Former Cheney Opponent Weighs In On Her Backlash

Jan 22, 2021

Darin Smith
Credit smithforwyoming.com

It's been an interesting month for U.S. Representative Liz Cheney. After handily winning reelection in November, she voted to impeach former President Donald Trump and has faced a strong backlash. Cheney has been censured by the Carbon County Republican Party, is likely to be censured by the Republican Central Committee next month, and already has primary opponents for 2022.

It's a list that includes State Senator Anthony Bouchard of Cheyenne. One person that faced off against her the first time she ran is former Laramie County Republican Chairman Darin Smith. Smith actually attended the rally in Washington D.C. protesting the acceptance of the voting results and was shocked to see the riots occur. But he told Wyoming Public Radio's Bob Beck that he was more shocked that Congresswoman Cheney's reaction to the riot was to vote to impeach President Trump.

Darin Smith: Here's my thought on that. Liz Cheney put her personal family feud with the president ahead of the Constitution and ahead of the Wyoming people. She voted to impeach the president without giving him his due process.

Bob Beck: So when you say Family Feud, would you discuss that?

DS: I think that it's clear that the Cheney family is upset with the president because he has criticized her father for his policies in the Middle East, which resulted in the loss of trillions of dollars to the US and thousands of servicemen's lives, American lives have been lost. And I know that that is a feud between Donald Trump and Liz Cheney.

BB: Smith points out that when he attended the rally before the riot, he never heard President Trump tell people to storm the capitol, which is the rationale that Cheney used for her impeachment vote. So in his view Cheney voted to impeach the President without evidence. He says she should be held accountable.

DS: I know that Liz Cheney said that she's not going anywhere. But first of all, she's not from Wyoming. She's never been from Wyoming since she moved away when she was in junior high. And I told her, Liz as long as your walk matches your talk, I'm going to support you, I'm going to be a fan, I'm going to have your back. And that has changed for me significantly since she has not been willing to support the president and not been willing to support many of us in Wyoming who just want an audited election. So, I think that it's much bigger than what she thinks and I don't think that in 18 months from now, I don't think that people are gonna forget, rollover and say, 'Oh, that was no big deal.' In many ways, she undermined the principles of the people that put her in office.

BB: Smith said the reaction against Cheney has been strong and he doubts people will forgive and forget and he fully expects the Wyoming Republican Central Committee to censure Cheney themselves. Smith also doubts that it will make any difference if Cheney fights hard against the new administration and democratic policies over the next two years. He fully expects someone to run against Cheney in the Republican primary.

BB: I know Senator Bouchard mentioned that he was interested in running for this seat. You did very well against her when you ran for congress against her (in 2016). How much are you thinking about this?

DS: That is a great question. And I'll tell you that dozens and dozens of people have contacted me. And my wife and I, we are discussing it. We're discussing it with our closest family and friends. And we're considering it strongly.

BB: Do you think the amount of money it would take to run against her and run a successful campaign will scare people off in two years?

DS: I don't. I think that already we have people that are jumping in that probably have no chance of beating Liz. But I don't think that's gonna scare folks off. But I do think that if I jump in it'll be a two person race. It'll be myself against Liz. And then the rest of the field will fade away.

Darin Smith is the former Chairman of Laramie County Republican Party and was one of the many opponents of Liz Cheney when she first sought office in 2016.