Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., has angered some party members by participating in the House Committee on Jan. 6. She’s facing a primary challenge, and her boss — House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif. — has endorsed her opponent.
However, Cheney still has at least some colleagues on her side. She’s reportedly collected donations from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
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On Thursday, McConnell told Axios reporters that he’d donated to Cheney’s re-election campaign.
However, he dismissed questions about participating in other campaign events. Instead, he described himself as “focused on the Senate.”
.@LeaderMcConnell says he’s contributed to @Liz_Cheney’s re-election campaign but asked if he’d hold/ participate in fundraising & other campaign events, he tells @jonathanvswan he’s “focused on the Senate”
— Alayna Treene (@alaynatreene) April 7, 2022
McConnell has previously taken issue with other Republicans’ criticisms of Cheney. In February, the Republican National Committee resolved to censure Cheney, and McConnell pushed back.
“With regard to the suggestion that the R.N.C. should be in the business of picking and choosing Republicans who ought to be supported, traditionally the view of the national party committees is that we support all members of our party, regardless of their positions on some issues,” he told reporters at the time.
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It may seem odd for party leaders to pick a side in primary fights. Speaking to CNN last month, McCarthy himself described Cheney as “a very special case” warranting his input.
However, party leaders have pulled this stunt before. In 2020, House Democrat Leader Nancy Pelosi of California endorsed Rep. Joe Kennedy III, D-Mass., in his Senate run against incumbent Democrat Ed Markey.
Wyoming’s Republican primary will take place on Aug. 16. Despite Cheney’s name recognition, the race has attracted only scant polling.
Cheney might lose… but she might also pursue bigger plans.
In last year’s interview with The Guardian, Cheney refused to rule out a run for president. Cheney would likely be counting on all her loyalists, including McConnell.
The Horn editorial team