Former President Donald Trump is meeting next week with several of the Republican candidates who are aiming to unseat Rep. Liz Cheney – but one of the most high-profile candidates in the race says that he wasn't invited.
Republican Wyoming State Sen. Anthony Bouchard, who has vastly outraised other candidates seeking to oust Cheney, R-Wyo., told Fox News Tuesday that he is not among the candidates who will be meeting Trump in Bedminster, N.J., next week.
"I wholeheartedly agree with President Trump's statement that we are stronger against Liz Cheney with one candidate," Bouchard said, saying he believes the fact he was left off of the list was "expected."
"I'm the only candidate with any measurable grassroots support in Wyoming. More than 1,000 Wyoming Republicans have donated to my campaign. That's more than ten times the totals from all other Cheney Challengers combined," Bouchard added. "The weeding out process needs to begin now -- starting with the weakest candidates -- to give Wyoming conservatives our best shot of defeating Liz Cheney in 2022."
Bouchard Wednesday claimed that Trump's meetings next week with other candidates "will be to get them to reconsider their candidacies because they simply don't have the grassroots support needed to take on the Cheney machine."
Trump spokeswoman Liz Harrington did not respond to a request for comment from Fox News asking the reasoning behind the fact Bouchard was not invited to the meetings at his New Jersey golf club, which he announced Tuesday.
"Paying close attention to the Wyoming House Primary against loser RINO Liz Cheney. Some highly respected pollsters tell me she's toast in Wyoming after siding with Crazy Nancy Pelosi and supporting the Democrat Impeachment Hoax," Trump said.
"This is a ‘hot’ race with some very interesting candidates running against her," Trump added. "Remember though, in the end we just want ONE CANDIDATE running against Cheney. I'll be meeting with some of her opponents in Bedminster next week and will be making my decision on who to endorse in the next few months. JUST ONE CANDIDATE."
Bouchard carries what may be considered significant baggage into the August 2022 primary. He admitted earlier this year to impregnating a 14-year-old girl when he was 18, who he said he later married with the blessing of her mother and took care of their child. Bouchard, in a Facebook Live video, added that they later got divorced and the woman eventually died by suicide at age 20.
Bouchard also said in the Facebook Live video that he was making the disclosure because somebody was looking into that part of his past.
"This is really a message about how dirty politics is. They'll stop at nothing, man," he said. "They're willing to go back almost 40 years to something that happened in my youth."
On choosing not to abort the child and to get married, Bouchard said, "I did the right thing."
But Bouchard has been the biggest fundraiser among the Cheney primary challengers, surpassing $500,000 total raised. Republican state Rep. Chuck Gray has also filled up his campaign coffers with nearly $400,000 total, although he is largely self-funded – he loaned his campaign nearly $300,000 so far.
Cheney, meanwhile, continues to outpace her challengers. Her reelection campaign hauled in a staggering $1.88 million between April and June, following $1.5 million she raised in the first quarter of the year.
Cheney has been the target of Trump's ire – and of several primary challengers – because of her vote to impeach the former president and her regular broadsides against Trump for his continued false claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen.
The former president has signaled for months that he plans campaign against Republicans who voted to impeach him, and in particular against Cheney. Trump calls her a "warmonger" and connects her to the GOP old guard, including her father former Vice President Dick Cheney.
Trump so far has only endorsed one primary challenger to a House Republican who voted to impeach him – there are 10 such incumbents in total. That candidate is his former aide Max Miller, who is running against Rep. Anthony Goznalez, R-Ohio.
Fox News' Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.