House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has reportedly endorsed Rep. Liz Cheney’s (R-WY) Republican primary challenger, Harriet Hageman.
“After spending time with Harriet, it is readily apparent she will always listen and prioritize the needs of her local communities and is focused on tackling our nation’s biggest problems,” McCarthy told the Federalist. “I look forward to serving with Harriet for years to come.”
McCarthy’s endorsement of Cheney’s opponent is historic. Party leaders usually never endorse against sitting members of Congress. But after Cheney deserted the Republican party by allying herself with House Speaker Pelosi’s January 6 committee and reportedly “orchestrated unprecedented” Republican sabotage, McCarthy presumably believed Cheney must be ousted from her seat.
Cheney was removed as GOP conference chair in May after the Republican caucus held a no-confidence vote upon reaching a boiling point with Dick Cheney’s daughter. In November, the Wyoming GOP voted to no longer recognize Cheney as a Republican. The Republican National Committee in February symbolically censured Cheney for allying with Democrats and are weighing whether to defund her campaign.
McCarthy’s reason for endorsing Hageman mirrors the overall criticism of Cheney by Republicans. “Liz Cheney has lost Wyoming. Liz Cheney doesn’t live in Wyoming. She doesn’t represent us,” Hageman told Breitbart News. “She doesn’t represent our values.”
A straw poll in January among GOP activists revealed Trump-endorsed Hageman holds a commanding lead over Cheney. The poll, conducted by the Wyoming Republican State Central Committee via secret ballot, showed Hageman won 59 votes and Cheney six, a 53-point victory by Hageman.
Cheney reportedly has a powerful five million dollar war chest with which to contend with Hageman. But Hageman has strong support among Wyoming voters. Hageman is also backed by Donald Trump and Republican megadonor Peter Thiel, who reportedly dubbed Cheney the “ringleader” of the “treasonous ten.”