Tagwyoming

Stories about Wyoming

Harriet Hageman defeats Liz Cheney in the Republican primary for Wyoming’s At-large Congressional District

Harriet Hageman defeated Liz Cheney, Anthony Bouchard, Robyn Belinskey, and Denton Knapp in the Republican primary for Wyoming’s At-large Congressional District on August 16, 2022. According to the Federal Election Commission (FEC), Cheney, who was first elected to represent this district in 2016, Bouchard, and Hageman led the primary field in fundraising heading into Election Day.

Cheney voted to impeach President Donald Trump (R) on Jan. 13, 2021, for incitement of insurrection in the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. She also voted to support the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol. Cheney said, “I will do everything I can to make sure the former president never again gets anywhere near the Oval Office…We have seen the danger that he continues to provoke with his language…We have seen his lack of commitment and dedication to the Constitution.”

In response, the Republican National Committee and the Republican Party of Wyoming voted to censure Cheney. Cheney was also removed from her leadership position as GOP Conference Chairwoman in the U.S. House.

Cheney received 73.5% and 67.2% of the vote in the 2020 and 2018 Republican primaries, respectively. A Wyoming Public Media poll conducted by the University of Wyoming from July and August of 2022 showed Hageman leading with 57% of likely voters, compared to 28% for Cheney and 2% for Bouchard. Ten percent of respondents remained undecided.

Cheney said she is “honored to represent the people of Wyoming and proud of my strong conservative record. I look forward to an extended public debate about the importance of the rule of law…It is tragic that some in this race have sacrificed those principles, and their duty to the people of Wyoming, out of fear and in favor of loyalty to a former president…” Cheney was endorsed by former President George W. Bush (R), U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney (R), and U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R). Heading into the week of the election, the FEC reported that Cheney raised more than $15 million.

Hageman founded the Wyoming Conservation Alliance and has worked as an attorney and legal consultant. Former President Trump endorsed Hageman on Sep. 13, 2021. Hageman said she is running because “Wyoming is entitled to a representative in Congress who remembers who sent her there and remembers what their wishes are…Liz Cheney is doing neither, and I will do both.” Hageman worked for Cheney’s unsuccessful U.S. Senate campaign in 2014 and said that she is challenging Cheney because of Cheney’s focus on the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol. In addition to former President Trump, Hageman also received endorsements from over 100 Republican members of the U.S. House. Heading into the week of the election, Hageman raised nearly $4.5 million for this primary.

Bouchard served as a Wyoming state senator from 2016 to 2022, representing the state’s 6th district. He founded the Wyoming Gun Owners, an organization that says it is dedicated to “defending and advancing the 2nd Amendment rights of all law-abiding citizens in the state of Wyoming.”

Bouchard called Cheney out of touch with Wyoming voters for voting to impeach President Trump. Bouchard said, “Wyoming was President Trump’s best state both times he ran…That’s because Wyoming voters are strong conservatives who want our leaders to stand up for America, defend our freedoms, fight for our way of life and always put working people first as President Trump did.” Bouchard was endorsed by conservative activist Brent Bozell. Heading into the week of the election, Bouchard raised more than $600,000 for this primary.

Other candidates on the ballot included Robyn Belinskey and Denton Knapp. Before the primary, the Cook Political Report, Sabato’s Crystal Ball, and Inside Elections all rated Wyoming’s At-Large Congressional District as a solid/safe Republican seat.



Wyoming sees most U.S. House candidates since 2016

The filing deadline for candidates running for Congress in Wyoming this year was May 27, 2022. Eight candidates are running for Wyoming’s At-Large U.S. House district, including three Democrats and five Republicans. That’s three more than the five candidates who ran in 2020 and in 2018.

Here are some other highlights from this year’s filings:

  • Because it has only one U.S. House seat, Wyoming did not need to redistrict after the 2020 census.
  • The eight candidates running this year are the most candidates running for the U.S. House since 2016, when ten candidates ran.
  • Incumbent Rep. Liz Cheney (R) is running for re-election. Cheney was first elected in 2016, the last year Wyoming’s At-Large seat was open.
  • Both primaries are contested. The last year a Wyoming U.S. House primary wasn’t contested was 2014. 

Wyoming and Alaska are holding their primaries on August 16, 2022. Winners in Wyoming primary elections are determined via plurality vote, meaning that the candidate with the highest number of votes wins even if he or she did not win an outright majority of votes cast.



Cheney, Bouchard, and Hageman run in Republican primary for Wyoming’s At-Large District

Incumbent Liz Cheney, Anthony Bouchard, Harriet Hageman, and two others are running in the Republican primary for Wyoming’s At-large Congressional District on August 16, 2022. According to the Federal Election Commission (FEC), Cheney, who was first elected to represent this district in 2016, Bouchard, and Hageman lead the primary field in fundraising heading into the final month of the race.

Cheney voted to impeach President Donald Trump (R) on January 13, 2021, for incitement of insurrection in the breach of the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. She also voted to support the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol. Cheney said, “I will do everything I can to make sure the former president never again gets anywhere near the Oval Office…We have seen the danger that he continues to provoke with his language…We have seen his lack of commitment and dedication to the Constitution.”

In response, the Republican National Committee and Republican Party of Wyoming voted to censure Cheney. Cheney was also removed from her position as GOP Conference Chair in the U.S. House.

Cheney received 73.5% and 67.2% of the vote in the 2020 and 2018 Republican primaries, respectively. Cheney said she is “honored to represent the people of Wyoming and proud of my strong conservative record. I look forward to an extended public debate about the importance of the rule of law…It is tragic that some in this race have sacrificed those principles, and their duty to the people of Wyoming, out of fear and in favor of loyalty to a former president…” Cheney was endorsed by former President George W. Bush (R), U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney (R), and U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R). Heading into the final month of the race, Cheney has raised over $10 million in the election.

Hageman founded the Wyoming Conservation Alliance and has worked as an attorney and legal consultant. Former President Trump endorsed Hageman on September 13, 2021. Hageman said she is running because “Wyoming is entitled to a representative in Congress who remembers who sent her there and remembers what their wishes are…Liz Cheney is doing neither, and I will do both.” Hageman worked for Cheney’s unsuccessful U.S. Senate campaign in 2014, but said that she is challenging Cheney because of Cheney’s focus on the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol. In addition to former President Trump, Hageman was also endorsed by over 100 Republican U.S. House members. Heading into the final month of the race, Hageman has raised over $2 million for this primary.

Bouchard served as a Wyoming state senator from 2016 to 2022, representing the state’s 6th district. He founded Wyoming Gun Owners, an organization that says it is dedicated to “defending and advancing the 2nd Amendment rights of all law-abiding citizens in the state of Wyoming.”

Bouchard called Cheney out of touch with Wyoming voters for voting to impeach President Trump. Bouchard said, “Wyoming was President Trump’s best state both times he ran…That’s because Wyoming voters are strong conservatives who want our leaders to stand up for America, defend our freedoms, fight for our way of life and always put working people first as President Trump did.” Bouchard was endorsed by conservative activist Brent Bozell and, heading into the final month of the race, Bouchard has raised over $600,000 for this primary.

Other candidates on the ballot included Robyn Belinskey and Denton Knapp. Before the primary, the Cook Political Report, Sabato’s Crystal Ball, and Inside Elections all rated Wyoming’s At-Large Congressional District as a solid/safe Republican seat.



A look at contested state legislative primaries in Wyoming

Wyoming has 48 contested state legislative primaries this year, 31% of the total number of possible primaries, and a 4% increase from 2020.

A primary is contested when more candidates file to run than there are nominations available, meaning at least one candidate must lose.

Of the 48 contested primaries, there are two for Democrats and 46 for Republicans. For Democrats, this is down from six in 2020, a 67% decrease. For Republicans, the number increased 15% from 40 in 2020.

Twenty-eight primaries feature an incumbent, representing 49% of all incumbents who filed for re-election. This is down from 2020, when 31, or 52% of incumbents, faced contested primaries.

All 28 incumbents in contested primaries this year are Republicans. No Democratic incumbents who filed for re-election face a contested primary.

Overall, 168 major party candidates—27 Democrats and 141 Republicans—filed to run. All 62 House districts and 16 of the state’s 31 Senate districts are holding elections. This includes two new House districts and one new Senate district created following redistricting.

Twenty-one of those districts are open, meaning no incumbents filed. This guarantees that at least 23% of the legislature will be represented by newcomers next year.

Wyoming has had a Republican trifecta since 2010 when the party gained control of the governorship. Republicans have controlled both legislative chambers since 1977 and currently hold a 28-2 majority in the Senate and a 51-7 majority in the House with two districts represented by third-party or independent incumbents.

Wyoming’s state legislative primaries are scheduled for August 16, the 14th statewide primary date of the 2022 state legislative election cycle.

Additional reading:

Wyoming State Senate elections

Wyoming House of Representatives elections, 2022



Wyoming is only state so far to change number of state legislators after redistricting

Wyoming enacted new state legislative district boundaries on March 25 when Gov. Mark Gordon (R) allowed the maps to become law without signing them. The bill adds one Senate seat and two House of Representatives seats to the state legislature, meaning that after the 2022 elections, Wyoming will have 31 state Senators and 62 state Representatives. As of April 14, 44 states have completed legislative redistricting after the 2020 census, and Wyoming is the only one thus far to change its number of legislators. 

West Virginia adopted a redistricting plan changing that state’s House of Delegates from 67 to 100 districts but kept the number of legislators at 100. It will go from having 47 single-member and 20 multi-member districts to 100 single-member districts.

Nationwide, there are currently 1,971 state Senators and 5,411 state Representatives. After the 2022 elections, there will be 1,972 state Senators and 5,413 Representatives.

In Wyoming, the state House and Senate passed two separate redistricting proposals and a joint conference committee developed the final boundaries. The state Senate passed the new maps, 17-12, with all votes in favor by Republicans and 10 Republicans and two Democrats voting against. The state House approved the maps by a 44-12 vote. Thirty-seven Republicans, six Democrats, and one Libertarian voted in favor, and 11 Republicans and one independent voted against.

When the proposal to increase the number of legislators was discussed in Wyoming’s Joint Corporations, Elections and Political Subdivisions Interim Committee, Sen. Tara Nethercott (R) said, “Historically, the Legislature has had even more legislators than this amount. This is not a new concept for us to consider, or particularly profound in that way. The purpose is to identify the greatest amount of concern that we heard and provide solutions, really maximizing solutions to concerns.”

According to the National Conference of State Legislators, Wyoming changed the number of members of its state legislature five times between 1964 and 1992. During that period, the state House of Representatives had between 56 and 64 members and the state Senate had between 25 and 30 members.

After the 2010 census, New York increased its number of state Senators from 62 to 63. 

After the 2000 census, New York increased the number of state Senators by one, to 62. Two states—North Dakota and Rhode Island—reduced the number of state legislators in both chambers.

Additional reading:



Wyoming enacts new state legislative districts

Wyoming enacted new state legislative districts on March 25 when Gov. Mark Gordon (R) allowed a proposal approved by both legislative chambers to become law without his signature. The maps will take effect for Wyoming’s 2022 state legislative elections.

The Wyoming State Senate passed legislative redistricting plans on March 3, voting 20-10 to approve an amended version of the Joint Corporations, Elections, and Political Subdivisions Interim Committee’s proposal. The House rejected maps approved by the Senate in a 46-11 vote on March 8. Legislative leaders formed a committee of three representatives and three senators to resolve disputes over the proposals. The House passed the maps on March 11 in a 44-12 vote, and the Senate passed the maps in a 17-12 vote. The enacted proposal adds one Senate seat and two House seats to the state legislature.

Gordon said of the new maps, “I feel very comfortable with my neighbors being in the district they’re accustomed to shopping in, going to the feed store, or selling their cattle. So from that perspective I think it was a good solution.” Senate Minority Leader Chris Rothfuss (D) said “we basically ran out of time. It’s kind of like when you’re out of time and you have to submit your homework and here we are. But at the end of the day it isn’t living to the standards and obligations we were supposed to be putting forward.”

As of March 29, 43 states have adopted legislative district maps for both chambers and one state has adopted maps for one legislative chamber. The state supreme court in one state has overturned previously enacted maps, the U.S. Supreme Court has blocked previously enacted maps in one state, and four states have not yet adopted legislative redistricting plans after the 2020 census. As of March 25, 2012, 43 states had enacted legislative redistricting plans after the 2010 census.

Nationwide, states have completed legislative redistricting for 1,772 of 1,972 state Senate seats (89.9%) and 4,654 of 5,411 state House seats (86.0%).

Additional reading:



Wyoming voters to decide ballot measure increasing judicial retirement age to 75

Wyoming voters will decide in November on a constitutional amendment that would increase the judicial retirement age from 70 to 75 for state supreme court justices and district court judges.

As of 2022, 32 states have mandatory retirement ages for state judges. Including Wyoming, 18 states have a mandatory retirement age of 70. Seven have a mandatory retirement age of 75. In 2003, Vermont established the highest mandatory retirement age at 90 years old. The other 18 states do not have mandatory retirement ages.

Since 2016, voters in six states have voted on constitutional amendments to increase or eliminate the judicial retirement age. Two of the constitutional amendments were approved. Both of them, like the Wyoming amendment, proposed increasing the judicial retirement age from 70 to 75. The other four were rejected. Two proposed increasing the age from 70 to 80 and two proposed eliminating the judicial retirement age.

In Wyoming, a constitutional amendment requires a two-thirds vote in each chamber of the Wyoming State Legislature during one legislative session. The judicial retirement age amendment was introduced into the state Legislature as House Joint Resolution 1 (HJ 1). The Wyoming House of Representatives voted 54 to 5 to approve HJ1 on Feb. 24, 2022. All seven Democratic representatives voted in favor. Of the 51 Republican representatives, 45 voted in favor, five voted against, and one was absent. The one Independent representative and one Libertarian representative both voted in favor. The State Senate passed the measure in a vote of 20-30 on March 3, 2022. Both Democratic senators voted in favor. Among the 28 Republican senators, 18 voted in favor and 10 voted against.

As of March 3, the Wyoming State Legislature has referred one other constitutional amendment – Amendment A – the ballot. Amendment A would allow the legislature to provide by law for local governments (county, city, township, town, school district, or other political subdivision) to invest funds in stocks and equities. The legislature may refer additional measures to the ballot during the 2022 legislative session, which is set to run until March 11, 2022. Two constitutional amendments concerning the state budget have passed the state House of Representatives and would be placed on the ballot if approved by the state Senate. One of the amendments would require that earnings from the Permanent Fund are deposited into an earnings account and requires that investment losses are addressed. The other potential amendment would create a separate earnings fund for earnings from the school account of the permanent land fund, allow the legislature to distribute or invest the earnings fund, and require the legislature to provide a process for supplying school fund investment losses.

Additional reading:



Redistricting timeline update: West Virginia calls special session, Wyoming committee agrees on timeline

Here’s a summary of recent redistricting updates from West Virginia and Wyoming.

West Virginia: On Oct. 7, 2021, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice (R) called for a special session starting Oct. 11 for the legislature to finish the redistricting process and approve legislative and congressional district maps. “This is on all the redistricting we have to do. We’ve got to do this and everything. The special session is part of the Legislature’s constitutional duty to redistrict the state of West Virginia,” Justice said.

Wyoming: At an Oct. 6, 2021, meeting, the Wyoming Legislature’s Joint Corporations, Election and Political Subdivisions committee agreed on a schedule to finish the redistricting process. The committee set Nov. 1, 2021, as the deadline for map proposals. Redistricting legislation proposals must be finished by Dec. 1, 2021, so they can be reviewed before the 2022 budget session begins on Feb. 14. The committee plans to meet again in early November to go over any remaining issues with the map drafts, but has not set a date yet.



First 2022 state supreme court vacancy announced

Wyoming State Supreme Court Justice Michael K. Davis is retiring on Jan. 16, 2022, upon reaching the state court’s mandatory retirement age of 70 years. The vacancy created by Davis’ retirement is the first state supreme court vacancy to be announced for 2022. Davis’ replacement will be Governor Mark Gordon’s (R) first nominee to the five-member supreme court.

Under Wyoming law, justices of the Wyoming Supreme Court are selected through the assisted appointment method. When a vacancy occurs, the governor appoints a replacement from a list of three names provided by a nominating commission. Newly appointed judges serve for at least one year, after which they must stand for retention in the next general election. If retained, a judge will finish the remainder of his or her predecessor’s unexpired term. Subsequent terms last eight years.

Davis first became a member of the Wyoming Supreme Court when he was appointed by Gov. Matt Mead (R) on Aug. 30, 2012, to succeed Michael Golden. Davis previously served as a judge on the First District Court in Laramie County, Wyoming. From 1980 to 2008, he was a partner at Yonkee and Toner. He has also been a judicial fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.

Following Davis’ retirement, the Wyoming Supreme Court will include the following members:

  1. Lynne Boomgaarden, appointed by Gov. Matt Mead (R) in 2017
  2. Kate M. Fox, appointed by Mead (R) in 2013
  3. Keith G. Kautz, appointed by Mead (R) in 2015
  4. Kari Gray, appointed by Mead (R) in 2018

In 2021, there have been 16 court vacancies in 14 of the 29 states where replacement justices are appointed instead of elected, as of Sept. 8. The vacancies have been caused by retirements.

Additional reading:



Wyoming to vote in 2022 to allow local governments to invest in stocks and equities

On April 1, the Wyoming State Legislature referred a constitutional amendment to the 2022 ballot that would allow the legislature to provide by law for local governments (county, city, township, town, school district, or other political subdivision) to invest funds in stocks and equities. Legislation establishing or increasing the percentage of funds a local government could invest would require a two-thirds supermajority vote of the state legislature. Currently, the state constitution allows the state legislature to authorize certain state funds to be invested in stocks.

To put a legislatively referred constitutional amendment before voters, a two-thirds (66.67 percent) supermajority vote is required in both the Wyoming State Senate and the Wyoming House of Representatives.

The measure was introduced as House Joint Resolution 9 on March 4, 2021. It was approved in the House on March 23, 2021, by a vote of 43-16. The Senate approved an amended version of the measure on April 1, 2021, in a vote of 25-5, which was sent to the House for concurrence. The House concurred with the Senate’s amendments on April 1, 2021, in a vote of 46-13.

Between 2000 and 2020, the Wyoming State Legislature referred 20 constitutional amendments to the ballot, of which, 12 were approved (60%) and eight (40%) were defeated.

The legislature was set to adjourn the 2021 legislative session on April 7, 2021. The legislature can also refer measures to the 2022 ballot during the 2022 legislative session.

As of April 2, 2021, 15 statewide ballot measures had been certified for the 2022 ballot in 10 states.

Additional Reading: