Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., has been thrust into the spotlight due to her prominent position on the Jan. 6 committee investigating the Capitol attack, her vocal criticism of former President Donald Trump and the pushback she’s received from her fellow Republicans as a result.
But she may not stay in Congress for long.
In her home state of Wyoming, Cheney is fighting to keep her House seat from Republican primary challenger Harriet Hageman, a Trump-backed lawyer. Here’s what you need to know about the race:
🏛️ In short: Cheney faces a tough reelection effort against Hageman. Though she leads Hageman in fundraising, she trailed Hageman significantly in a recent poll.
👱♂️ Why this matters: Cheney has broken from the rest of the Republican Party because of her criticism of Trump and his attempt to stay in office after losing reelection. The race is a test of how strong the former president’s hold is in one of the most conservative states in the country.
🗳️ Election Day: The Republican primary in Wyoming is Aug. 16. Because the state is so conservative, the winner of this primary is seen as the likely winner of the general election.
Who is Liz Cheney?: House Republicans’ former No. 3, daughter of a VP, Trump critic
Who is Liz Cheney? Cheney is Wyoming’s only representative in the House, due to its small population. Shewas formerly the House’s third-ranking Republican and serves as vice chair of the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Who is Harriet Hageman? Hageman is the leading Republican challenger for Cheney’s congressional seat. She unsuccessfully ran for governor of Wyoming in 2018.
What separates them? The main difference is their relationship with Trump. Cheney was one of 10 Republicans to vote for Trump’s impeachment over his alleged incitement of a riot, and she lost her spot as head of the House GOP conference after refusing to endorse the former president’s false claims of election fraud. Hageman, on the other hand, has Trump’s endorsement and is vocal in her support of him.
Wyoming primary: Can Liz Cheney get re-elected after January 6 hearings?
How much are the candidates raising?: Through June 30, Cheney raised $11.3 million, and Hageman raised $3.7 million. That’s $15 million in a state with about 280,000 registered voters.
Does the money make a difference?: Many elections are won by the best-funded candidate, but the money hasn’t shown signs of helping Cheney. A poll from the Casper Star Tribune July 15 showed Cheney 22 points behind Hageman. Trump won Wyoming in 2020 with about 70% of the vote, and he remains very popular in the state.
Where are they getting their money?: In the most recent quarter, Cheney received 76% of her donations from large donors, and 73% were from out of state residents and political actions committees, or PACs, which are often formed to raise money for a candidate or group of candidates. Hageman is getting 40% of her donations from Cowboy State residents and PACs. Hageman also has more pull with small donors, who make up 43% of her donations, a signal of grassroots support.
Who are some of Cheney’s donors?: Cheney received money from her dad, former Vice President Dick Cheney, former President George W. Bush, and many others who worked in their administration. Even some Democratic donors have given her money because of the stance she has taken against Trump.
Who’s backing Hageman?: The House Freedom Fund, which supports members of the far-right Freedom Caucus, backs Hageman. She also has support from big name Republicans in Congress like House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California, Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York (who took Cheney’s place in House GOP leadership), and Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio.
Liz Cheney vs. Trump: The feud forcing Wyoming to ask hard questions
Who votes in Wyoming?: About 71% of registered voters are Republicans, and 15% are Democrats, according to numbers from the Wyoming Secretary of State. The rest are independent or registered with a smaller party.
How do Wyoming voters feel about Cheney’s bad blood with Trump?: Many Wyoming voters aren’t happy with Cheney’s prominent role in rebuffing the former president. In September 2021, one Wyoming resident described Cheney’s impeachment vote as a “betrayal” and another said she’s “not representing the will” of her constituents. Another voter called her “very effective” despite not liking all her policy positions.
Contributing: Ledyard King, Hannah Gaber, David Jackson
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Liz Cheney: What to know about Jan 6 committee member’s August primary
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