Former President Donald Trump officially endorsed Wyoming attorney Harriet Hageman in a crowded Republican primary against Rep. Liz Cheney.
“Harriet is a fourth-generation daughter of Wyoming, a very successful attorney, and has the support and respect of a truly great U.S. Senator, Wyoming’s own Cynthia Lummis,” Trump wrote in a Thursday statement. “Harriet Hageman adores the Great State of Wyoming, is strong on Crime and Borders, powerfully supports the Second Amendment, loves our Military and our Vets, and will fight for Election Integrity and Energy Independence (which Biden has already given up). Unlike RINO Liz Cheney, Harriet is all in for America First.”
The coveted endorsement aims to narrow a crowded field of candidates to a two-way race to deny Cheney a fourth term captured by a plurality. The former president had been meeting with both announced and unannounced contenders from his Florida residence in recent months as he prepared to back a challenger. According to Politico, Trump met with State Rep. Chuck Gray, state Sen. Bo Biteman, attorney Darin Smith, and Catharine O’Neill, who worked in the president’s administration. Of those he met with, however, Hageman “impressed him the most,” Politico reported, citing people close to the process. Biteman and O’Neill still have not entered the race.
Hageman had previously made an unsuccessful run for governor in 2018, and until recently was a Cheney ally who had donated to the congresswoman’s past campaigns.
Cheney’s recent poll numbers signal trouble for the incumbent representative in a state Trump carried by a far wider margin in 2016 than the at-large representative did in her first election to the lower chamber. Trump carried the state by more than a 45-point margin. Cheney won by 32 percentage points.
Results of a new survey out in late July by McLaughlin & Associates reported exclusively by the Washington Examiner showed 77 percent of GOP primary voters said they would back a candidate other than Cheney in the upcoming contests, while only 23 percent said they’d send their congresswoman back to Washington another two years.
Competing in a field with multiple candidates, Cheney won the Republican primary in 2016 with less than 40 percent of the vote. Unless the party coalesces around a single candidate, that candidate now likely Hageman, Cheney stands a good chance at another term despite near-constant antagonism toward Republican voters.
In May, the House Republicans stripped Cheney of her No. 3 role in leadership as conference chair.