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Darin Smith

Former Cong. Candidate Accuses Cheyenne School District Of Censorship, Unfairly Masking Students

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Cheyenne attorney Darin Smith is asking conservatives in the Cheyenne school district to attend a meeting of the district’s board of trustees on Monday to complain about “inappropriate material” in libraries and the requirement that students wear facemasks in class.

Smith sent an email from his law firm on Friday outlining his position on the two issues that have surfaced within Laramie County School District No. 1, which encompasses Cheyenne.

Smith’s wife, Alicia Smith, sits on the LCSD1 board of trustees.

In his email, Smith, a former congressional candidate, claimed that parents were being censored at LCSD1 school board meetings for bringing up the fact that “pornographic sexual indoctrination material” is available in middle and high school libraries.

Smith pointed to a woman’s testimony given at the last LCSD1 board meeting in November. In the video from the meeting, one woman addresses the board about the book “Monday’s Not Coming” by Tiffany D. Jackson, which is a library book in the district. The book is not part of any school’s curriculum

“I would like to know why a lot of these books are only to be rented or checked out by the kids through their iPads, because parents like myself have no idea that this stuff was in here,” the woman said.

The book is about a teenage Black girl who disappears. A friend searches for her and deals with issues including neglect, racism and murder.

In the meeting, the woman read passages from the book, however, her narration was removed from the video of the meeting that was posted to YouTube, a move Smith called censorship.

“LCSD1 just erased the public record of her verbatim reading from books on school library shelves,” Smith said. “To make matters worse, [Superintendent] Dr. [Margaret] Crespo apologize[d], but not for the school library books those obscene and erotic passages came from! The superintendent of LCSD1 did not apologize for the porn being made available to our kids. Instead, she apologized that the language in the verbatim quotes from books in library circulation were ‘not appropriate’ for the board meeting audience. Are you kidding?”

Smith argued that instead of allowing factual criticism at a board meeting and providing transparency so the public can see problems are being fixed, Crespo and LCSD1 are failing to protect children from foul content.

He also noted that his wife has asked her fellow board members to reconsider the current LCSD1 mask mandate, as board members were “ill-informed” when they implemented it in September, but the board has not yet done so.

“Keep in mind, over 85% of our school districts in Wyoming, 41 of 48, are not masking their kids. In addition, nearly half the kids being masked in the state are being masked by LCSD1,” Smith said. “The left-wing counties of Albany and Teton have most of the other children being masked. The child-masking advocates have dominated the debate based on shaky information. We need to speak up well, and now, or left-leaning members of the board keep our kids masked until who-knows-when.”

Albany, Teton and Laramie counties’ school districts still have mask mandates in place because Delta variant coronavirus cases spiked earlier in the fall semester. Laramie County students will have the option to not wear a mask once the county goes back into the “yellow” health levels.

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Cheyenne Attorney Says It Is ‘Repulsive’ For YouTube To Censor Users Over Vaccinations

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

A Cheyenne attorney and former congressional candidate has declared YouTube’s ban of anti-vaccination content from its platform to be illegal censorship and in violation of the U.S. Constitution.

Attorney Darin Smith told Cowboy State Daily on Monday that YouTube’s recent move to ban and remove all anti-vaccination content from the platform was “absolutely illegal.”

“They’re canceling people’s constitutional rights and it absolutely flies in the face of the Constitution,” he said. “We’ve given them way too much power. These companies have more power than probably any country on the planet right now.”

Last week, YouTube (which is owned by Google) announced it would remove all anti-vaccination content from the platform, explaining its current community guidelines have been extended to cover “currently administered” vaccines that have been proven safe by the World Health Organization and other health officials, according to NPR.

The mandate went into effect immediately, with some prominent names (including Robert F. Kennedy Jr.) already seeing their accounts banned due to what YouTube said was misinformation.

Smith said at this point, Google, YouTube and Facebook were no longer private companies but are more like public utilities. Additionally, they have monopolized the markets for search engines, user-created video content and social media, he said.

“I would say that Google and Facebook have been the worst offenders in trampling on people’s rights if they don’t agree with what somebody says,” Smith said. “Clearly, that needs to be stopped. We made them and then they got so big and powerful that it’s empowered by the state and they can have zero liability or accountability to the public.”

He added that while the anti-vaccination content removal is currently the big news, Google and YouTube (along with other social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook) have quietly been censoring people and accounts with which they do not agree for a long time.

Smith pointed to users and videos that questioned the outcome of November’s presidential election as an example of a subject being “shadowbanned,” when someone’s content is hidden or restricted without the person who posted it being notified.

YouTube had earlyer banned content that contained false claims about the COVID vaccines, but the new policy will extend to a number of other vaccines.

Smith’s comments were in contrast with fellow Cheyenne attorney Bruce Moats’ comments last week that said what YouTube was doing was perfectly legal.

“The adoption of the 14th Amendment after the Civil War guaranteed individuals free speech, and the other protections in the First Amendment, against infringements by state and local governments,” Moats told Cowboy State Daily on Thursday. “Nothing in either (the First or 14th amendments) makes it apply to private individuals or businesses.”

Smith encouraged anyone who was concerned about the YouTube ban to contact their politicians from the federal to local level.

“Regardless of what side of the issue you’re on, people should know they should be about freedom and resistance to tyranny is obedience to God,” he said. “We have God-given rights in America, the only country in the world where our right are derived from God. Everybody should be fighting for medical freedom here and this should be repulsive to everybody.”

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Smith Suspends Congressional Campaign; Knapp And Bouchard Stay In; Gray Silent

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Cheyenne attorney Darin Smith suspended his congressional campaign on Thursday following former President Donald Trump’s endorsement of new candidate Harriet Hageman.

“I said hell would freeze over before I’d be the reason Liz Cheney gets re-elected to represent the great state of Wyoming in the U.S. House,” Smith told Cowboy State Daily. “President Trump has gotten behind Harriet Hageman to defeat Liz Cheney.  Unity is our strength, and it is imperative that we unite to take this great Country back.  To honor my word, I am throwing my support behind Harriet as well. Liz Cheney must go.”

“As the clear front runner prior to President Trump’s endorsement, my stepping back should help clear the field for a one-on-one matchup,” Smith continued. “If the dynamics of the race change, i.e. Cheney drops out or a Runoff Bill is passed, I will reassess my next steps.”

Smith took a parting shot at Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon in his announcement stating that the governor, along with other unnamed Republican officials, has “failed to demonstrate America First and Wyoming First values.”

“Whether or not my name is on the ballot, I will do everything I can to clear out the weak and fake Republicans who continue to run our Country into the ground. Wyoming deserves better,” he said.

Carbon County Republican Chair Joey Correnti sent emails to congressional candidates on Thursday morning asking them of their intentions now that Trump has endorsed 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?” Correnti wrote.

Both Denton Knapp and state Sen. Anthony Bouchard told Cowboy State Daily they would stay in the race. Knapp noted that when he was asked in June about dropping out to endorse Trump’s choice, Hageman wasn’t even in the race and that the selection process for candidates to meet with Trump wasn’t clear.

“We just had a person, who wasn’t a candidate, get endorsed and now we’re supposed to drop [the campaign],” Knapp told Cowboy State Daily on Thursday. “Is that what Wyoming voters want? We’ve still got 11 months before the primary.”

“Former President Trump can choose who he wants to endorse, and he chose, but is Wyoming okay with that?” Knapp said. “A lot can happen over the next 11 months. But, I’m not going back on my word. We’ve got until May or June until we make hard decisions. I’m apparently not a threat anyway, so we’ll see what happens.”

Bouchard’s campaign manager told Cowboy State Daily that he never agreed to drop out if Trump didn’t select him.

Meanwhile, 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.”

Rep. Chuck Gray, R-Casper, has not responded to Cowboy State Daily’s requests for comment.

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

Hageman on Thursday announced she is running for U.S. Congress and Trump’s endorsement quickly followed.

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.

On Tuesday, she resigned as the state’s national Republican commiteewoman.

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Cheney Opponent Smith Says Visit With Trump Went Well

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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

One of the Wyoming Republican U.S. House to visit with former President Donald Trump this week said his meeting went well.

Cheyenne businessman Darin Smith, one of at least two primary challengers to U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney to meet with Trump, said he met with the former president in New Jersey on Tuesday.

“I think it went great,” he told Cowboy State Daily. “We discussed the election, the endorsement, and I gave him the pitch as to why I think we are the campaign to defeat Liz Cheney and take America back.”

Smith is the first candidate from the crowded Republican primary race to confirm he met with Trump, who has announced he will make an endorsement in the race in the next several months.

Trump has been critical of Cheney since she voted to impeach him in connection with the January assault on the Capitol. 

A spokeswoman for one of the other candidates, state Sen. Anthony Bouchard, R-Cheyenne, said last week that Smith and state Rep. Chuck Gray, R-Casper, were invited to meet with Trump in New Jersey. Gray’s campaign could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Prior to his meeting with Trump, Smith commissioned a survey by the Remington Research Group to gauge his support among likely Republican voters in 2022.

The telephone survey showed that of 766 voters polled, 70% would vote for Smith in a head-to-head race against Cheney, while 20% would vote for the incumbent.

“I told my guys I wanted to walk into Trump’s office with a legitimate poll,” Smith said. “That had to be fairly impressive for him to see (the results).”

The survey, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.3%, also showed that when Gray and Bouchard are taken into consideration, Smith would win votes from 24% of those questioned, while Cheney would 19%, Bouchard wins 18% and Gray wins 14%, the release said.

Smith said the survey showed that if he wins Trump’s endorsement, “we blow out the field.”

On the same day Smith announced the results of his poll, Gray released the results of his own survey, which also showed him as the front-runner for the race.

According to the survey of 300 likely GOP voters conducted by McLaughlin and Associates, 63% of those questioned in telephone and text-to-web interviews would support Gray in a head-to-head match against Cheney, while 24% would vote for Cheney.

Gray’s survey, which had a margin of error of plus or minus 5.6%, showed that in a three-way race between Gray, Cheney and Smith, 25% of those questioned would vote for Gray, while 23% would vote for Cheney and 14% would vote for Smith.

Both surveys indicated that a majority of those questioned — more than 70% — have unfavorable opinions toward Cheney.

In their separate news releases, the two candidates said they were pleased with the results of their surveys.

“I am very encouraged by these polling results,” Smith said. “Liz Cheney is the only representation in Congress Wyoming has, and she has turned her back on us. It’s time to dump Liz and elect someone with genuine pro-Trump, America First, Wyoming values and I know I am that person.”

“It is very clear that Wyoming voters are looking for solid, conservative Trump supporter Chuck Gray to defeat Liz Cheney for Congress,” Gray’s news release said. “These voters want an active, aggressive and unified campaign for Trump supporter Chuck Gray to hold Liz Cheney accountable for her bad vote on impeachment and her current attacks on President Trump on the January 6th committee.”

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

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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.

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Cheney Challengers Criticize Congresswoman’s Jan 6 Committee Assignment

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By Jimmy Orr, Cowboy State Daily

It was a political heyday for at least three candidates who are running against Rep. Liz Cheney for Wyoming’s sole congressional seat.

The appointment by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Cheney to the Select House Committee to investigate the Jan. 6 attacks on the U.S. Capitol was an opportunity for challengers of the seat to turn the incumbent into a piñata. And they took many swings.

The three candidates had different strategies. Two opponents demanded that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy remove Cheney from her other committee assignments.

“I now call on House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) to immediately strip Liz Cheney of her committee assignments and replace her with a trustworthy conservative who will represent the Wyoming values that Liz Cheney has abandoned,” Cheyenne lawyer Darin Smith said.

Wyoming State Rep. Chuck Gray upped the ante by calling for her removal from the House Republican Caucus as well. 

“She should immediately be removed from her committee assignments by the Republican Caucus and also be removed from the Republican Caucus itself,” Gray said.

Gray also said Cheney was a “sell-out to the radical socialists” and called her vote in favor of creating the select committee “disgusting, despicable, and un-American.”

Smith’s language, on the other hand, wasn’t as colorful, as he simply said the congresswoman “was not up to the task” of fighting and taking America back.

State Sen. Anthony Bouchard, R-Cheyenne, didn’t demand Cheney be removed from anything but did summarize Cheney’s appointment to his Twitter and Facebook followers in his descriptive way: “Did you miss the news today? Liz Cheney KISSED Pelosi’s ring and licked her shoes. #YUK.”

Bouchard also called himself a “Conservative Pitbull” who “will put America first.”

“Send me to the swamp, and I’ll take a chunk out of their leg,” he said.

Both Gray and Smith brought up the 2020 presidential election. Gray was more bold calling the election “illegitimate” and “fraudulent.” While Smith didn’t take a position on the validity of the election , he said there were “legitimate concerns with an election that appeared deeply flawed to millions of people.”

Smith also said the events surrounding the melee on January 6 had been mischaracterized.

“Contrary to popular belief, most people who attended the January 6th protest were peaceful and law-abiding citizens who were expressing their Constitutional right to speak, assemble, and protest,” he said.

“I know this because I was there. I’m proud to have stood shoulder-to-shoulder with thousands of my fellow citizens to express support for President Donald J. Trump and raise legitimate concerns with an election that appeared deeply flawed to millions of Americans,” Smith said. “Unfortunately, a small-mix of co-opters and/or poorly trained protesters crossed lines that should never have been crossed.”

Meanwhile, Cheney expressed appreciation for being named to the committee.

“I’m honored to have been named to serve on the January 6th select committee,” she said in a statement. “Congress is obligated to conduct a full investigation of the most serious attack on our Capitol since 1814.”

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Cheyenne Attorney Darin Smith Announces Run For Congress

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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

Cheyenne businessman and attorney Darin Smith told Cowboy State Daily on Friday he will run against U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney in the 2022 U.S. House race.

Smith, a Republican, said he sees Cheney as much more vulnerable to a primary challenge than she was in 2016, when he last faced her in an election. He finished fourth in the nine-way GOP primary.

“Obviously, her national stature is going down the tubes,” he said. “She does not share the same world view of the Republican Party.”

Smith said Cheney aligns herself too often with Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President Joe Biden.

Smith said he has also learned much about campaigning in the last five years.

“Back then (in 2016), my wife Alicia and I were so new at this,” he said. “We didn’t even know how to raise money and run a campaign.”

Smith is a Wyoming native who grew up in Rock Springs and attended the University of Wyoming and UW Law School, representing the university on its wrestling team.

In addition to maintaining his law practice, Smith has also worked as an executive and consultant with nonprofit organizations including the Family Research Council and the Christian Broadcasting Network.

To dedicate his time to his run for office, Smith has resigned from the Family Research Council, which describes itself as a “research and educational organization dedicated to articulating and advancing a family-centered philosophy of public life.”

Smith and his wife Alicia also run a real estate business in Cheyenne, but Smith said he will now work full-time on his congressional race.

Since the race in 2016, Smith has been active in politics, serving as state chairman for Foster Freiss’ gubernatorial campaign in 2018.

Freiss is now Smith’s campaign chair.

Smith also served as the chair of the Laramie County Republican Party in 2017 and 2018.

Cheney has faced some opposition in Washington, D.C., and in Wyoming since voting for the impeachment of former President Donald Trump. The two have traded barbed words ever since.

Cheney is now the Minority Conference Chair in the House, the third-ranking Republican position. However, Minority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisana has spoken in favor of replacing Cheney in the position. Trump has endorsed U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York to replace Cheney.

In Wyoming, Smith will be the fifth candidate to challenge Cheney, two of which are legislators: state Sen. Anthony Bouchard of Cheyenne and Rep. Charles Gray of Casper.

The others are Marissa Joy Selvig of Riverton and Bryan Eugene Keller of Cheyenne.

Despite the fact Cheney has already raised more than $1.5 million for her campaign, Smith said he is confident he can defeat her in the primary.

He noted that Cheney outspent his campaign by 30-1 in 2016.

“If she outspends us by 3-1, I think we can beat her,” he said.

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Former Laramie County GOP Chair Says Trump Could Still Win Election

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Although President Bush, a Republican, has acknowledged that Joe Biden won the presidency and Wyoming’s Republican congressional delegation and Republican governor haven’t said anything at all about the election that would suggest Biden did not win, one former Republican Party chair in Wyoming hasn’t given up hope on President Trump.

Darin Smith, an attorney and former chair of the Laramie County Republican Party, said because of “massive systemic cheating” that went on during the election, the president could still win a second term.

Stating that he is “connected politically” Smith cautioned his Facebook followers not to be “brainwashed by the media” to believe that Biden actually won the election.

“It’s not over until the Supreme Court says it’s over,” Smith said in a video he posted on Sunday.  “Don’t be fooled. This election is far from over.”

Smith said Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, and Pennsylvania are all still in play and could all go to President Trump.

Arizona:  Smith said it was still a possibility as the votes are “breaking his way” and the results should be known by Tuesday.

Georgia: He said there appeared to be “massive fraud” in Atlanta and the surrounding areas. When the state goes to a recount, he said, the vote will favor Trump because the military votes aren’t in yet.

Nevada:  The people who run the elections should potentially go to jail, Smith said, because of “massive contributory negligence”. He said thousands of people voted illegally and there are still 58,000 ballots to be counted.

Pennsylvania: The United States Supreme Court, he said, will likely have no choice but to invalidate any vote that came in after election day because it’s not allowed constitutionally.  As a result, Trump should win there too, he said.

Michigan:  He didn’t say that Michigan could end up going for Trump but he did say that he didn’t believe the explanation that 138,000 votes counted late in the process — all went to Biden.  

Although the conservative columnist who originally brought this up said he was satisfied with the explanation that there was a typo by the election analysis firm Decision Desk HQ, Smith said he didn’t buy it.

“We’re not stupid,” Smith said.  “We know that’s not what happened. You can’t have 138,000 votes in a row for Joe Biden. We know something happened there.”

The firm explained:  “It was a simple error from a file created by the state that we ingested. DDHQ does not correct / amend / adjust any state provided file. The state noticed the error and produced an updated count. This happens on election nights and we expect other vote tabulators in MI experienced this error and corrected in real-time as we did.”

Smith said this issue was going to court.

He also said that some voting machines in Michigan were made by a company that “are connected” to both Sen. Diane Feinstein and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

“I believe and I know that the majority of the people in this country believe that Donald Trump is the rightful winner of this election,” he said.  “It’s not over until we hear from the Supreme Court.”

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