Candidates For Wyoming's Only U.S. House Seat Face Off In First Debate

May 3, 2016

Rex Rammell, Paul Paad and Liz Cheney
Credit AARON SCHRANK?WPR

Nine candidates for Wyoming’s only U.S. House seat faced off in a debate Monday night at the University of Wyoming.

Republican Liz Cheney told the crowd that she’s the one candidate who can build a national coalition around fossil fuels and other important Wyoming issues.

But State Representative from Casper Tim Stubson said he’s the candidate with a proven track record representing Wyoming.

“And if you think Washington is working well then I think it’s a logical decision to send somebody that’s made their whole career within the Washington bureaucracy, like Liz Cheney,” Stubson said.

Cheney, who has spent much of her life outside of Wyoming, called herself a fourth-generation Wyomingite. Torrington Veterinarian Rex Rammell challenged Cheney’s Cowboy State credibility in a testy exchange.

“You got to quit with the lies, Liz. You are pure establishment,” said Rammell. “You have been all your life, and it needs to stop. I hope that Wyoming is smart enough not to sell their vote and this seat to a person from Virginia.”

Cheney leads the pack in campaign fundraising, followed by Stubson and State Senator Leland Christiansen, from Alta.

Nine of the ten candidates running for the seat were present at the debate, arranged by the Associated Students of the University of Wyoming and Wyoming Public Radio. All of the candidates present were Republicans. There is also one Democrat in the race. They voiced a range of ideas for how Congress could respond to declining energy production.

Liz Cheney focused on rolling back federal regulations.

“You’ve got policies coming out of Washington that are aimed at killing fossil fuels across the board,” Cheney said. “And the list of things that Wyoming’s next representative has to lead the effort to put in place include things like repealing the Clean Power Plan, repealing the mercury and air toxic standards—having a fundamental revolution in terms of regulation.”

Most of the candidates voiced similar hopes to roll back the Environmental Protection Agency regulations and shift power to states. But Guernsey resident Darek Farmer, who was recently laid off from an oil field job, urged fellow candidates to consider other approaches.

“We have an option right now—and that is to embrace what’s coming towards us, or to fight it,” said Farmer. “We had the warmest winter in the history of the United States, but all we hear about is how Obama killed coal. There are a lot of other things affecting our industry.”

This was the first official debate between candidates vying to fill Representative Cynthia Lummis’s House seat. Lummis is not seeking reelection.

This year’s primary will be August 16, and the general election is November 8.

Listen to the entire debate here.