As it stands now, the Campbell County Republican Party has no plans to censure Rep. Liz Cheney for her vote to impeach former president Donald Trump in January.
The Campbell County Republican Party Central Committee met last week, and the topic of censuring Cheney was not discussed.
Party Chairwoman Vicki Kissack said that if censureship had come up to a vote, she probably wouldn’t have voted for it.
“By principle, I don’t agree with them,” she said. “They have no teeth.”
“It’s a fancy way of saying ‘I don’t like you,’” said precinct committeeman Doug Camblin. “It has no power.”
In the 2020 presidential election, Trump received 87% of the vote in Campbell County, and Cheney got the support of 83% of local voters in her race. In the general election, Cheney defeated Republican challenger Blake Stanley with 69% of the vote in Campbell County.
The Casper Star-Tribune reported that as of Sunday night, 10 county Republican parties in Carbon, Lincoln, Johnson, Crook, Sheridan, Sweetwater, Hot Springs, Washakie, Fremont and Albany counties had formally voted to censure Cheney. Several other counties, including Niobrara, Weston, Park, Big Horn, and Uinta counties, had censure votes planned.
Kissack said the makeup of the local GOP’s central committee is vastly different this year. Dozens of new precinct committee people were elected in the August primary election, and took their seats in January.
While Campbell County’s legislative delegation has moved in a more conservative direction, the central committee has become more moderate or progressive, Kissack said.
“I don’t think a censureship would pass” with the current central committee, she added.
There are better, more effective ways to respond to Cheney’s decision, Kissack said. She plans to focus her time and energy on the 2022 mid-term elections, where Cheney will be up for reelection.
The local GOP had scheduled a town hall meeting in February to host an open discussion about Cheney. The central committee voted it down last week, and the meeting has since been canceled.
Kissack said she was “extremely disappointed” that Camblin and other members of the central committee didn’t support giving the public a chance to speak their minds on Cheney.
Camblin said it was an issue of fiscal responsibility. The Republican Party has about $10,000 in its account, and between $8,000 and $10,000 of that will go toward the party’s dues to the state Republican Party.
He added that he wasn’t against the town hall in concept, but believed it wasn’t wise for the party “to spend money we didn’t have on something that wasn’t a revenue generating deal.”
He also said some believed the town hall meeting had the potential to be “a campaign opportunity for individuals that have already filed to run against Rep. Cheney,” and that a political party isn’t supposed to support any candidate until after the primary election.
Commissioners talk Cheney
Monday, the Campbell County Commissioners discussed whether they should send a letter to Cheney’s office expressing their disappointment in her decision.
Commissioner Rusty Bell said that historically, the commission writes letters in response to policy issues that affect the county. He doubted that Cheney’s impeachment vote would have much impact on Campbell County.
“I don’t want to set the precedent of us writing a letter every time someone’s not happy with the political decision that’s made,” he said.
Commissioner Del Shelstad said there are ramifications. Cheney has done some good things for Wyoming, particularly with supporting the energy industry.
“Is she going to get reelected? I would guarantee you she won’t,” he said. “That’s going to hurt us, because who are we going to get in there then?”
The county needs to make sure that Wyoming’s delegation “is still looking out for our counties and the state,” said Commissioner Colleen Faber.
“I don’t understand this straying from the party where it really wasn’t necessary,” she said, adding that Cheney’s decision “sent a real strange message” to a lot of people.
“It was a symbolic gesture,” said Commissioner D.G. Reardon. “This symbolism meant a lot, as the outcry from Wyoming indicated.”
“To have a representative turn around and do that, to say we need to remove the president, after he’s already out of office, is a bad message,” Shelstad said.
Since the impeachment vote, Cheney has shown that she’s still looking out for Wyoming by speaking in support of fossil fuels, Reardon said.
“We need to be looking at, what she can do to help us on the energy standpoint, rolling back some of these energy mandates, moratoriums, focus on that and not worry so much about a symbolic vote on impeachment,” he said.