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In Wyoming, one top Cheney challenger not invited for Trump meeting

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Wyoming state Sen. Anthony Bouchard was the first candidate to announce a primary challenge to Republican Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, but he so far does not appear to be on former President Donald Trump’s preferred list of candidates to take on one of his top Republican critics.

Trump put out a statement on Tuesday that while there are some “very interesting candidates” in the “‘hot’ race” against Cheney, he urged “JUST ONE CANDIDATE” to challenge the incumbent anti-Trump at-large representative next year — and revealed that he would 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.”

Bouchard told the Washington Examiner Tuesday afternoon that he had not yet been invited to Trump’s New Jersey golf course to meet with the former president.

But that did not deter the experienced fundraiser, calling for his opponents to “reconsider their candidacies” due to raising less money from grassroots supporters than he has. Since launching his campaign in January, Bouchard has raised more than $500,000 from supporters and had about $108,600 in cash-on-hand at the end of June.


Bouchard said in a statement:

“I wholeheartedly agree with President Trump's statement that we are stronger against Liz Cheney with one candidate.

"I'm the only candidate with any measurable grassroots support in Wyoming. More than 1,000 Wyoming Republicans have donated to my campaign. That's more than ten times the totals from all other Cheney Challengers combined — and likely more Wyoming citizens than Liz Cheney has ever even met in her visits from her home state of Virginia.

"President Trump's initial meeting with a handful of my opponents will be to get them to reconsider their candidacies because they simply don't have the grassroots support needed to take on the Cheney machine.

"The weeding out process needs to begin now -- starting with the weakest candidates -- to give Wyoming conservatives our best shot of defeating Liz Cheney in 2022.

"Grassroots support -- not playing games with party insiders and political hacks -- is how Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in 2016. And it's how I intend to defeat Rep. Cheney in 2022.”


Two other top-funded Cheney alternatives, state Rep. Chuck Gray and attorney Darin Smith, have not revealed whether they will meet with Trump next week.

Fundraising reports showed that Gray has loaned his own campaign about $298,000 since launching in March and has raised $93,000 in individual contributions, with $323,013 in cash-on-hand at the end of June.

Smith brought in $177,058 since launching his campaign in May and had $142,461 in cash-on-hand.

Bouchard made headlines after revealing the story of his ex-wife, whom he impregnated at 14 when he was 18 and then married before they divorced. She died by suicide a few years later. Some operatives in the state are not shy about their dislike for the hard-headed state representative.

The at least seven candidates who say they want to challenge Cheney next year run the risk of splitting the anti-Cheney vote so much that she wins renomination with only a plurality of the vote, setting up an inter-party primary-within-a-primary to determine the top candidate to challenge her.

In June interviews, Gray told the Washington Examiner that he expects a top challenger to emerge “by the end of the year,” and Smith said that he would step aside if he was not the leading candidate to take on Cheney. Bouchard has made no such commitment and scoffed at candidates who made a Trump endorsement their key strategy.

Another Cheney primary challenger, retired U.S. Army Col. Denton Knapp, also told the Washington Examiner that he has not been invited to meet Trump next week. Knapp raised less than $10,000 in the last reporting period. Several other Republican candidates have launched campaigns to challenge Cheney in next August’s primary but have not raised any significant amount of money.


Cheney, for her part, raised $1.88 million in the last fundraising period, multiples more than of all her primary challengers combined.

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Tags: News, Liz Cheney, Donald Trump, Wyoming, Midterm Elections

Original Author: Emily Brooks

Original Location: In Wyoming, one top Cheney challenger not invited for Trump meeting

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