What’s making news in the New West today: Mike Enzi crushes Liz Cheney in first round of polling; the rebranding of the Buffalo Bill Center of the West; and more bear issues.
Former Sen. Alan Simpson famously predicted that a Liz Cheney run against incumbent U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi would be disastrous for the Republican Party in Wyoming, but it may not actually rise to that level of disaster if the first round of polling holds true to the primary. Results of a Harper Polling poll for Conservative Intel has Enzi with a 55-21 percent advantage among likely Republican primary voters, with a +/-4.77% margin of error. The poll also shows 76 percent of likely primary voters expressing a favorable approval rating for the low-key Enzi, compared to 45 percent for Cheney. And, perhaps the most difficult hurdle for Cheney to overcome: the primary voters give Enzi 73 percent approval rating for his performance as U.S. senator.
Now, it’s early in the process. But there’s already a narrative of sorts in place: Cheney is the former Bush Administration official who parlayed her political views into a Fox News punditry gig, grew up out East and returned to Jackson Hole only a year ago. She’ll need to fight the perception of being a carpetbagger to raise her own personal profile while also telling Republican primary voters that Mike Enzi is not to be trusted. Those are two awfully tall orders to fill.
The rebranding of the Buffalo Bill Historical Center is now complete: the complex of museums is now the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, complete with a new logo and new emphasis on the institution’s status as a collection of five distinct museums: Buffalo Bill Museum, Plains Indian Museum, Whitney Western Art Museum, Draper Natural History Museum, and Cody Firearms Museum. Combined, they tell the story of the American West from various viewpoints.
There’s no doubt we’re seeing a ton of increased bear activity in the greater Yellowstone ecosystem, as both black and grizzly bears are interacting with humans on a more frequent scale. Maybe it’s because their traditional food sources are impacted, or maybe it’s because there are more humans in the region, or a little of both. In any case the latest bear incident saw a black bear get into an occupied tent and tent-trailer in the Sheridan Campground south of Red Lodge, Mont. It was captured a few days later in the same campground — bears are such creatures of habit — and then put down because of the standard “habituated to people” tag. There’s the fear that additional bears in the region are habituated to humans, so the Sheridan Campground is restricted to hard-sided campers for now. The lesson: don’t forget the bear spray.