OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
A GOP candidate endorsed by former President Donald Trump is crushing incumbent Rep. Liz Cheney in Wyoming, according to a recently-conducted straw poll.
The bad news for Cheney comes as the 2022 midterm primary season comes into view.
Harriet Hageman, a Wyoming attorney Trump threw his support behind in September, easily won the straw poll which was conducted by the Wyoming Republican State Central Committee, garnering 59 votes, according to the Casper Star-Tribune on Saturday.
Cheney finished an extremely distant second with just a half-dozen votes.
The daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney has been a thorn in Trump’s side for more than a year, having criticized him while in office and then blaming him for inciting the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol Building. She further inflamed tensions with Trump when she voted with 10 other House Republicans to impeach him and then agree to co-chair the committee assembled by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to investigate the origins of the riot.
She joined the panel along with Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois who won office as a Tea Party-backed candidate but who also criticized Trump and voted to impeach after the riot. His district has been realigned and rather than face a tough reelection campaign, Kinzinger has decided to call it quits this year.
“The President of the United States summoned this mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack,” Cheney said after the riot.
In November, the state central committee voted by a very narrow 31-29 margin to no longer recognize Cheney as a party member due to her vote to impeach Trump.
As for the straw poll outcome, Hageman’s totals were cheered after they were first announced at Saturday’s meeting of the state central committee, the Star-Tribune noted.
“I think it’s a good sign. It’s not an endorsement, but these are the county activists,” Hageman said in an interview with the newspaper.
However, noted Natrona County Committeeman Joe McGinley: “This smells like an endorsement to me. Whether that is the true intention of the state … or not, that’s what it appears to be.”
But Cheney’s people pushed back.
“The only elections that matter are in August and November,” Cheney campaign spokesman Jeremy Adler told the newspaper following the poll.
For her part, Hageman isn’t ready to claim victory yet, either.
“There will be lots of polls over the next eight months, and they will all show different things,” she said.
In backing Hageman last fall, Trump said she “is running against warmonger and disloyal Republican” 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 continued.
“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 [President Joe] Biden has already given up),” he added.
“Unlike RINO Liz Cheney, Harriet is all in for America First. Harriet has my Complete and Total Endorsement in replacing the Democrats’ number one provider of sound bites, Liz Cheney. Make America Great Again!” the former president noted.
Cheney isn’t ready to concede anything, however.
Over the weekend, she blasted former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) after he suggested during a Fox News interview over the weekend that the GOP would regain control of the House and use their newfound power an avenge what many in the party see as a highly partisan ‘witch hunt’ by the Jan. 6 committee.
Specifically, Gingrich suggested that some members of the committee would be issued subpoenas themselves and could wind up in jail.
“A former Speaker of the House is threatening jail time for members of Congress who are investigating the violent January 6 attack on our Capitol and our Constitution,” Cheney tweeted Sunday. “This is what it looks like when the rule of law unravels.”
A former Speaker of the House is threatening jail time for members of Congress who are investigating the violent January 6 attack on our Capitol and our Constitution.
This is what it looks like when the rule of law unravels. https://t.co/vpQZjTg9em
— Liz Cheney (@Liz_Cheney) January 23, 2022