Top 1 Magazine

Top One Magazine

Democrats switched party registration in Wyoming. It couldn’t save Cheney.

Thousands of Wyoming Democrats left the party since July, likely spurred by calls to support Rep. Liz Cheney’s uphill reelection campaign. It didn’t make much of a difference.

Cheney, the Republican who put herself at odds with former President Donald Trump as vice chair of the Jan. 6 select committee, knew she had a difficult campaign against a Trump-endorsed opponent. So she appealed across the aisle with a simple request: switch party affiliations to vote for her in the primary.

But just 13 percent of registered voters in Wyoming are Democrats, so the number of party switchers made little impact. Cheney lost to Harriet Hageman by over 60,000 votes.

From Jan. 1, 2022, to the Aug. 16 primary, there was a 20 percent drop in Democratic voters. Republican voters jumped 10 percent, according to the Wyoming Secretary of State’s office.

Voting records don’t specify how many individuals are registering for the first time versus switching their party, nor which party they are switching to. But anecdotally, Democrats in Wyoming have said they re-registered as Republicans to vote for Cheney in the primary.

Wyoming voters can change their party affiliation at least 14 days before the election or at the polls. Cheney included these instructions on her campaign site, and sent out mailers detailing the steps.

The change in voters was even more apparent beginning in July after Cheney began asking for Democratic support. From July 1 to the primary, Democratic registration dropped from about 43,000 to 36,000 — a 15 percent decrease in just a little over a month. Republicans picked up nearly 15,000 voters in that span, increasing to a record-breaking number of 215,000 people registered by the primary.

And in the two weeks between Aug. 1 and the primary, Democrats lost over 3,000 voters, going from 40,000 to 36,000 registered Democrats — the lowest it’s been in decades. Republican voters increased by almost 8,000 from Aug. 1-16.

Cheney wasn’t the only lawmaker calling for voters to make a temporary switch for her. An organization called Wyomingites Defending Freedom And Democracy ran two ads from Democratic Reps. Dean Phillips (Minn.) and Tom Malinowski (N.J.) earlier this month urging Wyoming Democrats to vote for her.

“You might be a little surprised that I’d be supporting Liz Cheney in her bid to continue representing Wyoming in the U.S. House,” Phillips said in his video. “But principle must always come before politics, and nobody has shown more honor, integrity and courage than she.”

Cheney’s next steps include preparing for the launch of a new outside group dedicated to keeping Trump away from the presidency. The group, The Great Task, filed its switch from Cheney’s candidate committee to a leadership PAC with the FEC in the early hours of Wednesday morning following her defeat.

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