy State Daily on Friday.

“Staying silent on swamp activity would be equivalent to participating in it. Legislators are expected to turn a blind eye to the hypocrisy of legislative leadership and their committee assignments and progression of any bills they sponsor, depends on that silence.”

She also called Driskill a hypocrite.

“Driskell voted against Bouchard’s bill regarding COVID treatments yet when his wife was on the verge of being hospitalized last year, he was more than happy to take the help of drugs most WY voters so not have access to. Hypocrite,” she said.

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

Rammell Slams Climate Change, Gordon In Latest Campaign Video

in News/politics
14589

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Rex Rammell, the Rock Springs veterinarian running to be Wyoming’s governor, slammed both climate change and Gov. Mark Gordon’s response to it in his latest campaign video.

Rammell launched his campaign website this week, just under 300 days before the primary election in Wyoming. This is Rammell’s second campaign for the state’s highest office, as he lost in the Republican primary in 2018 to Gordon.

In the campaign video on his home page, Rammell touted his background as a vet and animal scientist to dispute claims about climate change.

“I’m just not buying into this theory that CO2 is destroying our planet,” Rammell said. “Plants live off CO2. I know there’s changes in our climate, but there’s always been changes in our climate.”

Rammell added that as a man of faith, he believed God was in control and would protect people. He added that it was presumptuous for people to believe that the “puny arm of man” could control the climate.

He also pointed to a speech Gordon gave to a group of journalists during the Wyoming Press Association‘s convention in 2020 when he said climate change was the “single most important issue on earth,” a statement Rammell disputed.

“Fossil fuels are the lifeblood of the American economy,” Rammell said. “I believe the greatest issue on earth is saving the American republic, and I think I know how.”

He said the way to do this was to return to the United States’ fundamental principles found in the U.S. Constitution.

Rammell also ran for Congress in 2016, coming in seventh and losing to U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney. He also ran unsuccessfully for office in his previous home state of Idaho, losing by a significant margin.

Climate change was not the only issue Rammell tackled with his new campaign website. He also had short videos explaining his stances on issues such as the Second Amendment (the right to bear arms), oil and gas, taxes, abortion and forest fires.

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

Fremont County Sen. Cale Case Urges Colleagues Not To Have Special Session

in News/politics
14524

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Longtime Sen. Cale Case, R-Lander, sent out a document over the weekend to his fellow legislators explaining why he believes the Legislature’s upcoming special session is a bad idea.

Case sent his colleagues a “white paper,” an informational document detailing the philosophy and guidance of a complex issue. The document was initially written by Equality State Policy Center executive director Chris Merrill in December, but he and Case revised it to apply to the session.

In the paper, Case explains why he believes it is a bad idea for the House and Senate to consider the same bills at the same time in a “mirror” arrangement. Usually, a bill is reviewed by one chamber and, if approved, sent to the other for review.

“We have two houses for a reason,” Case wrote. “Mirror bills and expedited scheduling defeats bicameralism at least in part because the reviews are not independent as they are both at the same time or in the same ‘passion.'”

The Legislature is to begin a three-day special session on Tuesday to formulate the state’s response to President Joe Biden’s mandate that federal workers, health care employees and employees at companies employing more than 100 people receive the coronavirus vaccine or be tested regularly for the illness.

The Biden administration has not yet issued the rules that will be required to put the mandate into effect.

In his email to his fellow legislators on Saturday, Cale noted that he has served as the Senate chairman of the Select Committee on Legislative Process for a number of years and in that role, he and the committee have worked hard to improve transparency and public access to the legislative process.

“The rules proposed for the Special Session are a step backward,” Case wrote in the email. “I encourage you to vote no on the proposed rules and conduct all our work with maximum transparency and opportunity for public education and participation.”

Should a majority of the legislators vote “no” on the proposed rules, the special session will be adjourned on Tuesday or lawmakers will have to abide by the rules for a regular legislative session.

Thirty-five Wyoming representatives and 17 senators voted in favor of holding a special session, while 12 representatives and seven senators voted against holding one. Case was one of the senators who voted against the session.

In the document, Case and Merill detail how the traditional legislative process upholds the spirit and intent of the Wyoming Constitution and fulfills the vision of the Founding Fathers.

“The ‘mirror bill’ process—even in the best of circumstances and with the best of intentions—does not,” Case and Merill wrote. “It is a deeply flawed, inferior approach to lawmaking that undermines the wisdom and intent of a bicameral legislature. It compresses the timeline for deliberations, eliminates the one-chamber-at-a-time principle, eliminates the key ‘crossover’ moment (which allows for a fresh infusion of public input and new information), and severely limits—even eliminates at key points—public input and involvement.”

Case told Cowboy State Daily last week that he felt the special session was a bad idea.

“I don’t agree with the federal mandates on employers and I want to be clear about that,” Case said. “But I don’t see a legislative path to fix that.”

An op-ed published Monday and penned by various non-partisan officials from across the state also objected to the session.

“This is not about whether or not you support mandates,” the opinion piece said. “Regardless of your position on vaccinations or masks, fast-tracking legislation undermines the deliberative process that is the hallmark of good lawmaking.”

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

Legislator Names Anti-Mask Bill In Honor Of Laramie Teen Arrested For Not Wearing Mask

in News/politics
14491

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

A bill named after and and inspired by the Laramie teen arrested at her high school for refusing to wear a mask has been filed for consideration by Wyoming’s Legislature.

The Grace Smith Medical Freedom Act would require county and state health officers to grant waivers from coronavirus immunization or face mask use requirements to any K-12 student who requests one. This bill is co-sponsored by Rep. Ocean Andrew, R-Laramie, and Sen. Bo Biteman, R-Sheridan.

Andrew told Cowboy State Daily on Friday that he named the bill after Grace because he was inspired by the courage shown by her and her father in ignoring Laramie High School’s mask mandate.

“They took a stand for not only their rights but all people’s rights,” Andrew told Cowboy State Daily. “I felt it was important that I sponsor this bill because her arrest happened within the boundaries of the district I represent.”

He added that the state’s statutes need to be updated to reflect the health freedom rights guaranteed by the state’s Constitution.

“The Wyoming Constitution says that the State of Wyoming shall act to preserve these rights from undue governmental infringement,” Andrew said. “I believe that it’s our duty as a legislature to update our statutes to reflect the rights guaranteed by the constitution we pledge to uphold.”

The bill will likely come up for discussion during the Wyoming Legislature’s special session next week.

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

Grace was arrested earlier this month for trespassing after she refused to wear a face mask at Laramie High School as required by school district policy. She was cited for trespassing for refusing to leave the school after being told she could not stay unless she wore a mask.

Grace went into custody willingly and was polite with officers when arrested, videos taken and shared by her father show. The teen was also fined $1,000 for trespassing.

Albany County School District No. 1, which includes Laramie High, adopted a requirement for the use of facemasks in September. The requirement was extended until mid-November by school board members earlier this month.

Grace has withdrawn from the high school due to the controversy, but has not ruled out enrolling again for her senior year.

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

Laramie County GOP Calls On Wyoming GOP To Censure Park County Republican For Obscene Email

in News/politics
14472

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

The Laramie County Republican Party has called on the state GOP to officially censure a Park County Republican because of an obscene email he sent to a senator from Cheyenne last month.

The Laramie County party’s central committee, during a meeting Tuesday, voted to send a resolution to the state party calling for the state party to immediately censure Park County Republican Precinct Committeeman Troy Bray for an email he sent to Sen. Tara Nethercott, R-Cheyenne.

In the email he sent last month, Bray criticized the senator for how she handled a bill that would have banned the state from requiring its employees to get the coronavirus 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 signed the email with his titles as a precinct committeeman and as secretary of Park County Republican Men’s Club, the latter of which he resigned from.

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

The resolution from the Laramie County GOP called Bray’s conduct “foul” and said that he both dehumanized and “vilely degrad[ed] Nethercott with the words he used.

“It is incumbent upon us as members of the WYGOP to condemn such abhorrent behavior done by a fellow member of the WYGOP under signature of his official title in the Park County Republican Party,” the resolution said.

Leaders of the Park County Republican Party decided not to take action against Bray for his actions.

State Rep. Landon Brown, R-Cheyenne, who serves with Nethercott, applauded the county party for its defense of the senator.

“I’m proud of the LCGOP for standing up for Senator Nethercott,” Brown told Cowboy State Daily on Thursday. “The comments from Mr. Bray show the worst side of politics. Politicians face scrutiny every day and that is expected. Inciting hate and calling for such egregious behavior is reprehensible at best and absolutely grotesque at worst. LCGOP continues to lead the way with civil discourse and appropriate responses.”

After the contents of Bray’s message were published by the Casper Star-Tribune, the Wyoming House Speaker 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.

Bray refused to do so.

“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.”

In the same social media 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.

As of Thursday afternoon, the Wyoming GOP has not yet censured Bray.

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

State Senator Thinks Special Session On Vaccine Mandate Is Bad Idea

in News/Coronavirus/politics
14429

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Longtime state Sen. Cale Case, R-Lander, thinks that next week’s legislative special session regarding vaccine mandates is a bad idea, he told Cowboy State Daily on Wednesday.

“I don’t agree with the federal mandates on employers and I want to be clear about that,” Case said. “But I don’t see a legislative path to fix that.”

The Legislature is to begin a three-day special session on Tuesday to formulate the state’s response to President Joe Biden’s mandate that government workers, health care employees and employees at companies employing more than 100 people receive the corronavirus vaccine or be tested regularly for the illness.

Before any work can begin, the rules spelling out how the session will proceed will have to be approved by two-thirds of the legislators.

Thirty-five Wyoming representatives and 17 senators voted in favor of holding a special session, while 12 representatives and seven senators voted against holding one. Case was one of the senators who voted against the session.

The Biden administration has not yet issued the rules that will be required to put the mandate into effect and Case said that is the biggest argument against holding a special session.

“I think we run the risk of putting our Wyoming employers in a squeeze between state and federal policy,” he said.

Case added that the Wyoming Legislature cannot hold a special session every time “a bunch of people get mad at something that happens.” He said many Wyoming voters who have pushed for the special session do not fully understand how the legislative process works.

“I’ve actually had people tell me that we can nullify a federal law, because all we have to do is pass a law that nullifies it,” Case said. “I assure you, we can’t do that.”

Gov. Mark Gordon and Attorney General Bridget Hill are preparing to file a legal challenge on Wyoming’s behalf once the rules are completed, which Case totally supported.

“I think we are in the realm of overreach by the federal government and I think in the end, it is the legal efforts that we join with other states that will be successful, not these special sessions,” he said.

Case’s stance is in opposition to that taken by many of his colleagues.

Sen. Anthony Bouchard, R-Cheyenne, was one of the senators who voted to hold the session and he announced his position by posting a photo of his ballot to social media, along with a post-it note containing 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.”

Banner Health, one of the largest U.S. health system employers, is requiring its employees to be vaccinated against the coronavirus by Nov. 1 to keep their jobs. The organization announced this mandate in July.

Banner Health operates multiple health care facilities in Wyoming, including the Wyoming Medical Center in Casper and clinics in Torrington, Wheatland, Guernsey, Douglas, Worland and more.

No other Wyoming-owned hospitals or health care systems in the state have implemented a vaccine mandate, although some, such as Cheyenne Regional Medical Center, have created incentive programs for employees who do get vaccinated.

Banner officials said the company is implementing the requirement for several reasons, including the rise of the Delta variant of coronavirus, the need to protect its patients and workforce and to prepare for flu season.

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

Wyoming Special Session Slated For Next Week

in News/Coronavirus/politics
14395

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

The Wyoming Legislature will convene for a special session next week to address coronavirus vaccination mandates expected to be handed down by the federal government, the Legislative Service Office announced Tuesday.

The Legislature’s leaders, Senate President Dan Dockstader, R-Afton, and House Speaker Eric Barlow, R-Gillette, received a sufficient number of votes affirming the decision to have a special session, the LSO said.

The three-day session will begin at 10 a.m. on Oct. 26.

Sen. Ogden Driskill, R-Devils Tower, the Senate’s majority floor leader, explained that despite the fact that about 20 bills could be introduced during the special session, the legislators’ focus would be on vaccine mandates.

“We’re going to keep the topic very narrow, just to mandates,” he told Cowboy State Daily on Tuesday. “We’ve got three bills being worked on right now, and in the broadest terms, one deals with federal overreach, one is about employer mandates and then there’s one about employee rights.”

In September, President Joe 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.

However, the Biden administration has not yet released the rules to put the mandate in place. As a result, writing bills in Wyoming for federal policies that are not yet in place could be tricky.

“The LSO has done a phenomenal job with these bills,” Driskill said. “We want to be careful to avoid making a law where Wyoming citizens and employers have to decide between violating a state law or a federal one. It’s really hard to deal with rules that aren’t out there yet.”

Thirty-five Wyoming representatives and 17 senators voted to hold a special session, while 12 representatives and seven senators voted against holding one.

According to the LSO, the Legislature plans to hold committee meetings on Oct. 26. After that, identical versions of any bills to be considered will be worked in each chamber, with the required three reviews of the bills to take place Oct. 27. Then joint conference committee meetings will be held Oct. 28 to resolve any differences between the House and Senate versions of the bills.

Barlow and Dockstader did not immediately return Cowboy State Daily’s request for comment on Tuesday.

The rules formalizing the schedule will have to be approved by two-thirds of the legislators when they open the session on Oct. 26.

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

“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 on social media last week. “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 continued. “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.”

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, along with a post-it note containing 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.”

Gov. Mark Gordon and Attorney General Bridget Hill are preparing Wyoming’s legal challenge to the federal vaccine mandate when they are finalized. 

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

Bouchard Not Dropping Out Despite Campaign Donation Slowdown

in News/politics
14391

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Congressional candidate state Sen. Anthony Bouchard, R-Cheyenne, has no intention of dropping out of the race, despite a significant slowdown of donations to his campaign fund.

Bouchard campaign spokeswoman April Poley told Cowboy State Daily on Tuesday that the senator was not currently focused on fundraising, but on other, more pressing issues.

“He is focused on several state issues right now, primarily the sexual harassment issue in the Wyoming National Guard, COVID mandates and red flag gun laws,” Poley said.

A “red flag” gun law is one that allows police or family members to petition a court for an order to temporarily confiscate a person’s firearms.

Bouchard came in fourth for campaign fundraising for Wyoming’s lone U.S. House seat in the third quarter of the year with $65,560, putting his total campaign donations for the year at $526,600.

Federal Election Commission reports show U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney received $1.7 million between July 1 and Sept. 30, followed by Harriet Hageman, who raised $301,921 even though she did not join the race until early September, with less than one month to go in the fundraising reporting cycle.

State Rep. Chuck Gray, who stepped out of the race when Hageman announced her candidacy and won the endorsement of former President Donald Trump, collected $113,195 during the quarter.

Poley said that Hageman should have raised even more money in September because of the national attention she received with her endorsement by Trump.

Bouchard raised $334,451 in the first quarter of 2021 and $213,327 in the second.

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

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

in News/Liz Cheney/politics
14348

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

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.

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

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

in News/Coronavirus/politics
Wyoming State Capitol
14244

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

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.

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

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

in News/politics
14211

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

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.

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

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

in News/politics
13979

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

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.

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

Hageman Says She Was Fooled Into Opposing Trump In 2016

in News/politics
13740

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

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.”

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

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

in News/politics
13632

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

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.

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

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

in News/politics
13566

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

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.

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

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

in News/University of Wyoming/politics
©Long Nuygen / Southcreek Global / ZUMApress.com / Alamy
13500

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

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.

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

Hageman Won’t Acknowledge Biden’s Presidency In Interview

in News/politics
13420

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

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.

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

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

in News/politics
Wyoming State Capitol
13394

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

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.

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

Lincoln County GOP Cancels Cheney; 8th County To Do So

in News/Liz Cheney/politics
13383

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

The Lincoln County Republican Party has joined other county GOP parties in the state in rescinding its recognition of U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney as a Republican.

The party overwhelmingly, but not unanimously, passed a resolution on Tuesday evening to rescind Cheney’s Republican status, county party Chairwoman Marti Halverson told Cowboy State Daily on Wednesday.

“Most of the discussion centered on [the resolution saying] ‘Whereas, Representative Liz Cheney has attempted to legitimize her actions and personal political agenda by referring to the majority of Wyoming Republican Voters with terms such as “a misinformed mob, radical extremists, bigots, racists, promoters of the ‘big lie’, enemies of the state, conspiracy theorists, dangerous rot, & white supremacists,'” Halverson said.

She noted that the party also struck a line at the end of the resolution that quoted former President Donald Trump that said she was “fired.”

This is the eighth Republican Party in Wyoming to adopt such a resolution, following in the footsteps of parties in counties including Carbon, Park, Fremont and Uinta. Crook County rescinded its recognition of the representative as a Republican earlier this week.

Carbon County GOP chair Joey Correnti on Tuesday welcomed the Lincoln County Republican Party to the group.

“WELCOME LINCOLN COUNTY!!!” Correnti wrote on the party Facebook page. “Anyone who thought this was just going away, doesn’t understand the cyclic monthly county party meeting schedule. WE’RE DEFINITELY BACK IN ACTION!!!”

Cheney has been criticized by some Republicans in Wyoming for her vote to impeach former President Donald Trump on allegations he encouraged attendees at a rally to invade the U.S. Capitol.

When asked about Cheney’s reaction to these actions by the Uinta and Platte county organizations last month, the representative’s spokesman Jeremy Adler pointed Cowboy State Daily to an earlier statement.

“Liz will continue to fight for all the people of Wyoming. She knows that she and all elected officials are bound by their duty under the U.S. Constitution, not by blind loyalty to one man,” he told Cowboy State Daily in August.

Bouchard Defends Removed Facebook Post Wishing For Fauci To Be Executed

in News/politics
13315

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Congressional candidate Sen. Anthony Bouchard, R-Cheyenne, has no regrets about a social media post he made last week suggesting the execution of White House medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci, a spokeswoman told Cowboy State Daily on Monday.

Last week, Bouchard posted a meme to his campaign page about Fauci that alleged he lied about the COVID pandemic and suggesting he should be prosecuted.

“After prosecution, the chair, the gallows, or lethal injection?” Bouchard wrote in the post, which was accompanied by an image of Fauci superimposed and a hanging noose. The senator told WyoFile that he made the meme himself.

As of Monday, the post had been removed, and campaign spokeswoman April Poley was not sure why it had been taken down, she told Cowboy State Daily.

However, she did say that she didn’t believe the senator had any regrets about making the post.

“I think he is pretty clear with his thoughts on Fauci in that post,” she told Cowboy State Daily on Monday.

Fauci has been criticized for his handling of the pandemic, especially by Bouchard. The senator has expressed his displeasure at Fauci for not promoting the controversial coronavirus treatments of ivermectin or hydroxychloroquine, both of which Bouchard has touted in social media posts.

“Fauci lied. People died,” Poley said.

Bouchard has never been one to shy away from expressing his opinions, whether they be controversial or not, Poley said, adding he is not the type of person to check on what voters think about an issue before commenting.

“He doesn’t do voter opinion polling before he says what he thinks,” she said.

Bouchard is one of the candidates staying in the congressional race following Cheyenne attorney Harriet Hageman’s announcement last week that she would be seeking the Republican nomination for Wyoming’s lone House of Representatives seat. Former President Donald Trump endorsed Hageman just hours after she announced her run.

Bouchard said Wyoming voters shouldn’t trust Hageman because she “was a close friend of Cheney.”

“Harriet has never been elected,” Bouchard said. “She doesn’t have a voting record, and now the voters should trust a party operative that is a long time close friend of Cheney? Trump has once again surrounded himself with the wrong advisors and he’s endorsed the same candidate that Liz Cheney would endorse to replace her in her congressional seat.”

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

Hageman Says She’s Running For Congress Because Cheney Betrayed Wyoming

in News/politics
13250

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

U.S. House of Representatives candidate Harriet Hageman gave her first televised interview on Thursday night, telling Fox News host Laura Ingraham she was running for the lone House seat because incumbent U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney “betrayed” Wyoming.

Ingraham pointed out that Hageman has previously been a Cheney friend, supporter and donor and questioned what made her want to enter the House race.

“It’s very simple: Liz Cheney has betrayed Wyoming,” Hageman replied. “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 only announced her candidacy on Thursday, with an endorsement from former President Donald Trump following just hours later.

In that time, two House candidates have exited the race, Cheyenne attorney Darin Smith and Bryan Miller. However, candidates Sen. Anthony Bouchard and Denton Knapp will stay in the race.

Rep. Chuck Gray has not responded to requests for comment about whether or not he will drop out.

Hageman said some of the issues she took with Cheney was the congresswoman’s decision to impeach the former president earlier this year following the Capitol riot in January, as well as her serving on the Jan. 6 commission investigating the events of the riot.

“She is focusing on issues that are important to the Democrats in Washington, D.C. as they attempt to deflect attention from the absolute disaster that is the Biden administration,” she said. “She continues to bash President Trump, as well as the citizens of Wyoming.”

Hageman added that Wyoming’s voters sent her to Washington, D.C. to be Trump’s ally, as 70% of the state voted for him in the 2020 presidential election, and to pursue conservative values.

Ingraham pointed to Cheney’s response to Hageman’s congressional campaign announcement with a tweet saying “Bring it,” but the attorney was not intimidated by her opponent.

“I’m not sure that that projects a lot of confidence,” Hageman said. “She wants to spend her time fighting with President Trump rather than fighting Biden and Pelosi.”

During her interview, Hageman made a dig at Cheney’s lack of time spent in Wyoming, noting 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.

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

Carbon County GOP Chairman Correnti Asks House Candidates If They Will Drop Out

in News/politics
13204

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

The chairman of the Carbon County Republican Party asked Wyoming’s U.S. House candidates on Thursday if they will drop out of the race following former President Donald Trump’s endorsement of new candidate Harriet Hageman.

During a House candidate forum held earlier this year, many of the contenders indicated they would abandon their runs if Trump did not endorse them.

Correnti emailed the House candidates on Thursday morning and pointedly asked them about their plans.

“Based on your earlier statement when asked ‘Candidates, will you endorse the candidate that President Trump endorses…at the K.W. Miller Forum, [your] answer was ‘YES GOP NATIONAL AN GOP WYOMING,'” Correnti wrote.

“Based on your answer to that question, and the newly formed situation where President Trump has now officially endorsed Harriet Hageman…are you prepared to honor your word to the people and endorse Harriet…for Wyoming’s lone seat in the U.S. House of Representatives and step aside in this race?”

It wasn’t clear if any of the candidates to which he reached out responded.

Candidates Denton Knapp, Darin Smith and Rep. Chuck Gray, R-Casper, did not immediately respond to Cowboy State Daily’s question about if they were going to drop it. Smith and Gray also met with the former president earlier in the summer.

Sen. Anthony Bouchard, R-Cheyenne, will stay in the race, campaign spokeswoman April Poley confirmed to Cowboy State Daily.

“He isn’t one of the five that promised to drop out,” she said.

Congresswoman Liz Cheney reacted to the endorsement by posting Trump’s statement on her Twitter account along with two words:  “Bring it.”

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

Harriet Hageman Announces Her Run For Congress

in News/Liz Cheney/politics
13192

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

By Jimmy Orr, Cowboy State Daily

Fresh off the reports that former gubernatorial candidate Harriet Hageman will receive a endorsement from former President Trump, Hageman on Thursday announced she is running for U.S. Congress.

Choosing to make the initial announcement digitally (on Facebook and on her website), Hageman said Cheney “doesn’t represent Wyoming” and that the state “deserves better.”

“I’m running for Congress because I am a Deep-Rooted Wyomingite who is sick of being misrepresented in Washington. We need a Tough Conservative to stand up against Nancy Pelosi, not help her divide Republicans,” Hageman said.

“Liz Cheney cast her lot with the Washington, D.C. elites and those who use their power to further their own agenda at our expense,” she said. “She doesn’t represent Wyoming and she doesn’t represent conservatives. We deserve better. We demand better. I am running to represent Wyomingites and take our state back from big government.”

It’s been a week full of announcements for Hageman. On Tuesday, she resigned as the state’s national Republican commiteewoman. On Wednesday, reports surfaced that former President Trump had selected Hageman as his choice to run against Cheney.

And today’s announcement will undoubtedly be followed by a formal press event announcing her bid.

Of the other candidates who are running against Cheney, only state Sen. Anthony Bouchard offered a response to Trump’s selection of Hageman.

“Harriet has never been elected,” he said. “She doesn’t have a voting record, and now the voters should trust a party operative that is a long time close friend of Cheney? Trump has once again surrounded himself with the wrong advisors and he’s endorsed the same candidate that Liz Cheney would endorse to replace her in her congressional seat.”

Cheyenne attorney Darin Smith and state Rep. Chuck Gray did not respond to requests from Cowboy State Daily for comment.

This story is ongoing and will be updated.

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

Lummis Says Raising Debt Ceiling Would Just Be Kicking Can Down The Road

in News/Cynthia Lummis/politics
13163

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

U.S. Sen. Cynthia Lummis took to social media on Wednesday to discuss the national debt ceiling, which she doesn’t feel should be raised, as it would just be akin to kicking the can down the road.

This week, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that Democratic leadership should either raise or suspend the debt ceiling as soon as possible, as the nation is in trouble on defaulting on its debt, according to CNBC.

“I wasn’t in office last time we had this fight, but I would have voted no then too,” Lummis wrote on social media Wednesday morning, linking to a Politico article about the situation. “Raising the debt ceiling is just another attempt to kick the can down the road instead of fixing our spending problem.”

Congress raised the debt ceiling in 2017 under former President Donald Trump.

On Friday, Lummis also posted a link to an opinion piece by U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin in the Wall Street Journal, noting why he wouldn’t support spending another $3.5 trillion due to the nation’s rising debt.

“Joe Manchin is right, ‘An overheating economy has imposed a costly ‘inflation tax’ on every middle- and working-class American” and our national debt is the “biggest threat to national security,’” Lummis wrote.

Lawmakers have until some time in October to decide on raising or suspending the debt ceiling.

According to CNBC, the ceiling prevents the U.S. Treasury from issuing new bonds to fund government activities once a certain debt level, or date, is reached.

That level reached $22 trillion in August 2019 and was suspended until the end of July 2021. The Congressional Budget Office estimated in July that the new cap will likely come in just north of $28.5 trillion.

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

Cheney Opponents Call Her “Traitor” and “Climbing Ranks of Dem Party” After Jan 6 Committee Appointment

in News/Liz Cheney/politics
13008

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Two of the candidates for Wyoming’s lone U.S. House seat criticized U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney after she was appointed vice chair of the Jan. 6 commission on Thursday, with both saying she is more supportive of the Democrat Party than the Republican.

Rep. Chuck Gray, R-Casper, and Sen. Anthony Bouchard, R-Cheyenne, told Cowboy State Daily on Thursday that Cheney was acting in a traitorous fashion by accepting the appointment.

“In her true form, Liz Cheney is climbing the ranks of the Democrat Party instead of working for the Republican voters in Wyoming that put her in office,” Bouchard said.

“Liz Cheney is a traitor to Wyoming and all Americans,” Gray said. “She hates our western values and people who question the government.  Cheney is Nancy Pelosi’s pet.”

The Casper representative also called the commission a “plain, simple attempt to scare anyone out of questioning the results of the fraudulent election.”

“With Liz Cheney’s being appointed Vice Chair to the committee, she again signals that she believes her only duty is to maintain her family’s power in DC and quash our movement,” Gray said. “That’s disgusting, despicable, and un-American. Liz Cheney has been and will always be a sell-out to the radical socialists. Cheney must be removed from the Republican conference and removed from all of her committee assignments.”

Bouchard and Gray are among at least eight Republicans seeking the GOP nomination for Congress in the 2022 primary election.

Cheyenne businessman Darin Smith, another candidate for the office did not immediately return Cowboy State Daily’s request for comment.

The appointment of Cheney, one of only two Republicans on the panel, was announced to the leadership post on Thursday morning by Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Mississippi, where he said her selection “underscores the bipartisan nature” of the committee.

Cheney confirmed the in a statement Thursday morning, when she said the committee is dedicated to “conducting a non-partisan, professional, and thorough investigation of all the relevant facts.”

Meanwhile, the chairman of the House Freedom Caucus has asked GOP Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to remove Cheney from the committee.

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

Cheney: Biden Handed Afghanistan Over To Taliban, ISIS

in News/Liz Cheney/politics
12953

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

President Joe Biden’s decision to withdraw United States forces from Afghanistan after 20 years was ultimately the move that handed the country over to terrorist organizations, U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney said Tuesday.

“If President Biden were serious about defending America from the threat of terror, he wouldn’t have surrendered to the terrorists and handed the Taliban, al Qaeda and ISIS an entire country from which they can plot and plan terror attacks against America,” she said on Twitter.

“You don’t end wars by surrendering,” she said. “You don’t secure America by leaving Americans behind enemy lines, betraying our allies, and empowering our enemies. This isn’t ending a war. It’s losing one.”

Addressing the nation on Tuesday, Biden said withdrawal from the country was the best available option and that it would have been just as messy if launched weeks earlier, according to the news agency Reuters. Earlier this month, the Taliban terrorist organization took control of the Afghan government.

Multiple people have been killed in the chaos in the country since the Taliban took control, including Wyoming Marine Lance Cpl. Rylee McCollum, who was set to become a father in just a few weeks.

The war in Afghanistan saw more than 2,500 Americans and more than 240,000 Afghans killed in its two-decade duration. Many Afghans are fleeing to the United States, but Gov. Mark Gordon has stated he has no interest in accepting refugees into Wyoming.

Two Wyoming representatives publicly disagreed with the governor over the weekend, saying that Wyoming should have some type of refugee program to accept those displaced.

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

Cheyenne Rep Drafts Bill Banning Workplace Vaccine Mandates

in News/Coronavirus/politics
12851

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

A state representative has drafted a bill that would prohibit employers from adopting vaccine requirements for their employees.

The draft is sponsored by Rep. Sue Wilson, R-Cheyenne, but hasn’t yet been assigned a bill number. Wilson told Cowboy State Daily on Friday that she began working on the bill in April after she saw news stories about the potential of vaccine mandates becoming a problem.

“I have received quite a few emails from other legislators and citizens (particularly those in healthcare jobs) who agree with the bill’s approach and do not want to see vaccine mandates,” she said.

She brought the bill to the House Labor Committee in June so the legislators could consider sponsoring it, as she and many of the other lawmakers believed they would have a special session in July to appropriate American Rescue Plan funds.

The committee voted 13-1 to sponsor the bill, but since there was no special session this summer, the legislature will consider the bill during the next session in February.

“The bill uses existing terminology and requirements from labor law and court decisions,” Wilson said. “The bill would require an employer to make reasonable accommodation for employees who do not wish to be vaccinated, unless the accommodation would create an undue hardship or pose a direct threat to health. Courts and HR offices have been threading this needle for several decades, so I felt this language was the best way to find a middle path between rights of an employee and rights of an employer.”

She added that she believed vaccine mandates are more intrusive and on a different level than a mask mandate, which the legislature has authorized to be made locally.

The bill proposes a ban workplace vaccine mandates, calling them discriminatory and an unfair employment practice.

It would also require health care facilities, governmental entities and essential service providers to offer reasonable accommodations for people unable or unwilling to provide sufficient proof of immunization.

Finally, it would create a personal exemption to mandatory vaccinations for school children.

Wyoming’s Legislature opens its budget session on Feb. 14.

No Wyoming-owned businesses or government entities have implemented a vaccine requirement. However, some companies, such as Banner Health, which operates a number of health care facilities in the state, including the Wyoming Medical Center in Casper, have done so.

Active members of the U.S. military will also have to receive a coronavirus vaccine.

Gov. Mark Gordon has refused to implement any new health mandates, masks or otherwise. Instead, he is allowing Wyoming cities, counties and school districts decide for themselves on whether or not a mask mandate is appropriate.

Only Montana has passed a law now banning workplace vaccine mandates.

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

South Dakota Gov. Noem Promises To Fight Any Possible Federal Vaccine Mandate

in News/Coronavirus/politics
12713

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Despite the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s approval of the Pfizer vaccine on Monday, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem will not stand for any vaccine mandates in her state.

Noem took to social media on Monday afternoon to reassure her state’s residents there would be no mandates coming out of her office and she would fight President Joe Biden if he decided to impose a national vaccine mande.

“If President Biden illegally mandates vaccines, I will take every action available under the law to protect South Dakotans from the federal government,” Noem said on her social media account on Monday afternoon.

Earlier this year, Noem also banned “vaccine passports” in South Dakota in action similar to that taken by many of her Republican counterparts.

Michael Pearlman, spokesman for Gov. Mark Gordon, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment for the Wyoming governor’s thoughts on a potential federal mandate.

However, state health officer Dr. Alexia Harrist reaffirmed in a statement on Monday that there would be no vaccine mandates for Wyoming students returning to school, something Gordon told news reporters last week during a call.

“While there will be no state vaccine mandate in Wyoming, we know promoting vaccination among eligible students, school staff, family members and throughout our communities can help schools stay open and vibrant as well as help keep students and their teachers in the classroom,” Harrist said. “An additional benefit to COVID-19 vaccination is that individuals who are fully vaccinated and identified as close contacts do not need to quarantine, which can be helpful in the school setting.”

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

Two More Republicans Surface As Cheney Opponents

in News/politics
12366

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

By Bill Sniffin, publisher, Cowboy State Daily

An online political publication has identified two more Wyoming Republicans as congressional candidates who were interviewed by former President Donald Trump in his search for a challenger to the re-election campaign of U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney.

State Sen. Bo Biteman, R-Ranchester, and Casper resident Catharine O’Neill were identified by Politico as joining state Rep. Charles Gray, R-Casper, and Cheyenne businessman Darin Smith in seeking Trump’s endorsement in the GOP primary for the U.S. House of Representatives.

Trump has vowed to work for Cheney’s defeat should she seek election to a fourth term as Wyoming’s lone U.S. House seat. Cheney was one of 10 House Republicans to vote for Trump’s impeachment on allegations his comments led to the invasion of the Capitol on Jan. 6.

Smith confirmed last week he met with Trump and a spokesman for another campaign said Gray was invited to New Jersey for the meeting as well.

The Politico article identified Biteman and O’Neill as also being interviewed. O’Neill’s Twitter account showed a picture of her standing with the former president.

Neither one immediately responded to a request for comment.

Cowboy State Daily reported last week that a push-poll was being conducted in Wyoming to determine Biteman’s name familiarity with voters and gauge how well he would compete against the other contenders and incumbent Cheney.

Biteman, who served in the Wyoming House of Representatives for two years before being elected to the state Senate in 2018, sponsored a bill that the Trump organization pushed for, which would see Wyoming using a runoff system in elections where no candidate received 50% or more of the votes cast. It failed to get legislative approval in time for the 2022 election cycle.

O’Neill has described herself on social media as being a private citizen living in Casper with family ties in Wyoming going back generations. She has also said she is a longtime landowner in Wyoming.

She worked for the Trump administration for three years in the State Department, and prior to that worked for his campaign in 2016. In 2020, she ran “Catholics for Trump” during his re-election bid.

She said that for the last seven months, she has been working with Wyoming ranchers to create a viable option to have cattle slaughtered and processed here in the state rather than shipping them to packing plants in other states.

O’Neill, an heir to the Rockefeller fortune, attended the GOP rally for South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem in Cheyenne last week and told one source that she intends to buy a cattle feedlot in Wheatland soon.

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

Trump: Wyoming Should Have Run-Off Elections

in News/politics
12315

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Former President Donald Trump said on Friday that Wyoming should have a runoff election to get U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney out of office.

In a statement, Trump said that Wyoming voters want a clear majority winner in the Republican primary for the state’s lone U.S. House seat and the only mechanism that accomplishes this is a runoff election, “pitting the top two candidates against each other.”

“Conservative Republicans in the Wyoming State Legislature like Senator Bo Biteman and Representative Chip Nieman led this effort. Unfortunately and sadly for Wyoming voters, RINO State Legislators stood in the way, defeating the Run-Off Election bills,” Trump said Friday.

The bill the president was referencing, Senate File 145, made it through committee during the Legislature’s session earlier this year, but was ultimately killed during this year’s legislative session. It would have called for a runoff election to be held between the leading two candidates in a race if no candidate received a majority of the votes cast in the primary election.

Earlier this year, Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr. voiced his support for run-off elections in the state as well.

The younger Trump framed his argument in support of the bill as opposition to Cheney, one of a handful of Republicans in the U.S. House to vote for the impeachment of the former president.

“The easiest way to defeat Deplorable Liz Cheney is by having only ONE Conservative candidate run and WIN! Wyoming Patriots will no longer stand for Nancy Pelosi and her new lapdog RINO Liz Cheney!” the elder Trump said on Friday.

Cheney handily won both the primary and general elections in 2020. In her first bid for Congress in 2016, she won almost 40% of the votes cast in the Republican primary.

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

Wyoming Congressional Candidate Darin Smith Raises $177K In Second Quarter

in News/politics
12130

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

A Cheyenne businessman running for Congress has raised more than $170,000 in his bid to unseat U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney, according to documents filed with the Federal Election Commission.

Darin Smith, who entered the race to unseat Cheney in May, raised a little more than $177,000 as of June 30, according to his fundraising report for the second quarter of 2021.

Smith and other candidates for federal office are required to file quarterly reports on what they have raised and spent on the campaign. Smith’s report had not been listed on the main FEC page for Wyoming’s congressional race when Cowboy State Daily ran a story on the report last week.

Smith’s report showed he raised a total of $177,058 since entering the campaign, most of it, $171,000, coming from individuals. Another $5,550 came from loans, the reports showed.

State Sen. Anthony Bouchard, R-Cheyenne, raised $209,635 in donations from individuals in the second quarter of the year, all from individual donations, while state Rep. Chuck Gray, R-Casper, raised $221,054. However, most of Gray’s second-quarter income, $165,194, came from loans made or guaranteed by the candidate.

Cheney, meanwhile, raised $1.7 million, with about $1.5 million coming from individuals.

Of Smith’s donations, $43,550 came from individuals from Wyoming, below Cheney’s Wyoming total of $53,750, but ahead of Gray’s at $33,750 and Bouchard’s at $28,625 so far this year.

Another candidate for Wyoming’s lone U.S. House seat whose report was filed with the FEC but not listed on its main Wyoming page was Sheridan businessman Bryan Miller, whose report shows he has raised $3,665 so far this year, all in loans.

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

Virginians Biggest Contributors To Cheney Campaign, More Than $220K

in News/Liz Cheney/politics
12128

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

Residents of Virginia have donated more than four times as much to the campaign of U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney as residents of Wyoming, according to documents filed with the Federal Election Commission.

Reports filed with the FEC show that so far this year, Virginia residents have donated $225,646 to Cheney, making the state the top contributor in the nation for the Republican. Wyoming, with a donation total of $53,750, comes in at seventh place — behind Virginia, Washington, D.C., California, New York, Maryland and Florida.

However, the Wyoming donations to the campaigns of Cheney’s top opponents were lower, the reports showed.

State Rep. Charles Gray, R-Casper, has raised about $33,750 from individual contributors in Wyoming so far this year, while Wyoming donors for state Sen. Anthony Bouchard have contributed $28,625, according to their reports.

The candidates for U.S. House were to submit reports by Thursday detailing donations to their campaigns and what they have spent through the second quarter of the year, which ended June 30.

Of the nine individuals who have announced they plan to challenge Cheney, the second-quarter reports of only three have been posted on the FEC’s website — Bouchard, Everett Denton Knapp of Gillette and Marissa Joy Selvig of Riverton.

The report of state Rep. Charles Gray, R-Casper, had not been processed for posting on the FEC website as of Friday, however, a representative provided the campaign’s raw report to Cowboy State Daily.

Other challengers to Cheney, including Cheyenne businessman Darin Smith, Sheridan resident Bryan Miller and Sheridan businesswoman Robyn Belinskey, are not yet listed on the FEC website as candidates for Wyoming’s lone U.S. House seat, although all announced their candidacies this spring.

The report showed that Cheney continued to handily outdistance her opponents for fundraising in the second quarter of the year, raising $1.7 million during the three months to bring her fundraising total so far this year to $3 million.

Of the money contributed to Cheney in the second quarter of the year, almost $1.5 million came from individuals and $262,500 came from political action committees.

According to Bouchard’s reports, his campaign raised $209,635 in the second quarter of the year, bringing his fundraising totals to $543,800 for the year.

All of Bouchard’s second-quarter donations came from individuals.

Gray’s second-quarter donations totaled $55,860, most of which, almost $54,615, came from individuals. The donations between April and the end of June raised Gray’s total contributions for the year to $96,014.

Another $165,194 was raised through a loan made or guaranteed by Gray during the second quarter, according to the records, raising his campaign’s total loan amount for the year to about $298,300.

The report for Knapp, who entered the race in May, showed he has raised $8,675, all if it from individuals.

Selvig’s report showed she raised $122.50 during the second quarter, all in the form of individual donations, bringing her fundraising total to $2,090 for the year.

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

Cheney: Biden’s BLM Nominee Should Be Immediately Withdrawn

in News/Liz Cheney/politics
11986

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

The nomination of Tracy Stone-Manning to head the U.S. Bureau of Land Management should be withdrawn for a number of reasons, including her work with two men later imprisoned for acts of eco-terrorism, according to U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney.

Cheney joined her colleague U.S. Sen. John Barrasso this week in opposing President Joe Biden’s current nominee to head the BLM.

Cheney penned a letter to Biden on Thursday, formally asking him to withdraw Stone-Manning’s nomination to head the BLM for a number of reasons, including her previous friendship with two men who were convicted of putting spikes into hundreds of trees in Idaho’s Clearwater National Forest to block a timber sale in 1989.

“Through these actions, she has shown she is not the right person to lead the BLM and her nomination should be immediately withdrawn,” the representative wrote in her letter to the president.

The letter cited several examples of Stone-Manning’s past policy positions and actions that Cheney felt made her unfit to lead the bureau, including her comments critical of “multiple use,” a BLM policy requiring that resources on public lands be used for a variety of purposes to best benefit the public. Cheney also pointed to Stone-Manning’s support for penalizing the energy industry, her opposition to the sage-grouse final environmental impact statements and her involvement in the tree-spiking incident.

Cheney added that Stone-Manning’s beliefs showed a “complete lack of understanding needed to manage lands consistent with BLM’s core mandate of multiple use,” which would continue to diminish economic activity in rural states and cause harm to communities across the west.

According to Fox News, Stone-Manning was granted immunity in the tree spiking incident in exchange for admitting that she retyped and sent an anonymous and threatening letter to the U.S. Forest Service on behalf of John P. Blount, her former roommate and friend.

Stone-Manning eventually testified against Blount and Jeffrey Fairchild, both of whom were later convicted of the tree spiking, according to E&E News. Court records indicated she had no knowledge of the tree spiking itself.

Cheney said Stone-Manning’s involvement in the incident was highly disturbing and added that former BLM director Bob Alley, who served under President Barack Obama, even felt her nomination should be withdrawn due to her ties with eco-terrorists.

This echoed similar statements made by Barrasso over the last month about the BLM nominee.

“Tracy Stone-Manning lied to the Senate (Energy and Natural Resources) Committee by claiming the tree spiking was ‘alleged’ & that she was never investigated,” Barrasso said on social media in late June. “Now, we have confirmation that neither of those things are true. @POTUS must withdraw her nomination.”

Stone-Manning is a longtime Montana government official and current senior adviser for conservation policy at the National Wildlife Federation.

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

Bouchard, Gray Call For NPR, Public Media to Be Defunded

in News/politics
11890

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Two of Wyoming’s legislators and current congressional candidates are calling for an end to federal funding for National Public Radio and other public media.

Both Sen. Anthony Bouchard, R-Cheyenne, and Rep. Chuck Gray, R-Casper, called for defunding NPR on Monday.

“Public Media needs to be defunded! #DefundNPR #DefundTheLeft” Bouchard wrote on social media.

He added that Wyoming Republicans didn’t listen to the “liberal blather” on NPR.

Bouchard campaign spokeswoman April Poley told Cowboy State Daily on Tuesday that the senator made the post after being sent an article by state Rep. Bob Wharff, R-Evanston, from NPR quoting an author who maintains the Second Amendment is based in racist principles.

The article in question was a June 2 interview with historian Carol Anderson about her book “The Second: Race and Guns in a Fatally Unequal America,” which traces the roots of the Second Amendment and potential racist ties.

“One of the things that I argue throughout this book is that it is just being Black that is the threat. And so when you mix that being Black as the threat with bearing arms, it’s an exponential fear,” Anderson said in the interview. “This isn’t an anti-gun or a pro-gun book. This is a book about African Americans’ rights.”

Anderson was inspired to write the book after the 2016 shooting of Philando Castile, a Black man who had a license to carry a concealed weapon but was killed by police during a traffic stop. Castile’s girlfriend posted the aftermath of the shooting on social media, causing a frenzy online.

Poley pointed out that Gray posted a similar message about defunding NPR about four hours after Bouchard’s post.

#DefundNPR,” Gray wrote on Twitter Monday morning.

Gray told Cowboy State Daily on Tuesday afternoon that he saw an article from Fox News that claimed NPR described the Declaration of Independence as a document with “flaws and deeply ingrained hypocrisies.”

“The radical left-wing NPR does not hold our values and should be immediately defunded,” the representative said.

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

Cheney Votes to Remove Confederate Statues From Capitol, Lummis Calls Vote ‘Distraction’

in News/politics
11850

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney joined the majority of her House colleagues this week in voting to remove all Confederate statues from the U.S. Capitol.

However, a spokeswoman for one of Cheney’s Wyoming colleagues in the U.S. Senate dismissed the action as taking attention away from more important issues facing Congress.

Cheney joined 284 other representatives in voting for the resolution, which was aimed in part at removing a bust of Chief Justice Roger Taney, who wrote the Dred Scott decision that declared Black people were not U.S. citizens.

“I joined the majority of my House Republican colleagues in voting to replace the bust of Chief Justice Taney, who wrote the pro-slavery Dred Scott decision, with the statue of Justice Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American Supreme Court Justice,” Cheney told Cowboy State Daily on Friday. “I also support removing statues of those who served in the confederacy. They should not have a place of honor in our Capitol Building.”

The measure said removal of Taney’s bust will show that Congress recognizes the error made with the 1857 decision.

“While the removal of Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney’s bust from the United States Capitol does not relieve the Congress of the historical wrongs it committed to protect the institution of slavery, it expresses Congress’s recognition of one of the most notorious wrongs to have ever taken place in one of its rooms, that of Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney’s Dred Scott v. Sandford decision,” the legislation said.

A statue of Taney was removed from the Maryland State House in 2017, according to National Public Radio.

The legislation would direct the architect of the Capitol to identify and remove all statues and busts that depict members of the Confederacy from public display within 45 days of the resolution’s enactment.

Any removed statue that was provided to the Capitol by a state would be returned to the state, which could then elect to replace it with another honoree.

Among the Confederate statues, there is a statue of Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederacy, displayed in Statuary Hall. The bill also mentioned the removal of statues of Charles Brantley Aycock, John Caldwell Calhoun and James Paul Clarke, three men who defended slavery and segregation.

However, a spokeswoman for U.S. Sen. Cynthia Lummis said that the vote was ultimately a distraction from the real issues the senator and the people of Wyoming wanted Congress to address.

“States have historically decided which residents of theirs they want to honor, and this move flies in the face of that tradition, but more importantly this is a distraction from the real issues that Senator Lummis and the people of Wyoming want Congress to address, namely the border crisis, rising inflation, the Biden administration’s attack on American energy and the national debt,” spokeswoman Abegail Cave told Cowboy State Daily on Friday.

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

Lummis, Barrasso Criticize ATF For Proposed Pistol Brace Rule

in News/politics
11744

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

U.S. Sens. John Barrasso and Cynthia Lummis have joined a majority of their Republicans in the Senate in sending a letter to the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms asking it to withdraw a newly proposed gun rule.

Barrasso and Lummis joined 46 of their Republican colleagues in signing the letter to the ATF late last week that criticized proposed restrictions on “stabilizing braces” for handguns, saying they amounted to an infringement on Second Amendment rights.

“Every day, people across Wyoming responsibly use their Second Amendment rights to keep and bear arms,” Barrasso said. “This proposed rule threatens to turn law-abiding Americans into criminals by imposing the largest executive branch-initiated gun registration and confiscation program in American history. Our letter calls on the Biden administration to correct this mistake and withdraw this misguided rule.”

The rule, which was proposed earlier this month, would reclassify many pistols used with stabilizing braces as short-barreled rifles. A federal license is required to own a short-barreled rifle under the National Firearms Act, according to a Fox News article.

The letter from the senators said that by creating this rule, the ATF is suggesting the braces are “dangerous alterations to firearms designed to help criminals evade federal law,” which couldn’t be further from the truth.

“Stabilizing braces were initially designed and manufactured to assist disabled combat veterans in shooting larger pistols that were otherwise too cumbersome for a disabled gun owner to use,” Lummis told Cowboy State Daily. “The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives has previously ruled that they are permissible. This decision to overturn that ruling infringes on the Second Amendment rights of disabled veterans and non-veterans alike, across Wyoming and the nation.”

According to the ATF, the proposed rule would not affect stabilizing braces that are “designed to conform to the arm,” only devices that are designed to allow a handgun to be fired from the shoulder, like a rifle, the Fox News article said.

Republican Senators argued that the ATF’s criteria with this new rule is “vague, confusing, and largely subjective.”

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

Barrasso: Biden’s Eco-Terrorist BLM Nominee Should Be Removed

in News/politics
11709

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

The involvement of President Joe Biden’s nominee to head the U.S. Bureau of Land Management in what U.S. Sen. John Barrasso described as an “eco-terrorist operation” should be cause to withdraw her nomination, Barrasso said.

Barrasso said a recent discovery of activities by Tracy Stone-Manning linked to a plan to embed spikes in trees that were targeted for harvest should lead to her being removed from consideration for the post.

“Tracy Stone-Manning collaborated with eco-terrorists who had booby-trapped trees with metal spikes,” Barrasso wrote on Twitter Monday morning. “She mailed the threatening letter for them and she was part of the cover-up.”

This was in reference to Stone-Manning’s involvement in a 1989 incident in Idaho, when individuals placed metal spikes in trees in a national forest to prevent them from being sold in a timber sale.

“Tracy Stone-Manning lied to the Senate (Energy and Natural Resources) Committee by claiming the tree spiking was ‘alleged’ & that she was never investigated,” Barrasso said on social media Monday. “Now, we have confirmation that neither of those things are true. @POTUS must withdraw her nomination.”

According to Fox News, Stone-Manning was granted immunity in the incident in exchange for testifying that she retyped and sent an anonymous and threatening letter to the U.S. Forest Service on behalf of John P. Blount, her former roommate and friend.

“This investigator has confirmed what I have been saying,” Barrasso also wrote on social media Monday, linking to an article about the BLM nominee from E&E News, which covers energy and environmental issues. “Tracy Stone-Manning collaborated with eco-terrorists who had booby-trapped trees with metal spikes. She mailed the threatening letter for them and she was part of the cover-up.”

Barrasso is a ranking member on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee and has been outspoken about Stone-Manning’s ties to the incident. He has said before that her involvement with the environmental group Earth First should disqualifying her for the BLM post.

Stone-Manning eventually testified against two activist friends, Blount and Jeffrey Fairchild, both of whom were later convicted of embedding spikes in hundreds of trees in Idaho’s Clearwater National Forest in an effort to block a 1989 timber sale, according to E&E News. Court records indicated she had no knowledge of the tree spiking.

Stone-Manning is a longtime Montana government official and current senior adviser for conservation policy at the National Wildlife Federation.

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

Wyoming Democratic Party Infiltrated By Political Spies; “We Will Press On,” Spokeswoman Says

in News/politics
11657

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Wyoming’s Democratic Party will not be intimidated by efforts by a pair of political operatives to infiltrate its ranks as reported by the New York times, according to a party spokeswoman.

Nina Hebert told Cowboy State Daily on Friday that the two alleged spies, identified by the newspaper as Beau Maier and Sophia LaRocca, found nothing within the Democratic Party that could embarrass the party.

“We’re sad to see people like this exist in this world, although we aren’t surprised,” Hebert said. “If part of their goal was to make it harder for us to welcome volunteers, they’ve been totally unsuccessful. We will continue to work and press on.”

The newspaper published a story Friday alleging that the Maier and LaRocca were recruited by conservative forces to infiltrate the Wyoming Democratic Party and collect information that could be damaging to the party, as well as Democrat and moderate Republican candidates for office.

Maier is a Cody native and the nephew to conservative commentator Glenn Beck. He and LaRocca previously worked for Project Veritas, a far-right activist group.

The New York Times, citing unidentified sources, said the operation was funded by Gore-Tex heiress Susan Gore, who founded the Wyoming Liberty Group. According to the story by Mark Mazetti and Adam Goldman, Maier and LaRocca received training for covert operations at a ranch near Cody owned by Blackwater founder Erik Prince, where Maier’s mother works as a cook. 

Hebert said while she knows the couple secretly recorded conversations among Wyoming Democratic Party staffers, they collected no damning information.

“They might have gotten some recordings of people saying they were overworked, tired and maybe thinking ‘Why do I do this job?'” she said. “But we’re not doing anything wrong. We stay on the right side of the law. It’s much ado about nothing.”

Hebert said that while the Democratic Party has brought their lawyer into conversations about this situation, they currently have no evidence of anything illegal taking place.

However, she added the party would welcome an investigation into donations made by Maier to the Wyoming Democratic Party.

“We haven’t currently returned that donation, but we also have no interest in keeping dirty money,” she said.

Hebert added that the party also doesn’t believe the Wyoming Republican Party is involved with the political espionage.

Wyoming Republican Party officials could not be immediately reached for comment.

The alleged operation was called a disgrace to the state by a state legislator whose husband runs an organization reported targeted by the two.

Rep. Karlee Provenza, D-Laramie, whose husband Nate Martin heads “Better Wyoming,” a liberal grassroots organization, penned an open letter to her colleagues in the Legislature on Friday criticizing the action.

“Maier, LaRocca and the people who hired them have disgraced the integrity of the State of Wyoming, the chambers we serve and the relationships we have built with one another,” the representative said. “They have dishonored the institution we all swore an oath to serve.”

She added that Maier, LaRocca and their employers were working to tear the Wyoming House of Representatives apart and cause chaos and distrust among Republicans and Democrats.

Provenza also said this would be a defining moment for the Wyoming Legislature and politicians should decide what they think is acceptable.

“What sort of legacy do we want this Legislature to leave, and what must be done to ensure our legacy is one of integrity, respect and honor?” she wrote.

According to the New York Times account, Maier approached Better Wyoming posing as a military veteran suffering from PTSD who supported the legalization of marijuana to treat medical problems.

LaRocca, who at the time identified herself as Sofia “Cat” Deabreu, participated in the fall 2019 Better Wyoming Grassroots Institute, a multi-week course meant to equip Wyoming residents with skills and knowledge to build grassroots power and effect change in their communities. 

Both Martin and Provenza befriended the operatives while they were undercover and even shared meals together.

“The whole time, they were lying to my wife and me about who they were and what they were up to, and they were actively trying to get us to say or do things that could ruin our careers and hurt us,” Martin told the New York Times. “Politics aside, that’s just a disgusting thing to do to other people. But, again, the people who hired them support policies that defund public schools and block folks from getting healthcare, so it’s pretty clear they don’t care much about people to begin with.” 

It is unknown what information Maier and Larocca captured, and none of it has been released publicly so far.

In February 2020, a person affiliated with Maier and LaRocca secretly recorded Martin and another Better Wyoming staffer after an event at the Laramie County Library in Cheyenne. That footage was posted on a now-deleted website, WyoRinoHunters.com.  

Maier also made two donations to Better Wyoming of $1,000 each.  

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

Cheney: It’s Unfortunate Biden Chose to Meet With Putin

in News/Liz Cheney/politics
11509

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney is questioning President Joe Biden’s decision to meet this week with Russian President Vladimir Putin during an international summit.

Cheney appeared on the Hugh Hewitt Show Thursday morning to talk about her distrust for the Russian president and her belief Biden shouldn’t give the Russian president a platform.

“It was unfortunate that President Biden decided to go to this meeting with Putin,” she said on the radio program. “We see this again and again where U.S. presidents don’t recognize that meeting with Putin gives him a platform on the world stage.”

Biden and Putin met for three hours on Wednesday to discuss cyberattacks, the conflict in Ukraine, arms control and more, according to The Associated Press.

Cheney said Biden should clearly communicate by his actions that he won’t stand for the alleged misconduct of Putin and other Russians, such as their influence in the 2016 election. She added Biden and his administration did not appear to have a strategy before attending the meeting with Putin.

“I think there were some other things President Biden should have been doing rather than that,” she said.

According to CNN, the U.S. and Russia reached several agreements during the meeting, including the decision to allow each other’s ambassadors to return to their posts. Russia’s ambassador to the United States was called back to Moscow in March after Biden referred to Putin as a “killer,” while the American ambassador to Russia returned to Washington, D.C., in April.

The two leaders also agreed to establish task forces to deal with cyberattacks.

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

All of Wyoming’s Delegation Oppose Teaching Critical Race Theory In Schools

in News/politics
11473

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

A congressional measure critical of “critical race theory” has won the support of U.S. Sen. Cynthia Lummis.

Earlier this week, Lummis backed a bill that would prohibit federal funding from being used to teach the New York Times’ 1619 Project (named after the year Black slaves were first brought to the American colonies) and critical race theory in schools.

Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton introduced the act last July, but reintroduced this week, with support from Lummis, Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and fellow Arkansas Sen. John Boozman, to name a few.

“Students and teachers should have an open and honest dialogue in the classroom about our nation’s history,” Lummis said. “However, the 1619 Project is pushing an anti-American agenda and distorted, revisionist history with hard-earned taxpayer dollars. I’m pleased to join my colleagues in opposing this waste of federal money.”

Lummis is not alone among Wyoming’s congressional delegates in her opposition to critical race theory. U.S. Sen. John Barrasso echoed his colleague’s sentiments in a statement to Cowboy State Daily on Tuesday.

“Students need foundational knowledge about American history and a good understanding of our governing institutions,” he said. “The 1619 Project is the far left’s attempt to force a political and divisive agenda on students across the country.”

In a comment to Cowboy State Daily, U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney said decisions about teaching children should be made by parents and local stakeholders in Wyoming schools, not Washington bureaucrats.

“I strongly oppose the mandated teaching of critical race theory or using taxpayer dollars to advance that curriculum,” she said. “Decisions about teaching and educating our children should not come from Washington bureaucrats or from radical liberals with extreme liberal agendas, but should be made by parents and local stakeholders in Wyoming so we can instill students with the Western values and principles that our state embodies.”

Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Education proposed priorities for American history and civics education grant programs which include encouraging districts to use curriculum related to the New York Times’ 1619 Project (a journalism project that focuses on the consequences of slavery and contributions of Black Americans), critical race theory and the work of anti-racism activist and author Ibram X. Kendi.

Critical race theory is described as some as proposing that racism is a social construct ingrained in American life and laws.

Last month, Wyoming Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow spoke out against the teaching of critical race theory in Wyoming schools.

“The draft rule is an attempt to normalize teaching controversial and politically trendy theories about America’s history. History and civics should not be secondary to politi