Congresswoman Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) and many of her top allies are preparing for the incumbent Republican to be ousted in the primary on August 16th, and may be shifting her focus instead towards a run for higher office in the near future.
According to the Associated Press, Cheney has focused virtually all of her time on the January 6th committee, instead of legislating or visiting her home state to go on the campaign trail. She most recently missed a major rodeo and cowboy festival in the capital city of Cheyenne, with thousands in attendance, some giving their opinion on the congresswoman and talking about how they had no plans to vote for her again.
“I tell you what: I voted for Cheney when she ran last time and I won’t vote for her ever again,” said Dean Finnerty, a rancher from Wheatland. “I don’t know if she’s representing the conservative Americans that voted her in.”
Since the 2020 election and the subsequent peaceful protest at the U.S. Capitol on January 6th, Cheney has been one of President Donald Trump’s most vocal critics from within the Republican Party. She is one of only two Republicans serving on the January 6th committee after Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced that she, rather than House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), would choose which Republicans serve on the panel. The other, Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), has chosen not to run for re-election this year.
Cheney’s popularity has since plummeted in her home state, which President Trump won by historic landslides in both 2016 and 2020; in the former election, his 46-point margin of victory was the highest for any presidential candidate in Wyoming’s history, surpassing Reagan’s margin in the state in 1984. After she publicly broke with Trump, the Wyoming GOP voted to censure her, then voted to disavow her altogether, no longer even recognizing her as a member of the party.
In the primary, President Trump has endorsed lawyer and former Republican National Committee member Harriet Hageman, who previously ran for governor in 2018. Polls have since overwhelmingly shown Hageman with commanding double-digit leads over Cheney.
Cheney’s chances are even grimmer when compared to the fate of the other 8 Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives, besides Cheney and Kinzinger, who voted in favor of President Trump’s second impeachment. Congressmen Anthony Gonzalez (R-Ohio), John Katko (R-N.Y.), and Fred Upton (R-Mich.) have all decided to retire this year rather than seek re-election. Congressman Tom Rice (R-S.C.) was defeated in his primary in June by Trump-endorsed candidate Russell Fry in a massive landslide. Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.) and Congressmen Peter Meijer (R-Mich.) and Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.) are also facing Trump-backed challengers in their upcoming primaries. Only Congressman David Valadao (R-Calif.), the one pro-impeachment Republican to not have a challenger endorsed by Trump, managed to narrowly win his primary.
Cheney’s allies are already accepting that Cheney will most likely not win re-election, but also believe that her political career will not end in August. State Representative Landon Brown (R-Wyo.) said that Cheney “knew that she was shooting herself in the foot politically (in Wyoming) and she was going to walk around with a limp for the rest of her life.” However, Brown added that he “could see this blossoming into something larger.”
Cheney herself has hinted at the possibility that she may instead focus on a run for higher office. In a recent interview with ABC News, Cheney was asked about possibly running for president in 2024, in what would most likely be a primary challenge to a comeback bid by President Trump. In response, Cheney said that “the single most important thing is protecting the nation from Donald Trump,” and that she would make a decision about such a campaign somewhere “down the road.”