CASPER — Former president Donald Trump signaled Tuesday that he is making significant moves in his effort to unseat Rep. Liz Cheney.
Trump issued a statement stating that he is going to meet next week with “some” of the candidates challenging Cheney, and that he’ll endorse a candidate “in the next few months.”
“Paying close attention to the Wyoming House Primary against loser RINO Liz Cheney,” the statement started. “This is a “hot” race with some very interesting candidates running against her,” it later continued.
This is one of the first times Trump has truly acknowledged the candidate field challenging Cheney. His previous statements were mostly confined to criticizing her and her candidacy.
Despite the fact that the Republican primary is not until August of 2022, Cheney already has a number of challengers, at least four of whom have launched legitimate fundraising and campaign efforts.
So far, sources close to both state Rep. Chuck Gray, R-Casper, and Cheyenne businessman Darin Smith confirmed to the Star-Tribune that they will be meeting with the former President soon.
Two other candidates, State Sen. Anthony Bouchard, R-Cheyenne, and a retired U.S. Army colonel, Denton Knapp, said they have not yet been invited.
Wyoming’s Republican primaries with this many candidates have a history of handing the victory to one candidate, while the rest of the field splits the vote, getting only small portions of the electorate. Trump acknowledged this trend in his statement.
“Remember though, in the end we just want ONE CANDIDATE running against Cheney,” Trump said in his statement. “I’ll be meeting with some of her opponents in Bedminster next week and will be making my decision on who to endorse in the next few months. JUST ONE CANDIDATE.”
This is not the first time Trump has referenced the issues that come along with a wide campaign field.
“She is so low that her only chance would be if vast numbers of people run against her which, hopefully, won’t happen,” he said back in early May.
Cheney and Trump’s bad blood was spurred by Cheney’s vote to impeach Trump following the Jan. 6 insurrection on the U.S. Capitol. Cheney was one of only 10 House Republicans to vote to impeach Trump, as well as the highest-ranking Republican to do so.
Cheney’s decision to impeach Trump and her continued criticism of the former president has brought on a number of outspoken critics in the Republican party and ultimately forced her out of her leadership role in the House.
“The people of Wyoming are gonna have a very clear choice between somebody who is loyal to the Constitution, and somebody whose claim is loyalty to Donald Trump and I’m confident that people will make the right decision,” Cheney told a reporter Tuesday in Washington D.C.