WILSON, Wyo. — For much of the morning on the place where Liz Cheney was expected to forged a vote for herself in Tuesday’s Republican primary, there have been more reporters than voters waiting to forged ballots.
Yet at times, the road to enter the barn-red community center in Wilson — a wealthy, mostly white enclave of fewer than 2,000 people at the bottom of the Teton Pass — prolonged nearly to the road. Longtime residents said they’d never seen anything prefer it.
The voters who rode as much as the town’s lone polling site in elite performance bicycles, Teslas and luxury trucks seemed mostly to fall into three camps on the polarizing issue of the day, Cheney’s reelection: Republicans who dislike Cheney and voted for her opponent Harriet Hageman; Republicans who admire Cheney’s resolve and bucked what appears to be the overwhelming sentiment within the Wyoming GOP; and Democrats who never voted Republican, but crossed party lines to support Cheney.
Voters arrive to forged ballots in Wilson, Wyoming, in Tuesday’s primary.
Patrick T. Fallon/Getty Images
Teton County, home to Jackson, a recent playground for the ultra-rich set against a wide ranging natural landscape, is unlike anywhere else on this heavy mining and agricultural state. It’s Wyoming’s bluest county, meaning voters listed here are more prone to be Democrats who voted for Cheney, an unusual phenomenon that Cheney’s campaign encouraged.
Cheney never arrived Tuesday morning. The Jackson Hole News and Guide reported that Cheney had actually voted the day before on the Teton County Library. Despite outcry from Republicans about voter fraud and absentee voting, the nation’s reddest state offers each in-person early voting and no-excuse voting by mail.
Residents were astonished — and slightly flattered — that Wilson had suddenly turn out to be a hotbed of media attention for all of 12 hours.
“I’ve never seen a line this long for either a primary or a general election,” said Jeff Koshan, a 25-year resident of Wilson who wouldn’t reveal whom he voted for, but whose comments suggested it was probably Cheney. “I believe people feel the necessity to say something.”
As for Cheney’s crossover appeal, “I can’t say I’ve ever heard of any candidate ever goal the other party for voting support. It makes good sense,” he said.
Voters flocked to the community center in Wilson, Wyoming, to vote Tuesday for Liz Cheney and Harriet Hageman within the GOP primary for Wyoming’s lone congressional seat.
Patrick T. Fallon via Getty Images
The Cheney/Hageman divide looked as if it would reflect the generational and economic schism in Wilson, a mix of recent modern homes and more modest ranches.
A girl in her 30s buckling a toddler into her truck after voting said she would probably never vote Republican again, but that Cheney’s situation has “ethical” implications.
Still, in an indication the crossover hug of Cheney has its limits, those self same Democrats frowned when asked whether or not they would vote for Cheney for president.
“She’s far more conservative than I might ever vote for,” the lady said, citing her job as a reason for not giving her name.
“I had never voted for either one in every of them, dad or daughter,” said Kelly Sales, a Democrat from Wilson, referring to Cheney’s father, former Vice President Dick Cheney. “She upholds the rule of law and the structure, and that’s what matters.”
In her mission to compete against a Trump-backed opponent, Cheney’s campaign enlisted Democratic voters who share the congresswoman’s revulsion of the previous president, whom she voted to question for instigating the Jan. 6, 2021, mob that attacked the U.S. Capitol.
An extended voting line in Wilson, Wyoming.
Jae C. Hong/Associated Press
Even some Republicans said the events of Jan. 6 were enough to go against the party establishment, which backed Hageman, a natural resources attorney from the Cheyenne area.
“I’m a Republican. But I draw the road at idiots,” Stan Crook, a retired 74-year-old from Freedom, told HuffPost on Monday. “I’m a veteran. Jan. 6, 2021, that got me so upset. Not one of the Republicans within the Senate, not one of the Republicans within the House … only when their lives were at risk did they [do anything]. Then they went right back to the identical BS.”
Ted Kimmel, a Republican who voted for Hageman, acknowledged that Trump is a “problem,” but said the House’s Jan. 6 select committee, on which Cheney serves as the highest Republican, didn’t conduct its hearings fairly.
“Either side get to talk. Either side get a rebuttal. That’s how we do it in our country. I don’t feel that happened within the Jan. 6 hearing,” he said.
Because the line outside the tiny, well-manicured Wilson community center swelled within the shadow of the Tetons, a Hageman supporter asked what the fuss was about.
“What’s everybody coming out for? Is the loser coming out or something?” said the person, who didn’t need to share his name with reporters. He said he likes Hageman because she’s a “conservative and never that anti-Trumper.”
He stressed that what’s playing out in Cheney’s home county isn’t representative of the remainder of the state.
“Teton County, there’s plenty of liberal folks here. But the remainder of the state is pretty conservative,” he said. “With the crossover, that skews things.”