U.S.A. -(AmmoLand.com)- Soon-to-be former Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney evidently forgot the wisdom of late House Speaker Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill, who once famously observed, “All politics is local.”
She was trounced in the primary by a better than 2-to-1 margin, losing to Harriet Hageman 66.3-28.9 percent. Much of it is blamed on Cheney’s vote to impeach former President Donald Trump and then sit as vice chair on the controversial Jan. 6 committee, which conservative commentators liken to a kangaroo court whose ultimate goal is to prevent Trump from running for another term in 2024.
As noted by Fox News, Cheney couldn’t concede without stating, “I will do whatever it takes to keep Donald Trump out of the Oval Office.”
Hageman had Trump’s endorsement, and Cheney is now one more Republican who lost their job during primaries after voting for impeachment. The Baltimore Sun reported that 10 House Republicans “backed Trump’s impeachment in the days after his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol as Congress tried to certify President Joe Biden’s victory.”
The story also said Cheney sought assistance from Democrats to retain her seat, and “Democrats across America, major donors among them, took notice. She raised at least $15 million for her election, a stunning figure for a Wyoming political contest.” A check on Cheney’s campaign contributions confirms she got a lot of money from out-of-state donors.
But is there another reason Cheney’s Capitol Hill career bit the dust? Earlier this year, she was one of 13 House Republicans to cross the aisle and vote with Democrats to pass Joe Biden’s far-reaching gun control bill, dubbed the “Bipartisan Safer Communities Act.” Whatever else Wyoming may be, it is definitely “gun country,” and it doesn’t help a politician running for office there to help pass a gun control measure.
And for Cheney, who had consistently voted for gun rights and was supported by the National Rifle Association’s Political Victory Fund in 2020, helping pass a Biden gun control measure may have been the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back.
Immediately after she voted for the measure, Hageman issued a scathing statement:
“Whatever Liz Cheney is doing with our only House seat, she certainly isn’t using it to represent the views and values of the people of Wyoming. The lawful possession of firearms for hunting and self-defense is an integral part of our DNA in this state, and we don’t want our constitutional rights negotiated away. We all agree that mental health is an important issue that needs to be addressed, but we should not limit the rights of law-abiding citizens. Red flag laws, for example, can be easily abused to deny legal gun ownership to responsible citizens, including even members of the military. I would most certainly have voted against this bill.”
For Cheney, who was a co-sponsor of H.R. 38, the proposed Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act in 2021, voting on Biden’s bill may have amounted to heresy.
She was quoted by the Casper Star Tribune in June, insisting, “As a mother and a constitutional conservative, I’m proud to support this sensible bill that will protect our children and limit violence without infringing on law-abiding citizens’ Second Amendment rights. Nothing in the bill restricts the rights of responsible gun owners. Period. I will always protect the Second Amendment. This legislation recognizes the importance of that right while making our schools safer, providing more tools for law enforcement, and expanding funding for mental health resources which is why I voted for it.”
For gun rights activists, there’s nothing sensible in the measure, which also got some GOP support in the Senate, allowing anti-gunners to declare it a “bipartisan bill.” Its passage was a symbolic victory for the gun prohibition lobby, which had just suffered a humiliating defeat at the Supreme Court in the 6-3 ruling in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, striking down the “good cause” requirement in order to obtain a concealed carry permit in New York State. This ruling also made it clear—contrary to what anti-gunners would have the nation believe—that the Second Amendment extends beyond the front door of a private residence.
Some of Cheney’s critics suggested her politics over the past several months have reflected more of a connection with Northern Virginia than Wyoming. She did agree with the Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade, but her animus toward Trump evidently made her very unpopular with an overwhelming majority of voters in the Cowboy State.
As noted by the Associated Press, a voter in Cheyenne identified as Chester Barkell represented local sentiment, noting, “We like Trump. She tried to impeach Trump. I don’t trust Liz Cheney.”
And in the state’s northwest corner, Jackson voter Dan Winder told a reporter, “Over 70% of the state of Wyoming voted Republican in the last presidential election, and she turned right around and voted against us. She was our representative, not her own.”
Gun voters, it was once suggested, have long memories when it comes to gun control legislation and who supports it. In another state, Cheney might have gotten away with voting for Biden’s gun control package, but not in the shadow of the Rockies, not around places with names such as Laramie, Cody, Buffalo, Wapiti, Medicine Bow, Fort Bridger, or Greybull.
Cheney hinted she may take a run at the presidency, but as the Associated Press story observed, “don’t expect her to win Wyoming’s three electoral votes.”
About Dave Workman
Dave Workman is a senior editor at TheGunMag.com and Liberty Park Press, author of multiple books on the Right to Keep & Bear Arms, and formerly an NRA-certified firearms instructor.