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Romney: Removing Cheney from House leadership will cost GOP election votes

Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyPelosi: 'No intention' of abandoning Democrats' infrastructure goals What the Democrats should be doing to reach true bipartisanship Eugene Goodman to throw out first pitch at Nationals game MORE (R-Utah) warned on Monday that forcing Rep. Liz CheneyElizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneyNew Israeli government should be a teaching moment for global leadership Cheney rips Arizona election audit: 'It is an effort to subvert democracy' House Democrats to Schumer: Vote again on Jan. 6 probe MORE (R-Wyo.) out of House leadership over her criticism of former President TrumpDonald TrumpBiden prepares to confront Putin Biden aims to bolster troubled Turkey ties in first Erdoğan meeting Senate investigation of insurrection falls short MORE will cost the party votes heading into the 2022 midterm and 2024 elections.

"Expelling Liz Cheney from leadership won’t gain the GOP one additional voter, but it will cost us quite a few," Romney tweeted on Monday.

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His tweet came shortly after House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyPelosi, leaders seek to squelch Omar controversy with rare joint statement Omar: I wasn't equating terrorist organizations with democratic countries Schumer bemoans number of Republicans who believe Trump will be reinstated: 'A glaring warning' MORE (R-Calif.) told House Republicans in a letter to expect the vote on removing Cheney, the No. 3 House Republican, as soon as Wednesday.

"Having heard from so many of you in recent days, it's clear that we need to make a change. As such, you should anticipate a vote on recalling the conference chair this Wednesday," McCarthy wrote in the letter to his conference. 

Frustration with Cheney boiled over during the recent recess over her criticism of Trump for continuing to make a false claim that the 2020 election was "stolen."

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Some of Trump's most ardent supporters, including some House Republicans, have repeated this even as dozens of legal challenges from Trump's team were rejected and election experts have dismissed claims of widespread fraud.

McCarthy, while characterizing that the GOP is "a big tent party," appeared to argue that Cheney's criticism took the focus off of 2022, where McCarthy is hoping to win back the majority and fulfill his long-held goal of winning the Speaker's gavel.

"All members are elected to represent their constituents as they see fit, but our leadership team cannot afford to be distracted from the important work we were elected to do and shared goals we hope to achieve," McCarthy wrote.

House Republicans are likely to replace Cheney with Rep. Elise StefanikElise Marie StefanikRecovering America through the lens of wildlife Former Trump aide eyeing New Hampshire congressional bid GOP's attacks on Fauci at center of pandemic message MORE (R-N.Y.), who rose through the party ranks opposing the House impeachment efforts.

Romney's defense of Cheney comes even as most Senate Republicans have stayed out of the House fight. Romney was one of seven GOP senators who voted to convict Trump during his second impeachment trial and the only GOP senator to vote for one of the articles in 2020.

Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellWhat the Democrats should be doing to reach true bipartisanship Democrats mull overhaul of sweeping election bill McConnell seeks to divide and conquer Democrats MORE (Ky.) repeatedly sidestepped questions about Cheney over the one-week break, arguing that his focus was on the Biden administration.