Former Gillette resident returns to challenge Cheney


GILLETTE — A Campbell County High School graduate and U.S. Army veteran is running for Wyoming’s lone U.S. House of Representatives seat in 2022.

Denton Knapp, a 1983 CCHS grad who served for 30 years in the U.S. Army, has announced that he will challenge Republican Rep. Liz Cheney.

Knapp, who now lives in California but is moving back to Gillette, said he’s wanted to go into public service since high school and that “now is a good time to do it.”

Knapp joins other Republicans in state Sen. Anthony Bouchard, state Rep. Chuck Gray, Bryan Keller, Marissa Selvig and Darin Smith in an ever-growing group of people running against Cheney in 2022.

Since Cheney voted to impeach then-president Donald Trump following the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, she’s been under fire for voting outside party lines, especially since she represents Wyoming, which voted overwhelmingly for Trump in both 2016 and 2020.

“What’s missing right now is trust in our elected officials,” Knapp said. “Wyomingites expected Cheney to vote a certain way and she didn’t. As a result, she’s going through consequences.”

Knapp said he’s seen Cheney, as well as her father, former Vice President Dick Cheney, serve Wyoming well for many years, so “it was a surprise to me when she voted the way she did.”

He also was disappointed with Cheney maintaining that there was no election fraud in the 2020 presidential election. Knapp said he believes there’s evidence supporting both sides, but he does not like that Cheney has taken a hard stance on the issue.

On the federal level, the government isn’t doing a good job of taking care of veterans, coal miners and their families, Knapp said.

The country has big challenges ahead of it under President Joe Biden’s administration, he said.

“We’re going through a new administration focused on radically changing our way of life, not only in Wyoming but the (whole country),” he said.

Knapp said he voted for Trump twice because he thought Trump was the best candidate, and that if the former president runs again, “I’ll be there to support him.”

“If you look at our economy, the support of national defense, status with overseas partners and adversaries, we got respect (during Trump’s presidency). He definitely was America first,” Knapp said.

After graduating from CCHS, Knapp attended the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, graduating in 1987. He spent the next 30 years in the Army, retiring in 2017 as a colonel. Knapp served three combat tours: two in Iraq and one in Afghanistan.

After retirement, Knapp and his wife, Heather, moved to California to spend time with his son. While there, he was promoted to Brigadier General in the California State Guard as Deputy Commanding General, 40th Infantry Division. He also worked as the director of the Tierney Center for Veteran Services, Goodwill Industries of Orange County, leading efforts to provide services for the county’s 130,000 veterans through nonprofit organizations and local, state and federal governments.

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