McCarthy Endorses Cheney's Opponent

Along with Trump, GOP House leader backs Harriet Hageman
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 17, 2022 7:30 PM CST
McCarthy Endorses Cheney's Opponent
Rep. Liz Cheney speaks at an event in New Hampshire in November. Her House leader endorsed her primary opponent on Thursday.   (AP Photo/Mary Schwalm, File)

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy on Thursday joined former President Donald Trump in endorsing Rep. Liz Cheney's opponent in upcoming Wyoming GOP primary. McCarthy is the biggest House name so far to back Harriet Hageman, the Hill reports. Party leaders have censured Cheney, and Trump has attacked her, for joining a House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the US Capitol. "The most successful Representatives in Congress focus on the needs of their constituents," McCarthy said in a statement, a reference to Republican criticism that Cheney has been more concerned with opposing Trump than with Wyoming's needs.

It's unusual for party leaders to work against the reelection of one of their own, but McCarthy has been under pressure from Trump supporters in the House, per Politico. Some want him to kick Cheney out of the conference entirely. McCarthy's statement called his endorsement "bold and historic." Hageman welcomed McCarthy's support, saying that when she's elected, she'll "do the job I was sent there to do." A spokesman for Cheney was dismissive of the help the endorsement will be for Hageman. "Wow, she must be really desperate," Jeremy Adler said.

"Kevin did the right thing," said Rep. Ralph Norman, a member of the House Freedom Caucus, adding that "Cheney has long left the Republican Party and aligned herself with the socialist Democratic Party." On the other side of the Capitol, Sen. Rand Paul has endorsed Hageman. Cheney looks likely to have a big spending advantage in the campaign. She had $4.7 million in the bank at the end of 2021, while Hageman had $381,000. (Read more Kevin McCarthy stories.)

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