In a remarkable, 13-minute video, Wyoming GOP State Senator Anthony Bouchard, who has announced a primary challenge to Liz Cheney for her House seat in Wyoming, has recounted details from his early life involving the unplanned pregnancy of his then-girlfriend, and later his wife, when they were teenagers. Bouchard was 18 and his first wife was 14 at the time.
Bouchard released the video explaining his personal history, because of information that individuals opposed to his decision to challenge Cheney have been doing “opposition research” on the story.
According to Bouchard, after discovering that his girlfriend was pregnant, the two decided to not abort the baby. The two decided to move together to Florida where they would be legally allowed to marry with parental consent since there was a pregnancy involved.
“A lot of pressure. Pressure to abort a baby. I got to tell you. I wasn’t going to do it, and neither was she,” he said. “And there was pressure to have her banished from their family. Just pressure. Pressure to go hide somewhere. And the only thing I could see as the right thing to do was to get married and take care of him.”
The marriage lasted three years, and they were divorced when he was 22 and she was 18. Two years later, while having problems in another relationship, Bouchard’s ex-wife committed suicide at the age of 20. Bouchard stated that his ex-wife’s father had also committed suicide earlier in her life.
After her death, Bouchard raised their son. He later married again and has three other children with his second wife.
Without going into detail, Bouchard notes that his son has made some wrong choices in his life and that their relationship is strained.
“Sadly, he’s made some wrong choices in his life,” he said. “He’s almost become my estranged son. Some of the things that he’s got going on his life, I certainly don’t approve of them. But I’m not going to abandon him. I still love him. Just like when he was born.”
This is an astute political move by Bouchard, as it likely blunts the impact that this story might have had it been released by others in the form of “opposition research,” and it creates a real potential for backlash against any other campaign that might seek to exploit the story. His decision is a good example of not allowing a press-constructed “narrative” to be introduced ahead of the facts.
Bouchard is a leading advocate for firearms rights in Wyoming, having founded the Wyoming Gun Owners association in 2009. He was a lobbyist in the state legislature on gun legislation before running for office himself in 2017. During his first term in the Wyoming Senate, he introduced legislation allowing homeowners to use deadly force against an intruder without the requirement to retreat. The legislation passed and was signed into law by the Wyoming governor, and creates a presumption that a person using deadly force inside their residence against an intruder acted in “self-defense.”
Bouchard was the first Republican in Wyoming to announce that he would challenge Cheney in the GOP primary for her House seat in 2022, doing so on January 20, 2021. Limited polling that has been done shows Bouchard with a 2-1 advantage over Cheney among GOP voters polled. Whether Bouchard can maintain that advantage over Cheney remains to be seen. It is also possible that other GOP officials may yet enter the race.
Bouchard’s video was originally put out by him on Facebook Live, and he encouraged all his supporters to share it with their friends. The video is embedded in the article linked at the top, if you want to watch it.