A Wyoming senator who is challenging Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) in the Republican primary election has admitted to having a relationship with and impregnating a 14-year-old girl when he was 18.
U.S. House candidate Anthony Bouchard, a gun rights activist, told the Casper Star-Tribune that he decided to go public with the story after he found out that opposition researchers and an unnamed reporter were investigating his personal life. He has been in the Wyoming state senate since 2017, and he is one of the most prominent of the Republican challengers taking on Cheney for her seat.
“So, bottom line, it’s a story when I was young, two teenagers, girl gets pregnant,” Bouchard said in a Facebook Live video to his supporters. “You’ve heard those stories before. She was a little younger than me, so it’s like the Romeo and Juliet story.”
After the couple was pressured to have an abortion, Bouchard decided to marry the girl when he was 19 and she was 15. He said they were living in Florida at the time, and the state has a law that permits 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 recalled. “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.”
Bouchard and the girl ended up divorcing after three years of marriage, and he said she went on to kill herself when she was 20.
“She had problems in another relationship. Her dad had committed suicide,” Bouchard said.
Though Bouchard went on to raise their son alone, he has since become 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.”
In the video, Bouchard blasted “dirty politics” and “the establishment swamp” for trying to discredit him for this story 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 then declared that he will not be dropping out of the race.
“They wouldn’t be doing this if I wasn’t the front-runner,” Bouchard said. “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.”