NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles!
EXCLUSIVE: An outside group chaired by Donald Trump Jr. is going up with a three-week-long ad blitz in the runup to Wyoming’s August 16 primary in support of Harriet Hageman, the Republican congressional candidate who with former President Donald Trump’s support is primary challenging GOP Rep. Liz Cheney.
“Liz Cheney left behind Wyoming and our conservative values a long time ago. It’s time for a change. Harriet Hageman is of Wyoming, from Wyoming, and for Wyoming,” said the narrator in the spot by Wyoming Values PAC, which was shared first with Fox News on Tuesday.
The ad included clips of Hageman, on the campaign trail, arguing that “we’re fed up with Joe Biden, with Nancy Pelosi. We’re fed up with inflation and we’re fed up with Liz Cheney.”
The commercial, which Wyoming Values PAC is said to be spending a half million dollars to run statewide in Wyoming starting Tuesday through Primary Day, ended with the narrator emphasizing that “Hageman will fight the Cheney/Pelosi agenda the Wyoming way.”
The spot by the super PAC is its second in support of Hageman, after running an ad featuring Donald Trump Jr. – its honorary chair – for three weeks in the runup to the former president’s late-May Wyoming rally for Hageman.
The group, in the past couple of months, alson has gone up with billboards and sent direct mail taking aim at Cheney – a vocal anti-Trump Republican – and supporting Hageman.
The PAC is steered by Republican consultants Andy Surabian and James Blair, both veterans of the former president’s 2020 reelection campaign. Surabian, also a leading political adviser for Trump Jr., argued that “we’re confident that in 3 short weeks, conservatives across Wyoming will send a strong message to the swamp and reject Cheney’s failed leadership.”
Cheney was the most senior of the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach the then-president on a charge of inciting the deadly Jan. 6, 2021 storming of the U.S. Capitol. The attack was waged by right-wing extremists and other Trump supporters who aimed to disrupt congressional certification of President Biden‘s Electoral College victory in the 2020 election.
Cheney, a conservative lawmaker and defense hawk who is the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, immediately came under verbal attack from Trump and his allies, and in May of last year, she was ousted from her number-three House GOP leadership position.
In this July 27, 2021 file photo, Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wy., listens to testimony from Washington Metropolitan Police Department Officer Daniel Hodges during the House select committee hearing on the Jan. 6 attack on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Jim Bourg/Pool via AP, File)
Cheney, who has been very vocal in emphasizing the importance of defending the nation’s democratic process and of putting country before party, is one of only two Republicans serving on a special select committee organized by House Democrats that’s investigating the riot at the U.S. Capitol. The committee’s made headlines and grabbed plenty of national attention this summer as it’s held televised hearings.
Trump, stepping up his efforts to oust Cheney from Congress, endorsed Hageman as she entered the race last summer for the GOP nomination for Wyoming’s at-large House seat. And the former president and his allies successfully urged some, but not all, of the other anti-Cheney candidates to drop out of the primary and coalesce around Hageman.
The Republican National Committee in February, in a push by Trump allies, censured Cheney over her role on the Jan. 6 committee. Defending herself, the congresswoman said at the time, “I’m a constitutional conservative and I do not recognize those in my party who have abandoned the Constitution to embrace Donald Trump.”
Cheney caught a break in March when the Wyoming legislature decided against scrapping same-day party registration in primaries, which would have prevented Democrats from crossing party lines and registering as Republicans to vote for Cheney in the state’s primary. The move by Wyoming’s legislature was seen as a defeat for Trump and his allies, who pushed to end same-day party registration.
Republican congressional candidate Harriet Hageman speaks with voters at an Albany County GOP breakfast in Laramie, Wyoming, on Jan. 8, 2022. (Harriet Hageman congressional campaign)
Trump’s repeated attacks on Cheney have also fueled her record fundraising over the past year. But, while Cheney has enjoyed a vast fundraising advantage over Hageman, the most recent polling in the primary suggested Hageman was holding a very large double-digit lead over the embattled incumbent.
Cheney, in two Sunday talk show appearances this past weekend, noted that her leadership role on the House Jan. 6 Select Committee trumps her efforts to win re-election for a fourth term representing Wyoming in the House.
“I am working hard to earn every single vote,” Cheney said in an interview on “Fox News Sunday.” But she emphasized, “Given the choice between maintaining my seat in the House of Representatives on the one hand or ensuring the survival of our constitutional republic and ensuring the American people know the truth about Donald Trump, I will choose the Constitution and the truth every day of the week and twice on Sunday.”
Paul Steinhauser is a politics reporter based in New Hampshire.