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Western Republicans can’t stop censuring their own

The Wyoming Republican Party voted to no longer recognize Rep. Liz Cheney as a Republican

Rep. Liz Cheney listens during a House Armed Services Committee hearing.
Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., listens during a House Armed Services Committee hearing on the conclusion of military operations in Afghanistan, Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2021, on Capitol Hill in Washington.
Olivier Douliery, Pool via Associated Press

Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., isn’t a Republican anymore, at least according to her state party.

No, Cheney hasn’t actually left the GOP, rather on Saturday, the Wyoming Republican Party’s central committee voted 31-29 to no longer recognize her as a Republican, according to The Associated Press.

It’s the latest example of Western state Republicans punishing politicians for opposing former President Donald Trump following the Jan. 6 attack at the U.S. Capitol, and it shows the extent that deference to Trump continues to define modern Republican identity.

Cheney’s voting record is about as Republican as they come. During the 116th Congress, Cheney voted with Trump 92.8% of the time, and she’s voted with President Joe Biden just 12.2% of the time since Biden took office, according to data from FiveThirtyEight.

Still, Cheney’s been criticized by her party at the state and national levels. The Wyoming Republican Party central committee first voted to formally censure Cheney in February, and in May, House Republicans booted her from her role as GOP conference chair.

Cheney “completely broke with where we are as a state” when she “launched her war against President Trump,” said Harriet Hageman, the Trump-endorsed Republican running against Cheney next year in a statement to the Casper Star Tribune.

The censure is symbolic, but it’s still been a popular tool for state parties to show their displeasure at Republicans who opposed Trump in federal or statewide office.

The Arizona Republican Party went after three of its own in January, censuring Cindy McCain, former Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey. McCain and Flake both endorsed President Joe Biden in 2020 and have since joined his administration as ambassadors, while Ducey earned the wrath of state Republicans after certifying Arizona’s election results.

In March, Alaska’s state Republican Party censured Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, for her vote to convict Trump, while in May, Utah Republicans attempted to censure Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, but the motion failed on a 798-711 vote.

Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske, the only Republican to hold statewide office in Nevada, was censured by her state party in April after defending the state’s election and saying there was no evidence of widespread voter fraud.

Cheney’s office dismissed the latest rebuke from Wyoming Republicans.

“It’s laughable to suggest Liz is anything but a committed conservative Republican,” Cheney spokesperson Jeremy Adler told the Casper Star Tribune. “She is bound by her oath to the Constitution. Sadly, a portion of the Wyoming GOP leadership has abandoned that fundamental principle, and instead allowed themselves to be held hostage to the lies of a dangerous and irrational man.”