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How Wyoming Voters Are Reacting To Liz Cheney's Vote To Impeach Trump

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

In Wyoming, the name Cheney has been gold for decades. Liz Cheney has easily won all three of her congressional elections, and her father was a popular congressman before he was vice president. But after she voted to impeach former President Donald Trump for his role in the insurrection, the younger Cheney is getting pushback at home. Wyoming Public Radio's Bob Beck reports.

BOB BECK, BYLINE: Wyoming Republican Liz Cheney says her vote was not a partisan issue and that Trump crossed the line.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

LIZ CHENEY: Our republic is very fragile, and we all have an obligation to ensure we're doing everything that we're compelled to do by our oaths.

BECK: Cheney says she hopes people in Wyoming will understand, but many don't.

ANTHONY BOUCHARD: Cheney joined in with the war on Trump. And I'm going to say it's Pelosi's war on Trump.

BECK: That's GOP state Senator Anthony Bouchard, who quickly filed papers to run against Cheney in two years. The state Republican Party issued a statement critical of Cheney. And Darin Smith, a former county Republican chairman who attended Trump's rally ahead of the riot at the Capitol, says Cheney must be held accountable. He's thinking of challenging her in a primary as well.

DARIN SMITH: I think it is much bigger than what she thinks. And 18 months from now, I don't think that people are going to forget, roll over and say, oh, that was no big deal. In many ways, she undermined the principles of the people that put her in office.

BECK: No state supported Trump more than Wyoming. That's why Carbon County became the first in the state to censure Cheney for her vote. The county chairman is Joey Correnti IV.

JOEY CORRENTI IV: Every point that was made by Representative Cheney in her statement violated the quantifiable will, if you look at election results, of the people of Wyoming if actual evidence to the contrary wasn't brought. And at that time, we didn't have evidence.

BECK: But some supporters are coming to her defense. The president of the Petroleum Association of Wyoming, Pete Obermueller, is among them. Cheney is the third ranking member of the House Republicans, which he says is critical, as the Biden administration is unleashing policies harmful to the state's oil and gas industry.

PETE OBERMUELLER: Members from Florida, members from Ohio, members in New York - they do not care about Wyoming. They do not care about our industry here or about the issues that we face on a day-to-day basis. I just caution that we remember that we have three people in Washington fighting for us, and we need them to be firing on all cylinders.

BECK: Despite all the rhetoric, University of Wyoming political scientist Jim King says it's unlikely that pushback will lead to a primary defeat for Cheney as long as she continues to attend events and stays in contact with the state.

JIM KING: She's got a wide network of supporters across the state, and she'll have the financial resources that she needs. And I'll add one more thing. She's got 18 months to show that she is still connected with Wyoming. It is rare that a single vote is detrimental to the career of a member of Congress.

BECK: But there are many who want to prove that statement wrong.

For NPR News, I'm Bob Beck in Laramie. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.