Harriet Hageman, the Donald Trump-endorsed candidate seeking to unseat Rep. Liz Cheney, won big Saturday in a straw poll of House candidates held by the Wyoming Republican State Central Committee.
The secret ballot of party activists awarded Hageman 59 votes, Cheney six, state Sen. Anthony Bouchard, R-Cheyenne, two and Denton Knapp one. The vote comes eight months before the GOP primary.
“I think it’s a good sign. It’s not an endorsement, but these are the county activists” Hageman told the Star-Tribune after the vote.
The state party itself is not statutorily allowed to endorse a candidate in the primary.
The state central committee consists of three representatives from each county and members of the state party, for a total of 74 votes. Only 71, including three of Hageman’s family members, voted Saturday. The bearing of the vote on the outcome of the August primary is uncertain: There are 196,179 registered Republican voters in Wyoming as of January.
The straw poll is a indication of current party leadership’s views, not the state as a whole. Straw polls, even with a far higher number of voters, do not have an accurate track record in Wyoming in recent years.
Then candidate Cynthia Lummis lost to Sheridan County GOP Chairman Bryan Miller by a double-digit margin in a straw poll of Senate candidates held at the Wyoming Republican Party’s 2020 convention. Between 300 and 400 people voted in that poll.
Lummis went on to beat Miller in the primary by almost 50 points in the primary less than two months later.
Still, the vote highlights the hostility that many in the Wyoming Republican Party’s leadership feel toward Cheney since her much publicized break with Trump. Cheney, for her part, has called party leaders radical.
At Saturday’s meeting, Hageman’s high vote count was announced first and met with a round of applause. When Cheney’s tally was announced, a couple members in the room audibly scoffed.
“The only elections that matter are in August and November,” Jeremy Adler, a spokesperson for the Cheney campaign, said in response to the vote.
There was division in the room over the intention of the straw poll.
“This smells like an endorsement to me, said Natrona County Committeeman Joe Mcginley, who had publicly disagreed with party leaders before. “Whether that is the true intention of the state ... or not, that’s what it appears to be.”
Karl Allred, the Uinta County GOP chairman, saw it differently.
“This is not an endorsement,” he said. “This is merely asking for the opinion of the body at this time.”
Sunday, January 23, 2022
It's looking more and more like GOP Rep. Liz Cheney's political career in Wyoming is in dire straits, as her Trump-backed primary challenger, Harriet Hageman, is gaining momentum heading into this spring's primary.
It's certainly possible that Cheney could survive the primary challenge and be reelected, but a December poll found Hageman ahead of Cheney 38-18% with more than a quarter of GOP primary voters undecided. Anything's possible.
Me, I'm rooting for the Democrat if they can, you know, find one.
Author Danielle Tcholakian sobered up in 2021, facing the pandemic and her own mortality, and the choice to seek help and stop drinking saved her life as she recounts in this weeks Sunday Long Read.
2021 was, objectively, not a great year for most people living on this planet. It also happened to be the first full calendar year of my life that I spent sober, having realized in 2020 that I had a problem. It was not a year I would’ve expected to get through rawdogging reality, as it were, or even really to get through at all.
The truth is that most of my drinking and using had one primary purpose: to allow me to feel less. To be less aware. To not have to live in my own brain or settle for the reality of living in the world as myself. To hide from how overwhelmed I was by seemingly everything.
So it’s a little unbelievable that a year in which I was forced to feel things all the time, to be aware of all of it, and to, the whole time, be stuck being me—what seemed like a truly disgusting option—was, in the rearview, better than any of the years in which I’d been able to hide.
It pains me even to write or talk like this now, and that’s a huge part of it. I hated myself—really despised this bitch—for so much of my life, and I don’t anymore. This isn’t a bad brain! It’s a goofy, loving, often uncooperative, mess of a brain in a goofy, loving, messy, still-figuring-a-lot-of-really-elementary-stuff-out person that I mostly don’t mind being anymore. That I often actually enjoy being.
My life before sobriety wasn’t all bad. But most days, for at least five years, I fought with a panicked, angry voice in my head that said I needed to die. The end of 2019 saw me in a Medicaid clinic with a medical resident younger than me patiently going over a list of questions he was required to ask of depressed patients. I explained that yes, I wanted to kill myself, but it was just logical. I was a burden—on people, on systems. I had drained my own resources attempting to resolve a depression that had ultimately been deemed “treatment resistant,” and now here I was, on Medicaid and unable to work. I can’t work so I should die was a deeply American logic I had internalized, and in my frustration at his obtuse refusal to agree that I was simply being practical, I began to cry.
At first, the resident said, “But you know that’s just your depression, right? That’s the only reason you think that.” And I snapped, no—the depression was the physical heaviness, the brain fog, the constant hunger for sleep, the excruciating fucking unending psychological pain. I believed the knowledge that I was better off dead was just that: knowledge; reason.
He looked at me differently, then paused and said something like, “I’m sorry you’re feeling that. I hope you can believe me when I say that it isn’t true. And you shouldn’t feel this way. We will find you resources.” I sobbed then, cracked open by the discovery that the only thing that hurt worse than the pain I’d been in was getting precisely what I didn’t realize I’d been craving: human kindness, and hope. I stopped drinking and using soon after.
The times I've been this low, I was lucky and got help that to this day I still don't think I was worthy of, but it saved me nonetheless. I can relate to feeling like a burden and black hole to toss resources down with no hope of escape or redemption.
Luckily I know what that voice sounds like now, and not to listen to it.