Rep. Liz Cheney offered a grim prediction to her fellow Republicans on the first day of the House Select Committee hearings on January 6 in June: “There will come a day when Donald Trump will be gone, but your dishonor will remain,” they told them. she said. at the start of the proceedings widely seen as presenting overwhelming evidence that Trump was behind the attack on the US Capitol.
Now, the day is fast approaching when Cheney could be gone — from Congress, at least — having chosen to stand up to Trump and those in the Republican Party who are willing to risk “dishonor.”
All signs point to a staggering loss for Cheney in the GOP primary for Wyoming’s lone seat on Tuesday. A University of Wyoming poll released Thursday shows Cheney trailing Trump-backed opponent Harriet Hageman by a gaping 30 percentage point margin. Another poll predicted a similar blowout for Hageman, leaving little doubt that Cheney is on a losing streak.
“She knew what the risks were when she came out and opposed the president,” Mike Madrid, Republican co-founder of the anti-Trump Lincoln Project, told HuffPost. “Did she think for a short time that she could win a primary at home? I do not know. But it’s no secret – and it hasn’t been for a long time – that it won’t happen. »
In the most consequential GOP primary since Trump’s loss, you won’t find Cheney engaging in the kind of retail politics that make or break tough races. Its website does not list public events. She’s not chatting to ranchers in a state that gave Trump his biggest margin of victory in 2020. In a profile that acknowledges the reality of Cheney’s impending loss, The New York Times reported that the Wyoming Republican was sticking to invite-only events in people’s homes — with a security detail to keep him safe from a flood of threats.
Cheney’s fate in Congress may be sealed, but his political future outside the legislature is not. After raising $13 million, the three-term scion of a conservative political dynasty hasn’t ruled out running for president, a move that could pit him against his ultimate challenger Trump in a primary. .
The race caps an election cycle of mixed results for the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump for instigating the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol – two won, three lost (Cheney could be the fourth) and the others chose not to run for re-election. Among them, Cheney and Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) are Trump’s most visible foils. Both were censured by the Republican National Committee for helping Democrats investigate Jan. 6. Kinzinger, seeing the writing on the wall, leaves Congress at the end of his term, intending to focus on his PAC leadership and his own election plans.
Cheney, meanwhile, is using her primary to send a flamboyant message.
“America can’t stay free if we give up the truth,” Cheney says in his campaign’s closing ad, of the swelling orchestral music. “The lie that the 2020 election was stolen is insidious. He attacks those who love their country. It is a door opened by Donald Trump to manipulate Americans into abandoning their principles, sacrificing their freedom, justifying violence, ignoring the decisions of our courts and the rule of law.
Cheney’s father, former Vice President Dick Cheney, also filmed a campaign ad calling Trump a “coward” and a “threat to the republic”, and calling his daughter “fearless”.
Madrid noted that the message is not aimed at primary voters: “This is not a message from Wyoming, build up the base. It’s a full-frontal assault on the national GOP.
Jim King, a professor of political science at the University of Wyoming, said GOP voters decided months ago to oppose Cheney, and her prominent role as vice chair of the select committee of January 6 and the evidence he presented against Trump has not changed. all minds. Cheney said the committee uncovered evidence justifying Trump’s prosecution.
“People had already made up their minds,” he told HuffPost. “His votes on election certification and then impeachment in January 2021, those were the things that started the opposition. He’s been there for a year and a half now. The visibility of this race made people really fixated.
Cheney’s campaign opted for an unorthodox tactic to break her ceiling: calling on Democrats to cross party lines and vote for her against Hageman in the GOP primary. There is anecdotal evidence that this might help Cheney somewhat, but not enough to significantly alter the outcome of the race in his favor.
“People had already made their decision.”
– Jim King, professor at the University of Wyoming
Tim Stubson, a former Wyoming lawmaker who lost to Cheney in the 2016 congressional primary and is among his allies in that election, said on policy issues there was “virtually no light of the day” between Cheney and Hageman.
“Harriet ran and continues to run simply on the basis that she will bend her knee more towards Trump than anyone else,” Stubson said. “It really was as simple as a campaign – Liz betrayed the Republican Party by going through Trump, and she will stick with him.”
Hageman, who is endorsed by the Wyoming GOP, argued that Cheney was out of touch with Wyoming voters, 70% of whom voted for Trump in 2020.
“The people of Wyoming don’t believe they’re represented in Congress right now because our representative isn’t coming to Wyoming, she’s not coming here to talk to us to explain her vote to defend the decisions she makes. She spends an awful lot of time on the Jan. 6 committee, but she doesn’t address the issues that are important to Wyoming,” Hageman said during a debate last month, when Cheney in turn pressed her about whether she believed the election was stolen.Hageman said the election was “rigged” but did not focus on election denial as a centerpiece of his campaign.
“No one who understands the laws of our country, no one with an honest, honorable, and genuine commitment to the laws of our country would say that,” Cheney says in his closing ad about calling the 2020 election stolen and rigged. . “It is a cancer that threatens our great republic.”
The Huffington Gt