Trump-endorsed challenger seeks to paint Liz Cheney as swamp creature, Wyoming carpetbagger

Lawyer Harriet Hageman using Cheney decision to drop from Natural Resources Committee as point of attack.
Harriet Hageman

The Republican challenger hoping to forcibly retire Rep. Liz Cheney from Congress has a pointed message for Wyoming voters: Their current congresswoman is more concerned about Virginia's military bases than her home state's energy and natural resources.

In an interview with Just the News this month, Hageman relentlessly criticized Cheney for dropping this year from the House Natural Resources Committee, where she had served since 2017, to focus exclusively on her House Armed Services Committee assignment and the Jan. 6 commission investigation.

The messaging is unmistakable: Cheney is essentially a Wyoming carpetbagger more aligned with the interests of Virginia, where she lives in the Washington suburbs when Congress is in session.

"The fact is that Liz Cheney broke from Wyoming, well, over a year ago," Hageman said in an interview last week with the John Solomon Reports podcast. "We believe very strongly in Wyoming in the America first agenda, the Wyoming first agenda, energy independence, and being able to ... manage and use our natural resources.

"We do not have a representative on the Natural Resource Committee, because Liz Cheney chose to go on the Armed Services Committee. And while that may benefit Virginia, it doesn't do a doggone thing for the state of Wyoming."

Hageman, a lawyer whose work has supported the mining, ranching and energy interests in her state, cited as a consequence a recent bill that passed the House Natural Resources Committee that imposes new regulations and fees.

"What this bill is designed to do is just to destroy our mining industry in Wyoming," she said. "Wyoming had no representative on that committee, because Liz Cheney chose not to serve on the all-important natural resource committee, because she wanted to be on a committee that would benefit Virginia where she lives."

Both women running for the GOP nomination hail from Wyoming royalty. Cheney's father held the same seat she does during the 1980s, before becoming defense secretary and vice president during the Bush dynasty.

Hageman's father was a longtime state representative with deep ties to the natural resources industries (energy, mining and ranchers) that make Wyoming click.

But Liz Cheney quickly fell out of favor, first by voting for President Trump's second impeachment (he was acquitted), then agreeing to join the Jan. 6 committee after other Republicans were refused a seat on the panel investigating the Capitol riots.

She was stripped of her job as the chairwoman of the House Republican Conference and recently was voted out of the Wyoming GOP. A poll this summer showed only 23% of Wyoming voters supported her reelection.

Hageman is betting her swamp creature strategy will work among the 600,000 state residents, who vote Republican by a four-to-one ratio and voted 70% for Trump in November 2020.

There are several other challengers vying for the GOP nomination for the states's one congressional district, but Hageman has clearly emerged as the top challenger after Trump endorsed her.

Hageman continues to do high-profile legal work too, some of which is aligned with the conservative voters she is wooing. She is cocounsel on a lawsuit in which federal workers who survived COVID-19 and have natural immunity are suing to block being forced to get a vaccination.

"This is all about liberty and freedom," Hageman told Just the News. "And it's about government overreach. And it's about the federal government simply has no police power to impose these kinds of mandates on our citizens, whether they are federal employees or not."

But Hageman's primary attack line is using Cheney's departure from the Natural Resources Committee as a cudgel to portray the congresswoman as out of touch with Wyoming's needs.

It is clearly having some early impact. Before she voted against the Biden infrastructure bill this month, Cheney gave a local interview saying she was concerned about the legislation's impact on Wyoming's natural resources.

"There's some things in the infrastructure bill that are good, that could have broad bipartisan support," Cheney said in the interview. "But unfortunately, there's an awful lot in there that would impose new regulations on Wyoming businesses. It would hurt our energy industry, our Ag Industry, so I don't support the infrastructure bill or the reconciliation bill."

Hageman plans to keep up the assault, as Cheney's popularity hovers below that of even President Joe Biden and Kamala Harris in recent polling.        

"Liz Cheney doesn't represent Wyoming," Hageman said. "She doesn't represent Wyoming in the sense of what she has done with President Trump, her obsession with him. She is not representing our interest.

"And she's providing an awful lot of cover for Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden and their horrific radical left agenda. And when she's taken her eye off the ball, we're all suffering for it."