A Wyoming state senator who is running in the Republican primary election against Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wy.) admitted to having a relationship with and impregnating a 14-year-old girl when he was 18, disclosing the relationship in a Facebook Live video to supporters and to a local newspaper.
U.S. House candidate Anthony Bouchard, a gun rights activist, told the Casper Star-Tribune that he went public with the story after he became aware opposition researchers and an unnamed reporter were investigating his personal life. Bouchard, who has served in the Wyoming Senate since 2017, is one of the more prominent Republican challengers seeking to unseat Cheney for her vote to impeach then-President Donald Trump earlier this year.
“So, bottom line, it’s a story when I was young, two teenagers, girl gets pregnant,” Bouchard said in his Facebook Live video. “You’ve heard those stories before. She was a little younger than me, so it’s like the Romeo and Juliet story.”
Facing pressure to have the baby aborted, Bouchard instead married the girl when she was 15 and he was 19. He explained to the Tribune that they were both living in Florida at the time, and Florida state law permitted people to marry at any age with a judge’s approval if a pregnancy was involved and a parent consented.
“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 couple divorced after three years of marriage. Bouchard said that his ex-wife killed herself when she was 20, and the Tribune reported that online records list a woman with her name being buried in Jacksonville, Florida, in 1990.
“She had problems in another relationship. Her dad had committed suicide,” Bouchard said in the video.
After his ex-wife’s death, Bouchard said he raised their son, but is now almost estranged from him.
“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.”
Bouchard decided to go public with his story to get in front of a report about his previous marriage he expects will be published sometime soon. He told the Tribune his campaign was aware of a political opposition research company and a “U.K. media reporter” who were investigating his personal life. In his video, he slammed “dirty politics” and “the establishment swamp” for trying to discredit him without mentioning his conservative voting record.
“This is really a message about how dirty politics is,” he said. “They’ll stop at nothing, man, when you get in the lead and when you’re somebody that can’t be controlled, you’re somebody who works for the people. They’ll come after you. That’s why good people don’t run for office.”
Bouchard committed to staying in the race, declaring himself the front-runner in a field of seven Republican candidates seeking to unseat Cheney.
“They wouldn’t be doing this if I wasn’t the front-runner,” Bouchard said in the video. “I’m not controlled by leadership; they all know that. Everyone knows that. And if this is the best you’ve got, bring it on. Because I’m not intimidated. I’ve been pushed on and bullied all the time I’ve been in politics. Doesn’t work. I don’t really care. Bring it on.”