U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney is vice chair of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol, which has held seven hearings this summer, taking time away from her reelection campaign. (YouTube/Screen grab)

Criticisms that U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney isn’t campaigning in her own state continue to plague the incumbent congresswoman as the hotly contested primary election approaches.  

Cheney’s challengers raise carpetbagger allegations, particularly Harriet Hageman and the family that tapped her to run, the Trumps. 

“I believe the most conservative state in the union has a DC beltway swamp creature — who’s probably spent less time in Wyoming than I have — as their representative,” Donald Trump, Jr. said last month in Alpine, while stumping for Hageman.

Trump’s potshot can safely be categorized as hyperbole. But Cheney has run an unconventional campaign that’s included less time in Wyoming than planned, especially with her role as vice-chair of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol, which has kept her tied up in hearings throughout the summer in the nation’s capital. 

Donald Trump, Jr. sports a Harriet Hageman ballcap at a Jackson, Wyoming gathering to support the candidate taking on U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney in the 2022 Republican primary election. (Mike Koshmrl/WyoFile)

Her spokesman previously said Cheney would campaign through Wyoming in July. Then the committee added hearings and extended its operations into that big campaigning month as new witnesses and revelations about the insurrection emerged. (An eighth hearing, potentially the last, is set for prime time evening television hours on July 21.) 

Cheney has not been holding public events in Wyoming. Her last public appearance was June 30 on the debate stage in Sheridan. Asked by WyoFile this week, her campaign staff declined to identify any upcoming public events in Wyoming.

“When Congress has not been in session, she has been in Wyoming,” Cheney spokesman Jeremy Adler said. “In the future she’ll be in Wyoming holding events with folks in the state. Whether those events are private or public, I don’t want to make any commitments.”

For her part, Cheney has said she believes getting to the bottom of the attempt to subvert the United States’ 2020 election is more important than her own political ambitions. The high-profile select committee she’s overseeing probing the Capitol Building attack is an altar she’s willing to die on, the congresswoman suggested in Sheridan. 

“I will never put party above my duty to the country, I will never put party above my duty to the Constitution,” Cheney said in her closing remarks. “I won’t say something that I know is wrong simply to earn the votes of people to earn political support … So, I’m asking for your vote and I’m asking you to understand that I will never violate my oath of office, and if you’re looking for somebody who will, then you need to vote for somebody else on this stage because I won’t.”

Adler put his boss’s priorities more succinctly.

“Her work on that committee is her focus, it’s our top priority,” he said. “No political considerations or anything like that is going to interrupt that.”

“Her work on that committee is her focus, it’s our top priority. No political considerations or anything like that is going to interrupt that.”

Cheney campaign spokesman Jeremy Adler

There’s evidence Cheney’s tack and defiance of the popular-in-Wyoming former president puts her job at risk. In some rural reaches of the state, many residents believe that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump and perceive the Jan. 6 committee as a choreographed, one-sided spectacle that Cheney’s using to shine her star on the national stage. Statewide, late-May polling funded by Hageman-aligned groups suggests Cheney has a lot of ground to make up to keep her seat.

‘Thank God she’s willing to do that’

Several Cheney supporters say they appreciate the congresswoman prioritizing her committee duties over campaigning. 

“If the choice is [campaigning or] getting to the bottom of an attempt to take over our government, what choice does she have?” said Marilyn Kite, a retired Wyoming Supreme Court justice who was named to the Cheney campaign’s leadership team. “It certainly seems, at least nationally, that the rest of the Republican Party is unwilling to do that. So thank God she’s willing to do that.” 

Kite was hesitant to criticize the Cheney campaign’s strategy, but admitted she wishes Cheney had more presence in Wyoming. 

“But I don’t know if that’s possible,” she said.

Another member of the Cheney leadership team, Teton County resident Mary Kay Turner, said she also wants to see her congresswoman on the campaign trail in the month leading up to Aug. 16.

“I hope Liz is able to get out here and meet as many people as she possibly can,” Turner said. “That might mean doing some door-to-door work even in certain communities, but also meeting with the Republican parties in these communities, whether friend or foe. She needs to get out here. She is Wyoming.” 

Liz Cheney and her daughter, Kate Perry, take a horseback stroll in Jackson Hole in the late 1990s. (Triangle X Ranch/Courtesy)

Turner, whose family runs the historic Triangle X Ranch, accompanied a young Cheney on horseback rides when she was a grade schooler. More recently, Turner led Cheney and her children on Teton Wilderness pack trips. The Moose, Wyoming denizen pushed back on allegations that Cheney is a carpetbagger. 

“People are critical that she spent time in Washington, but what was that family going to do?” Turner said. “What was that family going to do when their father [Dick Cheney] was in Congress, and Secretary of Defense and then Vice President?”

Although Cheney has not been parading publicly around Wyoming, she has held some unpublicized private events. There was one in Sheridan and another in the Casper area, Adler said, both in conjunction with the debate. 

U.S. Rep Liz Cheney has infrequently attended public events in Wyoming this election season. In late June she traveled Californiato deliver a speech about the future of the Republican Party at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. (YouTube/Screen grab)

Outside of the committee hearings and debate, Cheney has appeared publicly in recent weeks, just not in Wyoming. On June 29, she spoke of the future of the Republican Party at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California. 

“Republicans cannot both be loyal to Donald Trump and loyal to the Constitution,” Cheney said. “As the full picture is coming into view with the January 6 Committee, it has become clear that the efforts Donald Trump oversaw and engaged in were even more chilling and more threatening than we could have imagined.”

Private, not public 

In its public outreach, the Cheney campaign has drawn on its significant fundraising advantage, which more than doubled Hageman’s haul as of the Federal Elections Commission’s latest quarterly filing deadline. The campaign has put out information guiding voters on how to change parties and vote in the Republican primary, sent out wordy mailers and run TV ads featuring individuals like longtime Wyoming GOP stalwart Al Simpson pledging his support for Cheney. 

“From what I’m seeing, she relies a lot on her supporters to take part in advertising [the campaign],” former Wyoming House representative Mike Madden said. “As far as going around town-to-town, that’s not an efficient use of time anymore anyway.” 

Still, Madden, who’s also a member of Cheney’s leadership team, said that it’s “important” for political candidates to attend big county-level events in Wyoming. 

“I don’t know if Liz is going to attend our fair parade or not, but I wouldn’t be surprised if she does,” Madden said. “There’s a lot of signs up for her in Johnson County.”

Meantime, Turner in Jackson Hole is looking forward to a private event in support of Cheney. It was already bumped once, she said. Turner learned of the eighth Jan. 6 committee hearing, which had been scheduled one day away from the planned Jackson Hole event, while on the phone with WyoFile. The news dampened her hopes.

“It’s likely canceled again,” Turner said. “Oh my gosh, she can’t afford to cancel one more event.” 

Cheney’s conundrum — whether to campaign in her state or attend to congressional duties — is nothing new, University of Wyoming political science professor Jim King said. There are plenty of states that hold August primaries, and the U.S. Congress is typically in session until just a few weeks before.

“If a person is a member of Congress, there is that problem of doing your job while campaigning to keep your job,” King said. “This is one of those classic catch-22s for an elected member of Congress: How much time you spend at home, how much time you spend in Washington?”

Regardless of where their time is spent, he said, the incumbent candidate is bound to take flak. In this case, Cheney has to make those choices amid a closely contested race. 

“This is an odd campaign because it’s the only time that an incumbent has been so forcefully challenged in a primary in Wyoming,” King said. 

“There’s almost always a challenger … and the incumbent wins handily,” he said. “Obviously this is a very different circumstance, and we don’t have anything to judge it by.”

Mike Koshmrl

Mike Koshmrl reports from Jackson on state politics and Wyoming's natural resources. Prior to joining WyoFile, he spent nearly a decade covering the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem’s wild places and creatures...

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  1. Representative Cheney has shunned her Wyoming constituents by miscalculating her gamble to remain in the DC swamp to attack a former president and to condemn the concerned citizens who marched to the Capitol on January 6. This error will cost her any future in the Republican Party but will fit fondly into the Democratic Party.
    “The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those that speak it.”
    George Orwell
    Please acknowledge truth and allow emotion to melt.

  2. My goodness, how the tyranny of ignorance reigns supreme these days. If videos (many taken by the insurrectionists who breached the Capitol) of what happened on Jan 6 are categorized as freedom of speech, I’ve got some beach property in Arizona for sale you might be interested in. The Republican political machine has become a wrecking ball of lies, manipulative propaganda, and dangerous ideologies that are based on nothing more than the mouthpieces being paid very well to say what it is they say. When the Trumpers point a finger at the Dems as being the instigators of everything that’s gone wrong in the country, past and present remember there are three fingers pointing back at ya’all. And when Hageman has the audacity to say to “act appropriately” because you’re in Wyoming, I say we’ve got another saying that goes, “you lost fair and square, now get on your horse and ride on outta here.”

  3. I admire the heck out of this woman and think anybody who votes against her for doing what she believes to be her patriotic duty will be judged very, very harshly by history.

  4. I didn’t even read the article. Her father Dick made me sick to my stomach! Since Jan.6, I have watched her closely. She is absolutely a champion of our democracy! Apparently folks in Wyoming can’t comprehend that. D. Trump is a coward among other things! Wyoming should be very proud of her and support her and not some nothead that rides the coattails of that pathetic family.

  5. It is truly amazing how quickly some folks forget the past. To say that Hageman represents anything but the worst of the Beltway mentality is ludicrous. She has jumped from one ship to another repeatedly. While she was supporting Ted Cruz it was “Never TRump”. Once the TRump organization dangled money in front of her he became the best thing since sliced bread. If she is sent to DC she will do what she has always done, represent whoever has the biggest bag of money (and you can bet that won’t be the people of Wyoming). People seem to forget that Representative Cheney voted with Trump 97% of the time and has one of the most conservative voting records in the House. I also don’t understand why one would be upset that a member Congress would stay in DC and do their job instead of stumping all over the state, isn’t that what we elect them to do? I certainly would have a tough time voting for Representative Cheney in the general election, but it will be a sad day for Wyoming and the Nation if her name isn’t on that ballot.

  6. Anytime one person allows hatred for another to rule their every thought, they have nothing else to offer. Cheney has less concern about problems the US and Wyoming face than destroying Donald Trump for whatever reason she hates him so much. Our country is in a mess right now and her big concern is get even with Donald Trump.

  7. Liz Cheney is doing the best thing for the republican party by leading and focusing on election fraud and fraudulent claims of election fraud. Too bad the two partys in general can’t focus on what is correct governance above hearsay and slander for power. I am a republican and embarrased by how many republicans buy into Trump’s malarky.
    Unfortunatly Bruce is correct. But one should consider how blind our governance will continue to become when people don’t represent or follow prudence. I will vote for Cheney based on her ethics alone.

  8. If Liz Cheney is no longer Wyoming’s Congresswoman, guess what Biden may do. How about appointing her Secretary of Energy or maybe Secretary of Homeland Security or perhaps Secretary of State. Or she could use her ample campaign funds to run against Trump.

  9. If Liz Cheney is no longer Wyoming’s Congresswoman, guess what Biden may do. How about appointing her Secretary of Energy or maybe Secretary of Homeland Security or perhaps Secretary of State.
    Or Cheney may use her star power and ability to raise money to run for President.

  10. Regardless of the personalities, we have to think of what’s best for the state. Liz Cheney is toxic to the Republican Caucus. If re-elected what committees will they allow her to be on? What influence will she have for the state in Congress? Harriet Hageman will start with a clean slate as a freshman. Who will get a seat on committees that matter to Wyoming? I’m not trying to be anti-anyone. I think it should be a consideration when voting for either.

    1. Saving our democratic republic should be of key importance to all Americans…it’s priority is head and shoulders above most issues particularly traipsing around Wyoming trying to change the minds of Trumpsters.

  11. Fairly stunned at the support that woman still has. The committee she is on and co-chairs is a one-sided, soviet-style farce. I would support what she’s doing if that committee were actually trying to get to the bottom of what happened rather than relying on just the testimony and “evidence” that supports their pre-determined, politically one-sided outcome. It destroys the credibility of all involved – especially Liz who has willfully crawled “into bed” with Nancy and Schiff – two people with whom any self-respecting conservative would never associate.

    1. On sided Soviet style farce? LOL You don’t seem to understand that Cheney represents everyone in the state, not just those who voted for her. You also don’t seem to understand that aside from refusing to bow to your lord and savior Trump, Cheney has been one of the most conservative members of Congress. The only credibility in question here is of those who continue to support Trump when it is being clearly demonstrated every day that he is a criminal, and a traitor.

    2. Are there any self respecting conservatives, though?
      There certainly seems to be a shortage of ones who don’t respect democracy.

    3. Possibly watching something besides right wing media would help transition you to the truth that so many of the witnesses are Republicans including the former president’s daughter. Ms Cheney has a backbone and respects the truth. These are attributes that were once respected here in the pre Trump world

    4. And presumably you have experience with “Soviet-style” farces? I would point out that the vast majority of the Jan. 6 witnesses are Republicans, and the revelations have been devastating. Republican Congress critters had their chance to have seats on the committee, and decided not to play, when Nancy Pelosi wisely refused to allow “Gym” Jordan and others to attempt to turn the investigation into a “Republican-style circus”–think Benghazi, the Clinton emails, Hunter Biden, and on and on!

    5. Why did the eight other Republicans who were asked to serve on the committee decline to serve. Trump told them to — leaving no one to defend him. Does that make Trump and the absent eight idiots? I’ll leave that answer to you the reader.

    6. Ironic since your loyalty to a man who is so beholden to a KGB man that he pledged to remove the USA from NATO, in his imagined second term, which would have ended the western alliance after 75 years and handed Europe to Russia on a platter.

    7. In bed with Nancy and Schiff?! There is virtually no policy issue that Cheney agrees with them on (I wish she did!) except that criminals should be prosecuted. It’s a sad statement that so many here don’t understand that the Rule of Law is what allows us to enjoy a civil society. If the organizers and promoters of the Jan 6 escapade in “legitimate political discourse” aren’t prosecuted we will have guaranteed that there will be much worse to look forward to in this country. And we can all bid democracy farewell.

  12. WY elected her to do a job…represent the state in the context of an oath of office. We should be proud that in the independent tradition of WY, think Alan Simpson and now Liz Cheney…we demand our Washington faces are truthful and brave. For those who want to complain about her now that she meets and exceeds our expectations I say stop and be proud.

  13. What she is doing is far more important than campaigning to hold her seat. Anybody who’s keeping abreast of the Jan 6 hearings knows that. And she knows that her real supporters know that. She’s put Wyoming on the map in a very big way And she may be planning to run for President.

    1. If she and Kangaroo court was worth their wages they would look into and resolve the issues that lead up to 1-6. Congresses job is not to “investigate”. Congresses job is to look after ALL of USA citizens not just one party’s best interest. These committees go no where 100% of the time. USA is now holding political detainees or prisoners. Simply because they used freedom of speech. This all could of been prevented. Democrat congress spewed hate and discontent from 2016 to today actually. One of the worst was Hillary Clinton.

  14. She is doing important work where she is. She has my vote. If our representatives aren’t willing to do the jobs of following and protecting our constitution, why are they there in the first place. Carry on Liz!

  15. She is one example of what’s wrong with Congress. Ignoring what lead up to 1-6. She never spoke up about the US oil reserves getting sold to other countries at huge discount. Costing us taxpayers millions and will have to be replaced at higher cost. Again to screwing taxpayers. She could of spoke up

    1. Gullible people believing lies is what led to the January 6th insurrection.

      Over two years later and those same gullible people still believe nonsense without a shred of verifiable evidence.

      Water marked ballots was a lie.
      Arizona audit showing “fraud” was a lie.
      Millions of dead people voting was a lie.
      China changing vote tallies was a lie.
      Hugo Chavez and dominion voting machines was a lie.
      Sydney Powell and drunken Giuliani were an embarrassment and everything they claimed turned out to be a lie.

      At what point do the chrump lemmings quit believing nonsense?

  16. There are a lot of problems in DC right now much worse than anything President Trump did or didn’t do but Lizzie is unable to concentrate on anything else. Part of our severe problems in America today is the concentration on destroying political outsider Trump and ignoring the disaster in the White House. Our country is in very serious trouble right now, the Dims won’t face it and the Republicans ignore it to destroy President Trump who is too old to run again anyway. Sad times in America as Slo Joe shuts off our drilling (energy independence) and schmoozes our enemies…..and gives them our money.

    1. So what? We Dems have the right to choose among Republican contenders a person of principle, truthfulness, and loyalty to the U.S. Constitution. Her opponents are guided by fear alone: fear of Trump, fear of acknowledging that Biden won the election, fear of seriously discussing the precarious state of our democracy or any serious issues facing our state and nation.

    2. Please try not to forget that the Democrats in Wyoming deserve representation as well. We are motivated to change party affiliation because so many of the state Republicans are so dangerously radical now and worship at the alter of Trump not the United States of America. The total new R platform is to divide on social issues. Yes, we would like to have a voice against this. Reality is sometimes tough but req

      1. Just wonder if your tune will change if the state ever goes blue. Will you still back crossing over in primary elections? Bet you would be up in arms against it. Crossing over in primary elections needs to be banned. PERIOD!

      2. For those democrats that are changing party affliation to vote for Cheney, I ask if she should win the Republican nomination will you vote for her or the democrat candidate in the November election?

    3. The corporate media not only “reported” on it, they championed it while campaigning for Cheney. As you can plainly see, Dems think they have the “right” to nullify conservative votes with their unethical “crossover” votes. Thankfully there won’t be enough of them despite their dominance here.

  17. “I say this to my Republican colleagues who are defending the indefensible: There will come a day when trump is gone, but your dishonor will remain.”
    Congresswoman Liz Cheney, Co-Chair 6J House Committee Chairwoman
    …Brave lady, demands lots of respect and to be re-elected!
    Steven L. Hanft, M.A. & Family