THE ROAD TO THE CAPITOL: Casper Democrat Switching to GOP to Vote Against a Trump-Backed Candidate

Voter plans to vote for Liz Cheney in primary, but for Democrat in November election

  • Published In: Politics
  • Last Updated: Aug 08, 2022

By Shen Wu Tan

Special to the Wyoming Truth

CASPER, Wyo. – Eathan Murphy of Casper is making a big, bold and strategic move: He’s changing his party affiliation for the Aug. 16 primary election, joking he’ll probably need extra therapy sessions after voting for a GOP candidate.

The 28-year-old, who recently left a banking job to develop an animal chaplaincy business, is crossing over from Democrat to Republican to vote for incumbent Rep. Liz Cheney and against Harriet Hageman, the frontrunning Trump-backed candidate.

“I obviously want to vote for people who align with my views the most, which typically tend to be Democrat,” Murphy said, sitting at a wooden table at Amaco Park with his dog, Agatha, a black mouth cur and pug mix.

“But I look at the power that we currently have here in Wyoming,” he continued. “And the most impact I can have is making sure that a Trump Republican doesn’t get elected to Washington. I’m more voting against Hageman rather than for Cheney.”

The fact that Hageman secured the endorsement of former President Donald Trump is strongly influencing Murphy’s vote. In his opinion, Trump only endorses “yes candidates,” and Hageman is presenting “blind allegiance” to the former president.

Eathan Murphy, of Casper, relaxes with his dog, Agatha, at Amaco Park. Murphy, a registered Democrat, plans to switch his party affiliation to Republican for the Aug. 16 primary so that he can vote for Rep. Liz Cheney. (Wyoming Truth photo by Shen Wu Tan)

With Cheney, Murphy believes he knows what she tolerates and that she will hold Trump accountable. He also believes Cheney deserves his vote in the primary because of her work on the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol.  

“People are always getting mad at politicians in Washington for not being held accountable or doing whatever they want,” he said, as Agatha rested near his feet, and the mosquitoes began to bite. “We have a current representative who is trying to hold people accountable.”

The Jan. 6 investigative work by Cheney and Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill), the only other Republican on the select committee, takes courage and shows solid principles, Murphy said.

In the November general election, Murphy will vote for Democrat Lynnette Grey Bull if she clinches her party’s nomination. In 2020, he voted for Grey Bull, whose mother is Northern Arapaho of Wyoming’s Wind River Reservation and whose father is Hunkpapa Lakota Standing Rock Sioux.

Murphy supports Grey Bull because she speaks to the Native American community and adds diversity to the pool of political candidates.

“I think whatever we can do to get more non-dominant voices in positions of making actual changes and actual decisions is for the best,” said Murphy, who identifies as a member of the LGBTQ community. “Marginalized voices need to have as much impact as possible when and where they can.”

He added, “I also think it would be in the best interest in the nation to have more diversity in candidates. I think large sections of the population are sick and tired of old white men telling them what to do and how to do it.”

In 2024, Murphy hopes President Joe Biden does not seek re-election, describing him as someone who bristles at criticism too easily, is not the best communicator and doesn’t push boundaries.

Biden is “a pretty safe moderate candidate, and I think it would be exciting to get to see someone who has a little bit more bite,” he said.  

Murphy would prefer an anti-capitalist presidential candidate—and one who is not Bernie Sanders.  He thinks Stacey Abrams, the former Georgia state representative now running for governor, would potentially fit the bill.

And the most pressing issues in Wyoming?

Murphy wants lawmakers to address the lack of a diversified economy, protect human rights and reform the legislature and petition processes.

After this primary, Murphy will likely remain a registered Republican and then revert back to Democratic affiliation for the next election cycle.  

“Becoming a Republican with a platform that directly goes against my human existence and human rights is not an easy choice,” Murphy said. “And I’m going to lament about it for a while. But I’m still super proud of being able to make the impact that I think we need, which is again less Trump Republicans in positions of power.”

He added, laughing, “But yeah, my therapist is going to get an extra $50 that week for sure.”

Our next stop: a local coffee shop in Casper.

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