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Retired U.S. Army colonel announces bid to unseat Cheney
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Retired U.S. Army colonel announces bid to unseat Cheney

Rep. Liz Cheney has yet another challenger in the 2022 U.S. House race. 

Denton Knapp, a retired U.S. Army colonel and the brother of state Rep. Christopher Knapp, is entering the 2022 House race for Wyoming’s lone House seat, he told the Star-Tribune on Monday. 

Knapp joins State Sen. Anthony Bouchard, State Rep. Chuck Gray and Cheyenne lawyer Darin Smith in challenging Cheney. Like Smith, Knapp also brands himself in being a fourth-generation Wyoming resident.

“I'm a Wyomingite through and through,” Knapp said. 

Similar to the other candidates attempting to unseat Cheney, Knapp is appealing to the strong Trump base in the state and rejecting Cheney’s beliefs about the former president and the validity of the election. 

“I believe President Trump did a great job with the economy, with jobs and putting our country first,” he said.

Congresswoman Liz Cheney is speaking out as she faces potential removal from her House leadership role.She wrote in The Washington Post that the Republican party is "at a turning point" and "must decide whether we are going to choose truth and fidelity to the constitution."The third-highest-ranking House Republican is facing opposition from her party for saying the 2020 presidential election was not stolen and that anyone spreading what's been dubbed the "big lie" is "poisoning the democratic system."Wednesday, former President Trump and number two House GOP leader Congressman Steve Scalise endorsed Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, who is a staunch Trump supporter. Cheney acknowledges embracing the president's statements may help lawmakers politically but says it will "do profound long-term damage" to the Republican party and the country.Cheney already survived a no confidence vote after she voted to impeach President Trump last year.But this time around House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is no longer defending her.Cheney writes she's committed to defending "the basic principles that underpin and protect our freedom and our democratic process no matter what the short-term political consequences might be."President Biden also weighed in on the power struggle in the Republican Party calling it a "mini revolution.""I've been a democrat for a long time. We've gone through periods. We've had internal fights and disagreements. I don't ever remember any like this," said the president. "I think the Republicans are further away from trying to figure out who they are and what they stand for than I thought they would be at this point."Lawmakers return to Washington next week and we could see a GOP conference vote on Cheney's future Wednesday.

Cheney came under fire from the far right after voting to impeach former President Donald Trump following the Capitol riot on Jan. 6. She has also pushed back against his unfounded claims that the election was stolen.

Unlike Cheney, Knapp does not believe that the 2020 presidential election was entirely legitimate. 

“With as many votes that came in, and as many votes that each candidate got, I think it's very probable that there were people that voted twice or more or people who are deceased and someone voted for them,” Knapp said.

There has been no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election, despite repeated claims by Trump that President Joe Biden’s win was fraudulent. Trump’s assertions have been contradicted by multiple recounts, audits and the outcome of dozens of court cases. 

Knapp’s relationship with the Cheney family dates back further than this campaign, however. Then-Rep. Dick Cheney appointed Knapp to the United States Air Force Academy as a student at Campbell County High School. 

Mr. Cheney and Knapp have not corresponded about the 2022 campaign. 

“I have great respect for the Cheney family and the public service that they've had. It’s only the last year that Liz has betrayed the state,” he said.

His service in the Army included multiple combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. Knapp has been awarded two Bronze Stars during his service and honorably retired in 2017 after more than 30 years of federal service, according to his biography. Part of this service included work at the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) and the Pentagon.

Knapp said he recently reached out to his former colleagues, Mike Pompeo, the former director of the CIA and Lloyd Austin, the current secretary of defense, about potentially receiving endorsements from them.

“I’m in the infancy of this campaign, but I'm getting it started and I'm getting it started fast.”

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