CNN went to the Wyoming capital’s annual cowboy and rodeo festival last week to learn how voters felt about their sole U.S. representative locked in an all-out feud with former President Donald Trump weeks before the state primary.
“Can I cuss?” said one resident bluntly when asked if she would send Rep. Liz Cheney back to Washington for a fourth term. After a nod, it was a “hell no.”
“Absolutely not,” said another by a corn dog stand.
“What are your thoughts about Liz Cheney running for a fourth term?” CNN’s Randi Kaye asked one woman.
“Personally, I think she’s had three too many,” she said.
On Aug. 16, voters will decide whether Cheney will keep her seat in Washington or if another candidate will take her place on the November ballot. Trump-backed attorney Harriet Hageman is the favorite to win the primary contest in a state that voted for the Republican president by a wider margin than anywhere else in the country. Last month, a poll sponsored by the Casper-Star Tribune showed Hageman leading by 22 points.
[RELATED COVERAGE: A ‘Farce’: Here’s What Wyoming Voters Really Think Of Liz Cheney And Her Sham J6 Committee]
Kaye asked voters specifically what they thought about the House Jan. 6 Committee, which Cheney leads as vice chair and has weaponized to escalate a long-standing feud with President Trump. Cheney has even used the probe to go after political opponents working to unseat her in Wyoming.
“It’s all a hoax, it’s all propaganda,” said the man by the corn dog stand. “It’s a witch hunt.”
During an interview with another voter named Brett Kupec outside the rodeo stadium, Kaye conveyed Cheney’s explanations for serving on the committee.
“[Cheney] says she’s defending what’s important to people here in Wyoming,” Kaye said. “Upholding the rule of law, defending the Constitution.”
Kupec responded by highlighting the committee’s absence of meaningful opposition after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi barred minority appointments.
“If that was the ‘rule of law,’ why doesn’t [Trump] have a defense team in that courtroom?” Kupec said. “That ain’t the rule of law. That’s a kangaroo court. That’s not the Wyoming way.”
Labeling the committee as a “kangaroo court” is a phrase Hageman told The Federalist at the fair last week that she hears often from voters around the state. So far, Hageman has traveled 36,000 miles on her campaign to replace Cheney.
“That really is the moniker that people in Wyoming have used over and over again,” Hageman said. “It’s just a kangaroo court, and they’re terribly embarrassed that our representative is a part of it.”
Indeed, one voter told CNN Cheney “has been an embarrassment.”
The network ended the segment with interviews of two Cheney supporters, the only two that Kay conceded the television crew could find at the entire event in Wyoming’s largest city.
Shawn McKee told CNN he stood by Cheney because “she wants to maintain the integrity of the state.”
“She wants to make it to where it’s not so much federally controlled,” McKee said.
Cheney, however, now the vice chair of Pelosi’s Jan. 6 panel, no longer serves on the House Natural Resources Committee navigating the state’s myriad of public land issues despite nearly half the state being under federal jurisdiction.
“This is one of the first times in Wyoming’s history that Wyoming’s congressional representative is not on the Natural Resources Committee,” Hageman told The Federalist at the “Frontier Days” festival, adding she expects an appointment if elected.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s office confirmed to The Federalist the Republican leader will back Hageman’s request for an assignment to the committee but added final placement would ultimately be up to the Steering Committee after the midterms.
Trump took a victory lap over CNN’s Friday segment with a press release on Monday.
“ICYMI: CNN Goes to Wyoming,” the former president wrote, sharing a tweet from Federalist Editor-in-Chief Mollie Hemingway.
Tristan Justice is the western correspondent for The Federalist. He has also written for The Washington Examiner and The Daily Signal. His work has also been featured in Real Clear Politics and Fox News. Tristan graduated from George Washington University where he majored in political science and minored in journalism. Follow him on Twitter at @JusticeTristan or contact him at [email protected]