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Cheney facing GOP music in Wyoming primary

Stephanie Akin, CQ-Roll Call on

Published in Political News

WASHINGTON — In a video Rep. Liz Cheney’s campaign touted as her closing argument ahead of Tuesday’s primary against a challenger backed by former President Donald Trump, the Wyoming Republican looks directly at the camera and says, “I want to talk to citizens across our great state and all across our country.”

The message is clear: With recent polls showing attorney Harriet Hageman winning by double digits in a state that awarded Trump his biggest margin of victory in 2020, Cheney is not just talking to primary voters in Wyoming. She’s not just talking about whether she wins or loses the nomination for a fourth term. She is making an appeal for the future of American democracy.

“Like many candidates across this country, my opponents in Wyoming have said that the 2020 election was rigged and stolen,” she says. “No one who understands our nation’s laws, no one with an honest, honorable, genuine commitment to our Constitution, would say that. It is a cancer that threatens our great republic. If we do not condemn these lies, if we do not hold those responsible to account, we will be excusing this conduct and it will become a feature of all elections. America will never be the same.”

Cheney is the last of the 10 Republicans who voted to impeach Trump to face a primary, and the one who, by most measures, faces the steepest odds to reelection. That doesn’t bode well for her prospects, although recent reports indicate she could be making a case for a 2024 presidential bid.

After Washington Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler became the third Republican impeachment supporter defeated in a primary, and four others decided not even to run again this year, only Reps. Dan Newhouse of Washington and David Valadao of California have made it onto the November ballot.

Cheney’s race is by far the highest profile of the bunch, owing to her family pedigree as the daughter of a Republican vice president, her former position in GOP House leadership and her role as vice chair of the select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the Capitol.

 

All of those factors have combined to help Cheney build a staggering fundraising advantage in her race, with more than $15 million in receipts to Hageman’s $4.4 million, as of July 27.

Cheney’s campaign has used that money to make a pitch to the state’s largely rural voters, who, her supporters say, are willing to give Cheney credit for her solid conservative voting record during her three terms in the House. She was the highest-ranking GOP woman in the House before she was ousted from her position as GOP conference chairwoman at the beginning of the 117th Congress for criticizing Trump.

Her campaign ads have featured well-known local figures — like former Sen. Alan Simpson — and an array of regular-looking Wyoming voters touting such accomplishments as support for rural health care, public lands, the military and the petroleum industry.

Cheney’s campaign bought national ad time on Fox News to run a spot featuring former Vice President Dick Cheney, her father, that went viral after it aired in Wyoming. In it, Dick Cheney calls Trump a coward who “tried to steal the last election using lies and violence to keep himself in power after the voters had rejected him.”

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