Fremont GOP joins in rescinding Cheney recognition

CASPER — The Fremont County Republican Party has joined Carbon and Park counties in voting to rescind recognition of Rep. Liz Cheney as a member of the GOP, according to a resolution obtained by the Star-Tribune. But the leaders of the Republican parties in Carbon and Fremont counties gave different reasons for pursuing what amounted to another symbolic critique of Wyoming’s only congressperson.

The Fremont County Republican Party Central Committee voted Monday in support of the move, which is emblematic of the far right’s sustained frustration with the congresswoman’s criticism of former President Donald Trump and her vote to impeach him.

“Although the Fremont County Republican Party may have no legal standing or path to demand the formal removal of Representative Liz Cheney as the lone U.S. Representative to the State of Wyoming, The Fremont County Republican Party also has no legal requirement to personally recognize or embrace Representative Liz Cheney as an emissary, representative, friend, or ally of either the Fremont County or the Wyoming Republican Party,” the resolution reads.

Unlike Carbon county, the vote to pass the resolution in Fremont was not unanimous, and some members abstained, according to Ginger Bennett, the chairwoman of the Fremont County party. She did not respond when asked exactly how the vote numbers broke down.

“The resolution passed in Fremont County after excellent debate both for and against it,” Bennett said. She did not respond to further requests for comment.

While Carbon County’s and Fremont County’s resolutions were nearly identical, their chairpersons gave different reasons for the move.

Joey Correnti, chairman of the Carbon County Republican Party, said the resolution was about more than Cheney’s stance on the former president.

“This has very little to do with Donald Trump, except for he was her focus when she started to ignore the voices of the Wyoming Republicans or the Wyoming voters in mass,” he said.

Bennett, however, struck an opposite tone.

“There seemed to be agreement from both sides of the debate that Ms. Cheney was wrong in her vote to impeach former President Donald Trump,” Bennett said.

The latest attempt to criticize Cheney began when Park County Republican leaders issued a letter stating they would no longer recognize her as a Republican. Carbon County Republican leaders then voted Saturday, taking it a step further by unanimously backing a formal resolution.

“Park County set up the ball, Carbon County spiked it,” Correnti told the Star-Tribune on Monday.

Republican central committees throughout the state are expected to be given the opportunity to vote on the same resolution at future meetings.

Although state law bars groups from removing or changing a lawmaker’s politician affiliation, Correnti hopes the resolution will eventually be adopted by the Central Committee of the Wyoming Republican Party. Cheney’s censure earlier this year played out similarly: A couple counties led the way before nearly all followed. Eventually, the state party censured her.

Cheney says her vote to impeach Trump following the Jan. 6 insurrection, and her repeated criticisms of his attempts to sew doubt in the results of the 2020 presidential election, put principle — and the Constitution — above party.

“Liz will continue to fight for all the people of Wyoming,” spokesperson Jeremy Adler told the Star-Tribune on Monday. “She knows that she and all elected officials are bound by their duty under the U.S. Constitution, not by blind loyalty to one man.”

Cheney voted with Trump on policy 93 percent of the time during his time in office. That’s a higher rate than Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, New York Rep. Elise Stefanik, Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar (who recently endorsed state Rep. Chuck Gray’s bid to unseat Cheney), Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz and many other lawmakers who have criticized Cheney’s stance on Trump. Cheney has also received decently conservative grades from prominent conservative groups, including the Susan B. Anthony List, the National Rifle Association and the Heritage Foundation.