Sturgis, South Dakota; July 2, 2021
Wearing a pair of faded jeans and a pressed white shirt, he stands on a platform set against a backdrop of prairie grass leading to the foothills of mountains addressing a crowd that has come together in Sturgis, South Dakota over the 4th of July weekend. Holding a microphone, an aspiring Wyoming congressional candidate lets an attentive gathering of patriotic Americans know why he is challenging Liz Cheney for her House seat in 2022.
“I am a MAGA Trump Republican,” he tells the like-minded crowd. “I believe in an America-first agenda. We need to end illegal immigration…We need to protect the rights of the unborn…We need to drain the swamp and end the corruption in D.C.” The crowd, not gathered for the purpose of focusing on Wyoming politics specifically, claps enthusiastically. While it might not be their district, the message is theirs and the speaker resonates.
Meet 47-year-old attorney, and former Christian Broadcast Network and Family Research Council executive, Darin Smith of Cheyenne, Wyoming. He is a life-long resident of the state who has set aside his successful professional career for the purpose of taking on the incumbent, and establishment darling, Liz Cheney in the 2022 primary election.
“I’m a fourth-generation Wyomian and I live and work here by choice. This is my state, and these are my people,” Smith tells Human Events. “I believe that of the people who might be running, my roots here run the deepest. Certainly, my commitment runs deep.”
Liz Cheney has drawn fire from Republicans not just in Wyoming, but also from her colleagues in the House and from rank-and-file members across the nation after her outspoken stance against former President Donald Trump, especially after the November 3, 2020 election. Cheney was one of 10 Republicans in the House who voted in favor of Trump’s second impeachment over the fabricated, purely political notion that he had somehow incited the events that took place on January 6th. That day, what started as a peaceful rally protesting the election tampering that took place last November, ultimately led to citizens entering the Capitol building, with one unarmed military veteran being gunned down by police.
Smith ran against Cheney once before during the 2016 election cycle. After being outspent nearly 40:1, he still made a respectable showing but realized the inadequacies of not being prepared. “I was new at this and quickly found out I had much to learn about running for office,” Smith said. “My candidacy did bring a number of issues important to the people of Wyoming to the forefront and forced Liz to move closer to some of my positions. I believe my candidacy made a difference.”
At least for a while. Smith says that he told Cheney after 2016 that he would support her as long as her “walk matched her talk.” Smith took a pass on challenging Cheney in the 2018 and 2020 elections, feeling that overall Cheney had been performing generally well. All that changed after the 2020 election.
“I saw how quickly she started to tell voters that the election results were legitimate and that for the sake of the country we had to move on, and Trump had to stand down,” he states. “That didn’t make any sense to me. You could put a murderer on death row with less evidence than we had of election interference. At a minimum, widespread investigations were in order. Something just smelled funny to me when she was so quick to dismiss the evidence.”
At that point, the attorney turns to his Latin lexicon in summarizing the evidence surrounding election tampering. “Res ipsa loquitur,” he says. The facts speak for themselves.
The final straw for Smith was when Cheney voted to impeach Trump over the January 6th protest. “There was no evidence and there was no due process given. Our Constitution guarantees due process to everyone. That includes the President of the United States. I thought, if the President can be denied his constitutional rights, if the President can be ‘cancelled’, then it can happen to anybody in this country. I couldn’t stand by and do nothing.”
Smith knows that if he is successful in his attempt to unseat Cheney as the Republican nominee, and if he then wins the general election in Wyoming, he will be heading to a Washington D.C. mired in gridlock and with little chance of legislative success as long as Biden & Harris occupy the White House. “We have to establish a beachhead. At a minimum, we need to reclaim the House and Senate so that we can stop the Biden agenda and perhaps even attack some of his executive orders.” Smith vows to join and help strengthen the House Freedom Caucus and to work to set the stage for a successful 2024 presidential election year.
From an issue perspective, he is very concerned about illegal immigration citing it as an attempt by the Democrats to turn us into a one-party nation. “They want to overrun our system and make it impossible for us to ever get back to a free America. That isn’t the only problem. This massive inflow of people entering the country illegally places a great strain on the public goods and services that should be available to actual American citizens.”
Smith is very focused on education saying that despite the incredible amount of money we spend on schools in our country, the American education system continues to slide backwards compared to other nations. Education is key part of his standard “stump speech.”
“Between Common Core, Critical Race Theory, and the 1619 Project we are losing focus in our schools on what we should be doing which is giving our kids a strong set of academic fundamentals and critical thinking skills.”
Smith is also committed to protecting and expanding the Wyoming coal industry which he says needs to be preserved in order to prevent energy crises the likes of which were seen in Texas this past winter. “Wind and solar are fine, but they are just not able to provide the level of power that America needs to run.”
In the end, Smith is representative of so many every-day Americans who are now coming forward to run for office and challenge more establishment, or RINO, Republicans. He is a mix of faith, family, and freedom-wrapped values who feels he has a duty and calling to serve. He is also angry. “I’m mad as hell,” he says. I am frustrated with what has happened to our great nation, as are many Americans- especially the citizens of Wyoming. People are becoming increasingly anxious, and they just don’t know what to say or what to do. I feel like I do know what to say and do and that’s why I’m committed to run.
You can learn more about Darin Smith’s candidacy at SmithforWyoming.com.