National group eyeing Buchanan as replacement for Cheney | Government and Politics

CHEYENNE – A Washington DC political action committee seeking to oust Wyoming Representative Liz Cheney from Congress appears to have wooed Wyoming Secretary of State Ed Buchanan ahead of the 2022 Republican primary elections.

The organization, Club for Growth, confirmed to the Casper Star-Tribune on Wednesday that it was seeking candidates to replace Cheney at the end of March, meeting with several potential people in Wyoming and the DC Wyoming State Rep. Chuck Gray (R-Casper), who launched his own campaign against Cheney, was one of them, he confirmed to the newspaper.

State Senator Anthony Bouchard (R-Cheyenne) also threw a main challenge against Cheney. It is not known if Club for Growth has contacted him.

The revelation follows the results of a PAC-commissioned poll showing Cheney’s net favorability at -36% in Wyoming. Pollster, WPA Intelligence, did not release the full results of the April 21 poll, or list the questions asked by those interviewed. However, the results were quickly put to use, denigrating Cheney, who was in the organization‘s sights for his vote to impeach former President Donald Trump.

“Liz Cheney is a RINO who can no longer be trusted to help lead the Republicans’ conservative economic agenda,” the organization said in an email Thursday to members promoting the poll. “That’s why the Club for Growth Action has already been to Wyoming, meeting with the future challengers so we can say goodbye to Cheney for good.”

A Wyoming resident interviewed said the questions seemed heavily biased towards Buchanan as well as candidates like Darin Smith, a lawyer for Cheyenne who finished in fourth place in the 2016 campaign.

“Whoever ordered the polls was pushing Ed Buchanan,” Wendy Owens, a Gillette resident contacted by pollsters on April 21, told WyoFile.

The Club for Growth did not respond to an email requesting comment, nor did Buchanan’s office. Cheney’s office declined to comment.

National groups have been involved in Wyoming politics before. In 2019, the Koch-backed US Prosperity Group ran a targeted digital advertising campaign urging Senator Mike Enzi, for example, to support efforts to limit President Donald Trump’s tariff authority.

However, the active search for primary candidates is an unprecedented step, said former Wyoming Republican Party Chairman Matt Micheli.

“I don’t think it ever happened,” he said. “I don’t think any national player ever cared or made an effort at all. Usually these guys stay out of the primaries, and then there’s no reason for them to get involved in the general because Republicans always win.

Micheli questioned the effectiveness of such interventions.

“In the past 40 years, I have never heard of a national group that would come and pour money in a way that really upset the needle,” he said.

But the Wyoming congressional race has taken on an unprecedented national profile, Micheli said. The Club for Growth involvement comes as Cheney faces a huge backlash from members of his own conference in Washington DC for his continued criticism of Trump.

Observers say the race is less about Cheney’s political ideology and more about his break with the former president. An effort is underway to oust Cheney from her role as Speaker of the House Republican Conference – a position that makes her the third-highest-ranked Republican in the House – along with New York Rep. Elise Stefanik, a former moderate who has come to embrace Trump. VoteView – an analytics platform run by the University of California, Los Angeles – found Stefanik to be 98% more liberal than other Republicans, while another non-partisan Lugar Center analysis recently ranked Cheney as the 421st plus (or the 17th at least). bipartisan) member of the last Congress. Only 12 other Republicans scored lower.

The voting results did not deter Trump – who endorsed Stefanik for the role – from making a breakthrough in Wyoming to replace Cheney. His former campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, began to take an active role in state politics by establishing fundraising channels here through his Save America PAC in an effort to solidify support behind a single candidate.

“We’re absolutely neutral at this point,” said Jeff Wallack, a Sheridan resident who works with Lewandowski as a third-party subsidiary of Save America, in an interview with WyoFile last month. “I don’t talk to anyone who has a vested interest or who has donated money to candidates. I am neutral until we properly review the candidate and then pass a recommendation and hopefully the [former] the president will make a decision [on who to support]. “

Meanwhile, the search for a position to replace Cheney continued. On Thursday, CNN launched several new names – including former acting Bureau of Land Management director William Perry Pendley and Smith – as potential candidates, while some in Bouchard’s camp accused the Republican Party leadership of Wyoming for persuading Smith to come forward.

Smith, who announced his campaign on Friday in a statement to the Cowboy State Daily, denied the rumors.

“A lot of people called me,” Smith said Thursday. “I can’t keep them all right. But a lot of people called me to find out what was going to happen. But no one asked me to go into it. No people in the Trump world, no Republican dignitaries, have asked me to participate in this race.

Ultimately, what Wyoming sends to the US House of Representatives will depend on Wyoming voters, Micheli said, not special interest groups.

“Money alone won’t do much,” he says. “In Wyoming, we hope to meet our candidates and look them in the eye. This is how we make our decisions. It’s a long way from Lusk to Lyman, but every voter in those two towns and every town in between expects to shake your hand.

WyoFile is an independent, non-profit news organization focused on the people, places, and politics of Wyoming.

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