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What we know about Liz Cheney’s primary

Rep. Liz Cheney (Wyo.) faces a tough challenge in her Republican primary race next month as she seeks to overcome her alienation from the Make America Great Again wing of the GOP and win reelection in her state’s at-large congressional district.

The Aug. 16 primary comes after Cheney played a pivotal role in a series of congressional hearings this summer that highlighted former President Trump’s role in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Cheney — who was stripped of her GOP leadership post after she joined nine House Republicans to vote to impeach Trump last year — faces four challengers in the primary, including Trump-backed candidate Harriet Hageman.

Here’s what we know about the upcoming primary.

Republicans want to move on from Jan. 6

The House panel, of which Cheney is vice chairwoman, presented evidence this summer that Trump pushed false claims the 2020 election was stolen, often ignoring advice from his own aides.

Trump attempted to pressure former Vice President Mike Pence, the Department of Justice and state election officials to swing the election in his favor, the hearings showed.

Lawmakers also unfolded a timeline of how the former president let the riot unfold for nearly three hours on Jan. 6. At one point, he even fanned the flames of the attack with a tweet calling Pence a traitor for certifying the 2020 election.

Still, many Republicans continue to favor Trump, who has cast Cheney as an outsider in her own party and a Republican in name only (RINO).

An NPR-Marist-PBS NewsHour poll released last week showed only 2 percent of Republicans say the Jan. 6 committee hearings are top of mind ahead of the midterm elections.

And 83 percent of Republicans still have a favorable view of Trump, according to the poll.

Hageman is leading in the polls

Hageman, who has repeated Trump’s false claims the 2020 election was stolen, is leading Cheney by 22 points, or 52 percent to 30 percent, according to a Casper Star-Tribune poll released earlier this month.

“The big story is Liz Cheney is going to get beat,” said Brad Coker, the managing director of the polling firm Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy, which conducted the poll for the Star-Tribune, in a statement.

Two-thirds of respondents in the poll said they disapproved of the job Cheney was doing, while 54 percent said they are less likely to support the lawmaker because of her role on the Jan. 6 committee.

Hageman, a practicing attorney in Wyoming, Nebraska and Colorado, has pounded Cheney as a RINO working with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who is deeply unpopular among Republicans.

“I believe in fighting for the America first agenda, protecting our constitutional rights, reigning in government overreach, standing up for election integrity and stopping the radical Pelosi-Cheney agenda,” Hageman said in a July ad touting Trump’s endorsement.

But Cheney is ahead in fundraising

In fundraising hauls, Cheney has remained well ahead of Hageman, who brought in only $745,000 in the second half of last year.

For the second quarter of the year, Cheney raised $2.9 million, while Hageman raked in $1.8 million.

In the first quarter of 2022, Cheney broke her own fundraising record, bringing in close to $3 million.

Cheney’s financial edge could be enough to push ahead of Hageman later next month if the Jan. 6 hearings start to fade out of sight and mind.

Cheney has tried to rope in Democrats for a boost

On her campaign website, Cheney lists instructions for Democrats who want to change their party affiliation to vote for her in the primary.

In Wyoming, a registered voter can change their party affiliation in advance or on the day they vote.

In a statement to The Hill last month, a spokesperson for Cheney said, “Liz is proud to represent all Wyomingites and is working hard to earn every vote.”

Democrats who switch over could provide a key boost for Cheney against hard-line Republicans in deep-red Wyoming, where Trump beat Biden by more than 40 points.

However, Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso (R) earlier this month said that “there are not enough Democrats” to propel her to victory in the race.

“Wyoming politics is very personal. It’s face to face. It’s town to town,” Barrasso told “Fox News Sunday” host Mike Emanuel. “The travel that I have done around the state, I think she has a lot of work to do if she hopes to win the primary.”

Whatever happens, Cheney says ‘truth’ about Jan. 6 is more important than winning reelection

In several appearances and during the panel’s hearings this summer, Cheney has frequently told Americans that what happened on Jan. 6 was a danger to democracy and that it was her duty to ensure the attempted insurrection never happens again.

Cheney has insisted that in her seven-year career as a congressional lawmaker, the Jan. 6 hearings have been the most important thing she has ever done as an elected lawmaker.

In an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday, Cheney said Americans have to “recognize what’s at stake.”

“If I have to choose between maintaining a seat in the House of Representatives or protecting the constitutional republic and ensuring the American people know the truth about Donald Trump, I’m going to choose the Constitution and the truth every single day,” she said.

Tags Harriet Hageman Jan. 6 Liz Cheney Liz Cheney Mike Pence Primary Wyoming
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