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Liz Cheney: Socialism Has Chokehold On The Dems

in Liz Cheney/News/politics

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney appeared on Fox and Friends Wednesday morning to talk the Democratic National Convention, hours after she won the Wyoming primary election.

Cheney hasn’t been shy about her voicing her opinion about the Democratic presidential and vice-presidential candidates, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, respectively. Last week, she tweeted that Harris was a “radical liberal” who wanted to raise taxes and take away guns.

On the Wednesday morning appearance, Cheney said that if Biden and other Democrats won the general election in November, the country wouldn’t see an economic recovery.

“The economic policies that we have seen from President [Donald] Trump and from the Republicans in the House and the Senate over the course of last three-and-a-half years, the cuts in regulation, the cuts in taxes, those are the kinds of things that we have to see to bring the economy back again, to get people back to work,” she said.

“Socialism, which is the promise of Bernie Sanders and A[lexandria] O[casio] C[ortez], they have a chokehold on the Democratic platform, on Joe Biden’s policies going forward. They are the ones that will be setting the policy into the future. That would be an absolute devastation for this country.”

She added that Sanders, Ocasio Cortez and Biden were advocating for socialism while destroying the nation.

Cheney praised Trump’s work on illegal immigration during her Fox appearance, saying his border wall was important because Democrats wanted to use taxpayer funds to give free health care to illegal immigrants.

She also touched on former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s appearance at the DNC, criticizing his work on the Iran nuclear deal framework in 2015.

The representative ended her appearance with a critique of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic Party, saying Pelosi “failed to lead.”

“[Republicans] feel really good about our chances to take a message to the American people that we are the party that is going to bring back economic recovery, that’s going to bring back national security, defeat this virus, and get the economy going again,” she said.

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Wyoming Election Recap: Tuesday Was Big Day For Conservatives; GOP Shifts To The Right

in Bill Sniffin/Column/politics

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By Bill Sniffin, publisher

After the primary election Tuesday, it sure looks like the conservatives won the soul of Wyoming’s Republican Party.

During the primary campaign, it was obvious the Cowboy State seemed to be moving toward a three-party system, with Democrats, far-right conservative Republicans, and Republicans, who are labeled moderate or RINO (Republican in Name Only) by their opponents.

If you are keeping score, it sure appeared to be a wonderful night for the conservative Republicans.  The primary election battlefield was littered with the carcasses of stalwart candidates who had been labeled moderate.

In Wyoming, what the heck does moderate mean?  After Tuesday, it appears that if you show that you might consider raising any kind of tax, then you are a moderate.  Based on these results, it also appears that if you do not sign a pledge for Wyoming gun owners, you could face stiff opposition.

And based on these results, it would appear that the next session of the Legislature could be a truly cantankerous battle between pragmatic moderates who might consider anything to balance the budget versus staunch conservatives who prefer cutting government programs as their way to balance the state budget.  And based on Tuesday’s results, it would appear many of Wyoming’s voters support that position.

Let’s look at some of the results:

Wyoming’s State Senate became more conservative as a result of contested elections in Tuesday’s Wyoming primary election.

State senate races in Cheyenne, Gillette, Riverton, and Cody generated much of the excitement,      

In Campbell County, Incumbent Sen. Michael Von Flatern lost big to Troy McKeown, 1,507 to 626.  Von Flatern had literally been in the sights of the Wyoming Gun Owners, who campaigned vigorously against him. Von Flatern was viewed as a moderate.  A last-minute endorsement by retiring U. S. Sen. Mike Enzi could not save him.

In Laramie County, Sen. Anthony Bouchard held on to his seat, despite heavy opposition from Erin Johnson.  Bouchard’s margin of victory of 2,064 to 1,903 was typically close, as have been almost all of Bouchard’s races.   This result was a surprise to many observers as moderate Wyoming politicians like Sen. Ogden Driskill (R-Devils Tower) openly campaigned against Bouchard.

In Fremont County, State Rep. Tim Salazar moved up to win retiring State Sen. Eli Bebout’s seat with a 2,882 to 1,738 win over businessman Mike Bailey.  Bebout had been in the legislature for decades and was a former Speaker of the House and President of the Senate.

In Park County, Hank Coe was retiring after 31 years in the legislature.  County Commissioner Tim French defeated Rep. David Northrup, 2,174 to 1,442. Stefanie Bell got 1,205 votes. A lot of outside money went into this race.  French was considered by many to be the most conservative of the candidates.

In the House, the biggest upset occurred in District One in Crook and Weston Counties where Chip Neiman defeated Majority Whip Tyler Lindholm, 1,812 to 1,593. Neiman was considered the conservative in this race.  

In Park County, a mud-slinging campaign saw incumbent Sandy Newsome defeat Nina Webber, 1,237 to 868.  It was a hard-fought battle. Webber was considered the conservative with Newsome seen as a moderate.

In somewhat of an upset, Cheyenne Mayor Marian Orr finished third in the primary and will not compete in the general election for a second term. Patrick Collins 8,451 and Rick Coppinger, 2,959, finished first and second.

In another upset of a kind, a one-half cent sales tax to support economic development won in Fremont County by a vote of 5,132 to 5,001. With the state economy in the toilet, observers thought this tax would never pass.  The funds would be used for job development, airport funding, and local shuttle buses.

The two biggest guns running were former U. S. Rep. Cynthia Lummis easily winning the primary for U, S. Senate to replace retiring Mike Enzi and Incumbent U. S. Rep. Liz Cheney, who easily won her primary election.

When the smoke cleared, it clearly was a good night for the most conservative of Wyoming’s Republicans.  Earlier this year they dominated the GOP state convention and pretty much controlled the state platform, too.

As for the moderates, it might be back to the drawing board for them. They took a pretty good licking Tuesday, Aug. 18.

Editor’s note: Anthony Bouchard’s votes were updated to include the numbers for Goshen County at 11:15 a.m. on Aug. 19.

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Long lines of voters in Gillette might make results late

in News/politics

By Bill Sniffin

After the polls closed, there was still a line of people waiting to vote in Gillette, we have been told.  Might be a slow night getting results.

And it is no wonder.  The Campbell County state senate seat was featuring one of the hottest local elections in the state with incumbent Sen. Michael Von Flatern being challenged by Troy McKeown.

Von Flatern was even endorsed by 24-year U. S. Senator Mike Enzi. This was designed to offset the bitter attacks launched against the incumbent by the Wyoming Gun Owners organization, who favored Troy McKeown.

The House race between Mickey Shober and John Bear appeared to be quite contested, too.

Politics is alive and well in Campbell County, based on tonight’s actions.

Casey Campbell, who is monitoring the results in Campbell County for us through County 17, said “I should’ve ordered a pizza!”

Casey said he drove by the polling center at 6:30 p.m. tonight and the parking lot was jammed full. 

A true example of Democracy is action is happening in Gillette today.

Pizza?  Why not.  Waiting for the results can make for a long night. This is my 50th year of staying up late monitoring election results in Wyoming.  It has been quite a journey.

Back in 1970, the Democrat Party was thriving.  Two of the three national representatives were members of the Democratic Party.  Boy, things have changed.

And yet here in 2020, after years of slumber, the statewide Democrat Party fielded an aggressive field of candidates.  Heck, there are SIX people vying for the nomination for U. S. Senate.  The names DeBrine, Casner, Ben David, Wendt, Wilde, and Ludwig show there really is life in the old party, after all.

On the Republican side it’s easy to call the Republican primary for the U. S. Senate, “Snow White and the nine dwarfs.” And yet some candidates spent some serious money. It will be interesting to see if any of the nine could deny Cynthia Lummis this nomination. Those candidates are Miller, Cade, Rice, Holtz, Wheeler, Kamler, Short, and Roselli. 

Meanwhile, in most states, the primary election is just a first act.  But in states dominated by one party, like Wyoming, just about all the serious action happens on primary election day.

With that thought in mind, most of us who love to watch politics are waiting with bated breath to see how these races turned out.

This truly is a battle for the soul of the Republican Party in Wyoming.

The Cowboy State is now a state with three parties:  The Democrats. The Very Conservative Republicans. And the Moderate Republicans.

The polls just closed and soon, the returns will be coming in.

We can hardly wait!

Von Flatern Gets Enzi Endorsement in Hotly-Contested Primary Race

in News/politics

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Incumbent State Sen. Michael Von Flatern, R-Gillette, brought out the big guns on Monday with an endorsement from U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi.

The senior senator from Wyoming endorsed Van Flatern in a video posted on the state senator’s Facebook page.

This is notable because higher-level elected officials in Wyoming (past and present) rarely get involved in primaries at the state level. Exceptions this year would be former U.S. Senator Alan Simpson endorsing Ember Oakley in her bid for House District 55 and Gov. Mark Gordon’s condemnation of State Sen. Anthony Bouchard’s mailers which he said smears opponent Erin Johnson.

Sitting down on a porch, Enzi thanked Von Flatern for championing roadwork construction across the state.

“Diane and I travel Wyoming roads every weekend. And we’re always thankful for the passing lanes that Michael Von Flatern got in place to make travel across Wyoming better and to encourage more tourists,” Enzi said.

Former House Speaker Tom Lubnau has also been vocal about Von Flatern’s legislative work for road construction across Wyoming.

“There used to be bumper stickers that said, ‘Live dangerously, drive Highway 59.’ Now we have a four-lane highway from Gillette to the Bishop Road largely because of Michael’s efforts in the Wyoming Senate,” Lubnau said in a Facebook video.

The former speaker went on to list a number of Wyoming road projects that he attributed to Von Flatern’s efforts.

Von Flatern is in a heated primary against neighbor Troy McKeown. McKeown has claimed that Von Flatern is not conservative enough.

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Liz Cheney: Kamala Harris Is A “Radical Liberal”

in Liz Cheney/News/politics

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney didn’t mince words this week after Joe Biden announced that U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris would be his vice presidential pick.

“Kamala Harris is a radical liberal who would raise taxes, take away guns & health insurance, and explode the size and power of the federal government,” Cheney wrote on Twitter. “She wants to recreate America in the image of what’s happening on the streets of Portland & Seattle. We won’t give her the chance.”

Cheney followed up that tweet with a retweet of a Fox News report, adding more comments about Harris. She said the California senator had a more liberal voting record than U.S. Sens. Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren.

The representative repeated her assertions that Harris wants to raise taxes, ban gun sales and eliminate private health insurance. She added Harris also wants to use taxpayer money for abortions and illegal immigrant health care.

“Would be devastating for America,” she wrote.

Cheney also retweeted a post about Harris by GOP national spokeswoman Elizabeth Harrington, which featured similar claims. It also included comments about Harris wanting to have a “conversation” about lowering the voting age from 18 and letting terrorists vote from prison.

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Wyoming Officials Request Early Presidential Debate In Wyoming

in News/politics

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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

Three of Wyoming’s top elected officials are recommending that Wyoming host an early presidential debate.

Gov. Mark Gordon, Secretary of State Ed Buchanan and Treasurer Curt Meier, in a joint letter to the Commission on Presidential Debates, suggested a debate be held in early September in Wyoming.

The letter said given the disruptions to this year’s election season, a debate should be held before the first one is now scheduled to be held on Sept. 29.

“We must give voters a fair chance in an already unprecedented election, and I ask that you consider adding an additional, earlier debate in Wyoming this September,” the letter said. “This monumental election will determine the very future of our nation. The least we can do is equip voters with the facts necessary to aid them in electing the next president of the United States.”

The letter did not specify why Wyoming would be a good site for a presidential debate, but it did note that Wyoming’s early voting period will begin 11 days before the Sept. 29 debate.

“Wyomingites who vote early deserve the same opportunity afforded to other states to hear the two competing visions for our country and make a well-informed decision when casting their vote at the ballot box — especially when one candidate has spent the duration of the campaign avoiding voters and questions from the press,” it said.

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Wyoming Officials Speak Out Against Trump’s Proposed Election Delay

in elections/News/politics

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

President Donald Trump’s recent suggestion that the United States delay the Nov. 3 general election received much pushback from various legislators, including several of Wyoming’s elected representatives.

On Thursday, Trump tweeted that universal mail-in voting would cause widespread inaccuracies and an uptick in voter fraud. To not cause a “great embarrassment” to the United States, Trump suggested delaying the election until people could “properly, securely and safely vote.”

U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney tweeted her thoughts on the president’s suggestion, saying lawmakers wouldn’t take any action to delay the election.

“The resistance to this idea among Republicans is overwhelming,” she wrote. “We must take all necessary steps to prevent election fraud – including stopping Democrat ballot harvesting – but we will not be delaying the election.”

U.S. Sen. John Barrasso sided with Cheney when he spoke to Fox Business Network in an interview.

“No, we are not going to delay the election,” Barrasso said. “We’re going to have the election completed and voting completed by Election Day.”

State Rep. Landon Brown, R-Cheyenne said on his Facebook page that he also didn’t support a delay.

“Stop with this nonsense and govern,” the Republican representative wrote.

Other national politicians who rejected Trump’s idea included Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. Chuck Grassley.

The president also wrote on Thursday that mail-in voting was “already proving to be a catastrophic disaster,” saying mail-in voting was an easy way for foreign countries to influence the election. He also was concerned about inaccurate vote counts.

Trump touched on New York’s mail-in voting system earlier this week, saying it was “in a disastrous state of condition” and alleging the election was rigged.

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Enzi Warns Congress Of Out Of Control Overspending

in Economy/News/politics

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi called on Congress to be mindful of the nation’s debt and deficit as legislators tackle a new bill to address the coronavirus pandemic.

As Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, the senator has had a close eye on the debt as the numbers have ticked upward in the last few months.

During his speech on the Senate floor Tuesday, Enzi noted this fiscal year, the country has already run up a deficit of $2.7 trillion, more than triple the size of the deficit the country ran at the same time last year.

“I recognize the unprecedented crisis presented by COVID-19 and I supported the necessary response,” Enzi said in his speech. “When this crisis abates, and it will, the federal government cannot afford to return to the status quo of unsustainable budgets and surging debt that jeopardizes the prosperity of future generations. We have to start a serious conversation about how we are going to pay our bills and put our finances on a more sustainable path. We can justify aggressive borrowing and spending as necessary during times of crisis, but that cannot be our default.”

The Congressional Budget Office projects the country is on track to spend $3.7 trillion more than we take in this year, without any new coronavirus legislation. By the end of the fiscal year, the country’s publicly held debt will exceed the size of the economy and by the end of 2021, debt as a percentage of the economy will be higher than it’s ever been in United States history.

“We are spending billions of dollars without so much as a discussion of how to pay for things while we keep digging the hole deeper for future generations,” Enzi said. “More legislation may be needed to combat the virus and help the economy, but we cannot use the crisis to justify opening the spending floodgates and borrowing from future generations to fund non-emergency priorities. We all owe it to them to do better, and I hope we start to do so soon.”

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Republican Wyoming Senate Candidates Tackle Pandemic, Taxes, Tribal Rights In Tuesday Debate

in elections/News/politics

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Republican candidates for one of Wyoming’s U.S. Senate seats discussed issues ranging from the destruction of Confederate monuments and immigration reform to stimulus packages during their first debate Tuesday night.

Nine of the 10 Republican candidates eyeing the U.S. Senate seat now held by U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi gathered in Sheridan for the debate, held just one month before Wyoming’s primary election.

Former U.S. Rep. Cynthia Lummis of Cheyenne, Michael Kemler of Lander, R. Mark Armstrong of Centennial, Star Roselli of Arizona, Josh Wheeler of Casper, Bryan Miller of Sheridan, Donna Rice of Casper, Robert Short of Douglas and John Holtz of Laramie participated in the debate at Sheridan College. The nine candidates were split into two groups for the event, with Lummis, Wheeler, Rice, Miller and Kemler facing off for the first round and Roselli, Holtz, Short and Armstrong making up the roster for the second.

During the first round, Lummis stated her opposition to the destruction of monuments seen around the country.

“We need to respect our history,” she said. “If we forget our history, we’re bound to repeat it.”

The candidates agreed with each other more often than not on issues such as their support for a more secure border and their disapproval of the federal government bailing out states with coronavirus relief funds, although they usually had differing ideas on how to approach those issues in Congress.

“We need to have more of a defensive perimeter and have a proper barrier to keep people from coming in illegally,” Wheeler said. “I’d rather see see an immigration system that favors those who come here legally and not put them on a back burner.”

Areas where the candidates were split included the federal coronavirus relief legislation, which Lummis supported and Miller opposed, and their support for Dr. Anthony Fauci, a White House advisor on health issues who has taken center stage during the coronavirus pandemic.

“[Fauci] is a scientist, but he’s been wrong a lot,” Miller said. “The country, as a whole, is in worse shape for listening to someone we knew was wrong two weeks into the pandemic.”

During the second round, Holtz, Roselli, Short and Armstrong sparred over issues including the Centers for Disease Control, social media regulations and federal debt.

“The federal government is addicted to spending,” Armstrong said during the debt discussion. “We need to get away from baseline budgeting. We can’t keep letting the federal government just keep printing money.”

The candidates’ viewpoints differed wildly on the subject of Social Security, with Armstrong calling it a “huge burden,” while Roselli and Short argued its value to the country’s elderly. Holtz declared that taxing Social Security benefits was wrong, and once Congress eliminated the taxes on it, the benefits would be more clear.

One of the moderators had to interject about midway through the second debate, reminding the candidates to stay on topic.

During the second round, Roselli also touted a conspiracy theory that Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg (whom she mistakenly referred to as “Jeff”) is the grandson of David Rockefeller and that the Central Intelligence Agency provided funding for the social media website in its early days.

The only Republican candidate not to take part in the debate was Philadelphia resident Devon Cade.

Wyoming’s primary election is Aug. 18. A total of 16 people are running for U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi’s soon-to-be open seat, 10 Republicans and six Democrats.

Democrats on the primary ballot include former gubernatorial candidate Rex Wilde of Cheyenne, James Kirk DeBine of Evansville, Kenneth Casner of Elk Mountain, Merav Ben David of Laramie, Nathan Wendt of Jackson and Yana Ludwig of Laramie.

The Democratic Senate debate will be held Thursday night.

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Barrasso Condemns Democrats For Endorsing Mob Violence

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U.S. Sen. John Barrasso is not happy with the Democratic Party’s response to mob violence, including the toppling of statues across America.

Appearing on FOX News earlier this week, Barrasso said the lack of condemnation of such actions by the Democratic Leadership was disturbing to him.

“Nancy Pelosi has now surrendered to the mob and it just shows you just how radical and out of touch the Democrat party has become under this coalition that the Democrats have put together with the Socialists, the Marxists, and the anarchists,” Barrasso said.

The senator mentioned the destruction of a statue of explorer Christopher Columbus in Baltimore — where Pelosi’s father served as mayor — and condemned her for the lack of a response.

“[Mayor Pelosi] likely contributed money and time to putting up the statue of Christopher Columbus. Now she is fine with tearing it down,” he said.

Barrasso said the mob removal of statues was emblematic of a larger issue that Democrats are endorsing called the ‘cancel-culture.’

 “it’s not just about the statue,” he said. “It’s this whole movement of the far, far dangerous left. People who want to cancel and defund the police.”

“They want to change America permanently — for the worse — with taking away free speech, canceling who we are and where we’ve come from,” he said.

Barrasso said people he’s spoken to in Wyoming are “absolutely offended” by not only the actions of the violent protestors but how Speaker Pelosi has “surrendered to them.”

“She will have to make her own decision for herself but the whole Democrat party is heading this way,”he said.  It is a very dangerous coalition for our country. The things they want to do.”

Barrasso said he knew the viewers of the FOX program would stand for the mob movement and he “wouldn’t stand for it either.”

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