Rep. Cheney Starts Reelection Bid; Primary With Trump-Backed Hopeful Looms
Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., faces five challengers in Wyoming's Aug. 16 GOP primary, including Harriet Hageman, who has been endorsed by former President Donald Trump. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
By Jay Clemons | Thursday, 26 May 2022 09:05 PM
The ongoing war of words between former President Donald Trump and Rep. Liz Cheney might soon reach a new strata now that Cheney has formally launched her reelection campaign for a House seat.
In her announcement video Thursday, the Wyoming Republican said: "Some things have to matter. American freedom, the rule of law, our founding principles, the foundations of our republic matter. What we do in this election in Wyoming matters."
Cheney added, "I'm asking for your vote because this is a fight we must win."
Despite being the incumbent in a conservative state, Cheney could be fighting an uphill battle in Wyoming's Aug. 16 Republican primary, in which she faces five challengers.
Plus, a conservative group representing the "Wyoming Values PAC" has already spent big money on anti-Cheney billboards in various Wyoming markets, touting Hageman as the best GOP option for Primary Day.
The billboards, sporting the message of "Ditch Liz! Vote for Hageman" appear in Casper, Cheyenne (the capital city), Laramie and Rawlins.
What has Cheney done to draw the ire of Trump, and possibly a substantial faction of Republican voters in Wyoming?
- Cheney has previously referred to Trump as a "clear and present danger" to U.S. democracy.
- Cheney was just one of 10 Republicans to vote for impeachment after Trump's second impeachment trial.
- She serves on the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the Capitol.
- Last year, the Wyoming wing of the GOP party ousted Cheney from the state Republican Party due to her impeachment vote.
- Cheney routinely butted heads with Trump during his time in office (2017-21), and that might have been an untenable position to take, since Trump is viewed as wildly popular in Wyoming (garnering 69.5% of the vote in the 2020 presidential election).
For this Saturday's pro-Hageman rally in Wyoming, the expected speaker list includes Trump and Republicans such as House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California, Wyoming Republican Party Chairman Frank Eathorne, and Reps. Matt Gaetz of Florida, Elise Stefanik of New York and Lauren Boebert of Colorado — three of Cheney's GOP House colleagues.
Cheney made no direct mention of Hageman in her Thursday video. Instead, she called for voters to "reject the lies" and "toxic politics."
"When I know something is wrong, I will say so," said Cheney, who was removed from her position as House Republican Conference chair last year.
Cheney has deep ties in Wyoming — including her father, Dick Cheney, serving as a long-time congressman and eventual vice president to George W. Bush.
But remains to be seen how much that lineage will carry Liz Cheney on primary day, knowing Trump has been eagerly awaiting this particular congressional race.
"In Wyoming, we know what it means to ride for the brand," Cheney said. "We live in the greatest nation God has ever created, and our brand is the United States Constitution."