Cheney Struck Down, But More Powerful?

Wyomings U.S. Representative, Liz Cheney, may have lost her reelection bid, but that has not dampened her spirit nor changed her mission to reshape the Republican Party and relegate former President Donald Trump to his own political oblivion.

Coy Knobel

August 21, 20226 min read

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Wyoming Republican U.S. Representative Liz Cheney could have easily won reelection, but she would have had to compromise her principles to do so, she said in a post-election interview on NBC’s Today Show this week. 

Instead of Cheney, Wyoming Republican voters chose Harriet Hageman by a huge majority in Tuesday’s Wyoming primary election.  Hageman received about 113,000 votes to Cheney’s 49,300.  The number of Democrats crossing over to register and vote Republican in the primary was large, but in the end did not make a difference in the outcome of this race.  

Hageman moves on to face Democrat Lynette Grey Bull of Ft. Washakie in the general election.  Cheney is also moving on.  

Losing the congressional election has neither dampened Cheney’s spirit nor changed her mission, she said. Cheney said she is going to complete her work for the people of Wyoming, will work on getting the GOP back to where Cheney believes it needs to be and will continue the mission of the Jan. 6 Committee.    

And after being pressed several times by Today’s Savannah Guthrie about whether Cheney is going to run for president, Cheney said, “…it is something I am thinking about and I will make a decision in the coming months.” 

Cheney told Guthrie that Cheney won previous elections and “the path to that same victory would have been very easy. But that path would have required that I accept, embrace, perpetuate the big lie.”

The “big lie,” she said, is the belief that the country’s choice of Joe Biden to be president in 2020 was not done through a legitimate election process.  It is this “lie” and former president Donald Trump, who some consider it’s greatest perpetuator, that Cheney has dedicated much of her time and resources to fighting.  And this fight continues.

Cheney was one of 10 Republicans in the House who voted to impeach Trump. Cheney and three other of those representatives have been defeated in primary elections, according to CBS News. Two have moved a step closer to reelection to November’s general election.  Four of the 10 decided not to run for reelection. 

Cheney is co-chair of the House January 6 Committee which continues to investigate the Jan. 6, 2021 breach of the U.S. Capitol by protesters. 

Cheney has also transferred in the neighborhood of $7 million from her federal campaign account her leadership Political Action Committee (PAC), named “The Great Task,” according to a Wednesday article in the Wall Street Journal. 

“In coming weeks, Liz will be launching an organization to educate the American people about the ongoing threat to our Republic, and to mobilize a unified effort to oppose any Donald Trump campaign for president,” said Cheney spokesman Jeremy Adler in an email to Cowboy State Daily.  

Trump congratulated Hageman election night with a post on Truth Social.  The same post also criticized Cheney. 

“This is a wonderful result for America, and a complete rebuke of the Unselect Committee of political Hacks and Thugs. Liz Cheney should be ashamed of herself, the way she acted, and her spiteful, sanctimonious words and actions towards others,” Trump wrote. “Now she can finally disappear into the depths of political oblivion where, I am sure, she will be much happier than she is right now. Thank you WYOMING!” 

Guthrie asked Cheney about Trump’s ‘oblivion’ comment.  She also asked Cheney if she was perhaps trying to channel Obi-wan Kenobi from Star Wars by becoming more powerful after Cheney’s political death.   (Kenobi warned his nemesis Darth Vader that if Vader struck him down, Kenobi would become more powerful.)    

“I don’t see it as death this morning,” Cheney said.  “I think we have a tremendous amount of work left to do.  And certainly I am absolutely going to continue this battle.  I think it’s the most important thing I’ve ever been involved in.  … I think it’s certainly the most important challenge that our nation has faced in recent history and maybe since the Civil War and it’s one that we must win.”

Cheney conceded the race, but it was of a different tone than some past candidate consessions. “Now the real work begins” was the headline of her post election news release. 

Cheney’s PAC, “The Great Task” is a reference to Abraham Lincoln and his Gettysburg Address.    

“The great and original champion of our party, Abraham Lincoln, was defeated in elections for the Senate and the House before he won the most important election of all…,” Cheney said election night. “Lincoln and Grant and all who fought in our nation’s tragic civil war, including my own great-great-grandfathers, saved our union. Their courage saved freedom. And if we listen closely, they are speaking to us down the generations.” 

Cheney said Trump and those who deny the results of the 2020 election are a grave threat to the nation. 

She said there are candidates for governors and secretaries of states who may not certify of elections when they don’t like the results,  “And we have candidates for Congress, including here in Wyoming, who refuse to acknowledge that Joe Biden won the 2020 election and suggest that states decertify their results.”   

 “Our nation is barreling, once again towards crisis, lawlessness, and violence. No American should support election deniers for any position of genuine responsibility where their refusal to follow the rule of law will corrupt our future,” Cheney said election night. 

Cheney said today’s GOP is in bad shape and has become a cult of personality formed around Trump.  She said she is dedicated to getting the party back to embracing the values and principles on which it was founded. 

“I have said since January 6th that I will do whatever it takes to ensure Donald Trump is never again anywhere near the Oval Office, and I mean it,” Cheney said.

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Coy Knobel

Night Editor