As Americans continue to grapple with the implications of the recent FBI raid on Donald Trump’s Florida estate, Tuesday’s Republican primary election in Wyoming could provide an important measure of the former president’s support within the base of the GOP.
Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, former President Trump’s most high-profile Republican antagonist, is facing off against lawyer Harriet Hageman, and the polls point to a convincing loss for the incumbent.
A recent poll by the University of Wyoming showed Trump-endorsed Hageman with a commanding 57%-28% lead over Cheney, who has held the state’s only seat in the House of Representatives since 2017. That’s even better than the 22 point margin in an earlier poll commissioned by the the Casper Star-Tribune in July.
The winner of the primary will almost certainly win November’s general election in a state that hasn’t been represented by a Democrat in Congress since 1977.
Cheney was one of ten House Republicans to support impeaching Trump in January of 2021 for his role in the Capitol riot, and this vote, along with her staunch defense of the 2020 election results, drew the ire of the former president and his supporters, leading to her ouster as House Republican Conference chairwoman last spring.
That anger has only grown with Cheney’s starring role in the hearings investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, as she has used her role as vice chairwoman of the panel to attack the former president in forceful terms.
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There has been widespread speculation over what Cheney will do next if she goes down in defeat Tuesday. As the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, the Wyoming representative has long enjoyed a higher profile than many of her colleagues and as recently as May 2021 served as the third-ranking Republican in the House.
Dmitri Mehlhorn, political adviser to LinkedIn founder and influential Democratic donor Reid Hoffman, told the Washington Post Monday that anti-Trump donors of both parties would consider funding a Cheney presidential bid if she were to decide to run.
The Post story went on to say that friends and advisers to Cheney say she is realistic about her chances of securing a Republican nomination for president in a party that remains loyal to Trump, but could consider the run because she believes “there must be a 2024 candidate who will run as an unabashed opponent of both the ex-president and other contenders who spew his mistruths about the 2020 election.”
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In public, Cheney has declined to rule out a run for president, telling ABC News last month that she’ll make a decision on 2024 “down the road,” as she remains focused on her reelection.
“I think about it less in terms of a decision about running for office and more in terms of, you know, as an American and as somebody who’s in a position of public trust now, how do I make sure that I’m doing everything I can to do the right thing? To do what I know is right for the country and to protect our Constitution,” she said.
Other options for Cheney, according to the Post, include launching an anti-Trump political organization or landing a position at a conservative think tank that would give her a platform to argue for traditional conservative policies.