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Reaction In Wyoming Is Mixed To Cheney's Removal From GOP Post

NOEL KING, HOST:

House Republicans voted to remove Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney from party leadership because she keeps telling the truth about President Trump telling a lie. We've heard all about this from Washington, D.C. But what do people in Wyoming think? With me now is Bob Beck, who's been covering politics in Wyoming for more than 35 years. Bob, that is a long time. Good morning.

BOB BECK, BYLINE: Good morning.

KING: What are you hearing from people there?

BECK: Well, it's mixed. Many believe she's been shafted. And then there are others who want her to resign. And they've wanted this ever since she voted for impeachment. Here's Shelby Backtold (ph) of Gillette, Wyo., who wants her out.

SHELBY BACKTOLD: I think she handled herself in a very poor way. And I'm thanking God that, finally, the Republicans stood up and said, this is not OK. This is not how you act. This is not how you represent your side, us.

BECK: That position is shared by most major Republican Party officials in the state who voted to censure her earlier this year. Now, I should say, our governor and other top elected officials in the state have been relatively quiet. Then there's a group that is not happy with her position surrounding Trump but who believe she still has stature and can represent the state well. This is Charlene Camblin (ph) from a rural area in northeastern Wyoming who does not want to lose her.

CHARLENE CAMBLIN: I think it is going to hurt Wyoming. We are small in number. So we need to be very firm and vocal in our voice in the representation that we do have. And so when we lose that status, I think we risk getting pushed to the back.

KING: Very nice to hear the voices of Liz Cheney's constituents. I wonder, also, Republican leaders in Wyoming, do they stand with the national Republican Party in supporting Donald Trump? Or do they want to break with him?

BECK: The Republican leadership in Wyoming definitely stands behind Trump.

KING: OK.

BECK: But things can differ across the state. I think there's many who think the party's moved too far right and prefer Republicans like the Cheneys - of course, a lot of us remember former Senator Alan Simpson, those types of Republicans. But right now, the party is being controlled by those who are not fans of moderates and who want elected officials to do what party officials want. And I think the next several months are going to be interesting to watch as we head into the election.

KING: Yes. And speaking of that, Liz Cheney will face reelection next fall. Do you think she can win again?

BECK: I doubt this is going to hurt her. I think there are many moderates and even Democrats who have praised her stance. And since we likely won't have a viable Democratic candidate next year - Wyoming does have open primaries. So I wouldn't be surprised to see many of them vote in the Republican primary. Then we've heard from people that aren't happy with her but will still support her because the other announced candidates don't excite them. So right now, my opinion is that she would have an excellent chance of winning because it's a lot of ball game left.

KING: OK. So essentially saying, though, Bob, that there are not enough Republicans in Wyoming who are pro Trump to oust her from her...

BECK: I think that's probably accurate. And, plus, there's a lot of time for her to work on this. You know, this is - if you want to use a football analogy - the first quarter. She's got over a year before our primary election. She'll be able to work with local party officials. She's obviously going to bang on the Biden administration here for a little bit. I think that at the end of the day, when you look at all the candidates in the race - and there's probably going to be more than the five or six we have now - they'll split across - that vote split will take place. And I think that will benefit her.

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KING: Bob Beck, the news director at Wyoming Public Radio. This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Noel King.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

And I'm Rachel Martin. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.