Congresswoman Liz Cheney (R-Wyoming), who in recent years became a prominent voice among a small number of Republicans who have broken away from the dominant President Donald Trump contingent of the party, lost her primary election on Tuesday night to anti-environmentalist lawyer Harriet Hageman.
It was a lopsided defeat for Cheney. The House representative has frequently been targeted by Trump in his public comments and on his social media site, Truth Social, due to her vote to impeach him after the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol and her involvement in the January 6 committee investigating that attack. Trump also endorsed Hageman’s run against Cheney, whose name, up until recently, was most associated with her father, war criminal and former Vice President Dick Cheney.
Hageman received 66.3 percent of the vote, according to the most recent numbers, while Cheney garnered 28.9 percent support among GOP voters in the partisan primary. Cheney has held heinous views on issues like same sex marriage and has peddled Islamophobia in the past. But she was viewed as a less radically far right option than Hageman, who has spent her career fighting environmental regulations and denies the results of the 2020 presidential election.
Conceding her race on Tuesday night, Cheney expressed no regret over her actions deriding Trump, and suggested she believed she took the more conscionable route. She expressed a continued loyalty to the Republican Party and its conservative beliefs, but said that she loved the country more than the GOP’s de facto leader.
“Two years ago, I won this primary with 73 percent of the vote. I could easily have done the same again,” she said in her speech. “But it would have required that I go along with President Trump’s lie about the 2020 election.”
Cheney also hinted at her political future, suggesting that a run for president in 2024 opposing Trump in the primary wasn’t out of the question.
“It is something that I am thinking about, and I’ll make a decision in the coming months,” she said on NBC’s “Today Show” Wednesday morning.
Defeating Trump “is going to require a broad and united front of Republicans, Democrats and independents, and that’s what I intend to be a part of,” she added.
Cheney would face a steep uphill battle if she did decide to take on Trump, who has yet to officially announce a run for president again but is expected to do so sometime in the near future. A Politico/Morning Consult poll from earlier this month, for example, shows that nearly six in ten (58 percent) Republican-aligned voters would back Trump if their state’s primary was happening today.
On the Democratic side of the primary election, Lynnette Grey Bull decisively won her contest, attaining 62.3 percent of the vote. Grey Bull does not have good odds of winning the general election, however, as Wyoming is starkly conservative — 70 percent of the state voted for Trump in the last presidential election.
Like Cheney, Grey Bull acknowledged on Tuesday night that the lie pushed by Trump and his loyalists that election fraud led to his loss in 2020 to President Joe Biden is dangerous, especially to the degree Trump’s supporters were willing to defend the false idea.
“The myth that the 2020 presidential election was stolen is a dangerous lie that has cost lives and empowered toxic people,” Grey Bull said. “[Hageman] has married herself to that lie and that campaign, and to the former president.”
Hageman is indeed decisively pro-Trump. While running against Cheney, Hageman said the congresswoman’s views on the former president were personally insulting to her, stating that Cheney “betrayed Wyoming, betrayed the country and betrayed me.”
Much of Hageman’s career has been spent fighting federal environmental regulations and practices. She successfully challenged, for example, a set of environmental regulations passed by former President Bill Clinton that sought to protect national forests from development, including mining and road-building.
More recently, she’s also stated her deep opposition to a recent law passed by Democrats in Congress that includes significant funding to address the climate crisis. Hageman misleadingly said the law would be “devastating” – even though the bill contains large concessions to her fossil fuel industry allies – and is opposed to transitioning to renewable energy sources.
Hageman is instead a devotee to coal, wrongly calling it a “clean [and] acceptable resource” that should continue to be used in spite of the devastating consequences of continuing to do so.