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Cheney wins GOP nomination for U.S. House; Grey Bull secures Democratic nomination
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Cheney wins GOP nomination for U.S. House; Grey Bull secures Democratic nomination

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Liz Cheney

Rep. Liz Cheney arrives for a news conference along with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California, left, and House Minority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana in January in Washington in January 2019.

Rep. Liz Cheney secured the Republican nomination for Wyoming’s sole seat in the U.S. House of Representatives Tuesday, setting her on course for a third term in Congress.

With 24% of precincts reporting Tuesday night, the two-term Wyoming representative garnered over 75% of the Republican vote, enough for the Associated Press to call the election. Democratic contender Lynnette Grey Bull secured a win and will face the Republican in November’s general election.

The competitiveness of this year’s primary race paled in comparison to 2016, when Cheney battled a packed field of contenders for the seat. Nonetheless, she won the 2016 primary by over 30 points and has only gained more momentum in Washington since.

The congresswoman, who some say is one of the most powerful Republicans in the country, faced only one primary contender this time around, Blake Stanley, a political newcomer.

“I am honored that Wyoming Republicans have nominated me to serve as their representative in Congress,” Cheney said. “I have had no greater honor than serving as Wyoming’s lone representative in the U.S. House and I am humbled by the support and trust that voters have placed in me.”

In January, Cheney announced she would not run for the state’s open Senate seat and instead would focus on regaining a Republican majority in the House, which the party lost in the 2018 midterm elections. Many analysts predict that her ascension to House speaker could be just around the corner.

Cheney, a self-proclaimed constitutional conservative, ran on her sustained commitment to the preservation of free markets, protections for Second Amendment rights, religious freedom and advancing President Donald Trump’s agenda.

As the third-ranking Republican in the House, Cheney’s work in Washington has focused, in part, on lifting regulatory requirements for energy operators and funding research into alternatives for coal. She has been a consistently outspoken critic of her Democratic colleagues in Congress, often standing in line with the Trump administration’s prerogatives; she’s cast more than 96% of her votes in line with his positions.

In recent months, though, her opposition to the withdrawal of troops from the Middle East and criticism of the administration’s COVID-19 pandemic response garnered intense backlash from some fellow Republicans and close Trump allies, including those in the Freedom Caucus.

Grey Bull, Cheney’s Democratic opponent, carried 66.4% of the votes with 24% of precincts reporting.

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Wyoming voters have not elected a Democrat as a U.S. senator or representative for several decades, with many left-leaning candidates having to campaign against the backdrop of the state’s Republican stronghold.

But with the state facing the worst economic crisis in a century and a massive revenue shortfall due to a dependence on fossil fuels, there are Wyoming residents eager for new leadership.

The three-person Democratic primary field consisted of Grey Bull, Carl Beach and out-of-state perennial candidate Carol Hafner.

All ran on platforms to expand health care coverage, repair the economy, advance racial justice and address climate change.

Grey Bull, a member of the Hunkpapa Lakota and Northern Arapaho tribes, is the first Native American woman in the state’s history to run for federal office.

The candidate has extensive leadership experience having served as the executive director for the Wind River Native Advocacy Center and the chair of the Arizona Commission of Indian Affairs. She has dedicated herself to addressing the epidemic of violence against Indigenous women and has become a vocal advocate for gender and racial equality across the state. She is also the vice president of the Global Indigenous Council and has helped develop the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women’s Task Force.

In addition to calling for a just transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy, Grey Bull’s platform aims to “decriminalize addiction,” reform policing and ensure adequate investment in tribal nations.

Grey Bull received endorsements from several progressive state lawmakers, including Rep. Cathy Connolly, D-Laramie; Rep. Stan Blake, D-Green River; Rep. Sara Burlingame, D-Laramie; and Rep. Andi Clifford, D-Fort Washakie. U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland, D-New Mexico, also extended an endorsement to Grey Bull.

Her main contender, Beach, also ran on a social justice platform. He hoped to bring his experiences as an international educator to the role, championing universal access to health care and rights for working people. He currently resides in Ryan Park near Saratoga.

Grey Bull will face a formidable challenge from the well-funded, two-term Republican incumbent. The general election will be held on Nov. 3.

Follow the latest on Wyoming’s energy industry at @camillereports

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Energy and Natural Resources Reporter

Camille Erickson covers the state's energy industries. She received her master's degree at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. Before moving to Casper in 2019, she reported on business and labor in Minneapolis, Chicago and Washington.

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