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Cheney's new campaign ad focuses on opponents' claims about the 2020 election

Democratic donors back Cheney in reelection bid
Major Democratic donors back Rep. Liz Cheney in reelection bid 06:07

In the closing weeks of her campaign, Rep. Liz Cheney, a Republican, is up with a new TV ad that contrasts her primary opponents' stances about fraud in the 2020 election with her own.

The ad, first shared with CBS News, features comments made about the 2020 election by three of her primary opponents during their June debate.

It opens up with her main opponent, Trump-backed trial attorney Harriet Hageman saying, "We have serious questions about the 2020 election." 

The ad is another sign that Cheney, who is vice chair of the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, is doubling down on her battle against the baseless claims from former President Donald Trump and GOP allies that the 2020 election was stolen. 

"We've got to elect serious leaders. We have to elect leaders who will take their oath of office seriously. Leaders who won't simply say what they think people want to hear," Cheney says in the closing of the ad.

House Select January 6 Committee Holds Its Eighth Hearing
Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), Vice Chairwoman of the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol, delivers closing remarks during a prime-time hearing in the Cannon House Office Building on July 21, 2022 in Washington, DC.  / Getty Images

During that debate on June 30, Hageman criticized Cheney and the Jan. 6 committee, and said "they're not focusing on the issues that are important to the people in Wyoming." At one point in the debate, Cheney challenged Hageman directly to say the 2020 election was not stolen. After Hageman didn't directly respond, Cheney said her challenger is "completely beholden" to Trump. 

Two other primary candidates, state Sen. Anthony Bouchard and businesswoman Robyn Belinsky, are also shown in the ad referencing the 2020 election. 

Since June, at least 11 TV ads on the Wyoming primary have been up on the air, with five of them coming from Cheney and six from Hageman's campaign or allied groups such as the Club for Growth Action, according to data from ad tracking firm AdImpact. Since June, Cheney has been the top individual spender on ads, with $1.8 million spent.

She has led the field in fundraising this cycle with $13 million raised this cycle compared to $3.8 million for Hageman.

Cheney's fifth ad is out the same week as one by the pro-Hageman Wyoming Values PAC, who placed a $500,000 ad buy in the final three weeks of the campaign that uses Cheney's vote for the bipartisan gun control bill to tie her to Democrats. Hageman also released an ad Tuesday that focuses on her work representing a farmer that was being sued by the Environmental Protection Agency. 

In response to the new Cheney ad, Hageman campaign adviser and former Trump campaign spokesperson Tim Murtaugh said, "Wyoming is fed up with Liz Cheney and no amount of television ads funded by Democrats from California will ever change that."

The three term congresswoman is facing her toughest re-election yet. A recent independent poll by the Casper Star-Tribune had Hageman leading by 22 points, a similar margin to other internal polls by Hageman and allies

GOP activists back in Wyoming have also turned on the historically conservative congresswoman, and the state's Republican central committee narrowly voted to no longer recognize her as a Republican in November 2021

Congressional Republicans have also gotten behind Hageman. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who has had a frosty relationship with Cheney since she was booted as the House Republican Chair, said Tuesday that he'd be at his own event  in Wyoming on Aug. 16, the day of the primary.

In June, Cheney's campaign sent a mailer out to all voters about how they could change their party affiliation to register as a Republican, an indirect appeal to a combined 78,210 registered Democratic and Independent voters, according to July 1 data from Wyoming's secretary of state. Republicans make up more than 71% of registered voters in Wyoming.

Wyoming law allows for voters to change their party affiliation on election day, something Trump and the state party pushed for the state's Republican-led legislature to get rid of. 

In a statement, Cheney said "damn right" that she'd inform all voters about the voting rules. "If any eligible voter living in Wyoming wishes to become a Republican, they are free to do so. That is their right," she said.

Since she voted to impeach Trump after the Jan. 6 attack, Cheney's race has been a top priority for the former president. He backed Hageman in Sept. 2021 and held a rally in Casper, the state's second-largest city, in May. 

And on Saturday in Florida, over 2,000 miles away from Wyoming, Trump made little mention of the recent Jan. 6 public hearings themselves but made sure to take a quick dig at Cheney by calling her "unhinged. 

In 2020, Cheney and Trump both got just under 70% of the vote, with Trump recording just 7,827 more votes than what Cheney got.

Cheney's involvement in the Jan. 6 select committee has resulted in very public spats between her and Trump over his actions after the 2020 election. She raised the prospects of witness tampering in one hearing after saying Trump called someone who had privately spoken to the committee, something Trump spokesperson Taylor Budowich called a lie.

The feud between Cheney and Trump has the possibility of extending into 2024. The former president hinted again at a third run during a Tuesday speech in Washington, D.C.

"They want to damage me so I cannot go back to work for you. And I don't think that's going to happen," Trump said as the crowd chanted "four more years."

When asked by CNN on Sunday, Cheney did not shut the door on a potential run in 2024 and said she'd make that call "down the road." In her closing remarks for the eighth Jan. 6 hearing, Cheney alluded to a potential future run for Trump.

"Can a president who is willing to make the choices Donald Trump made during the violence of Jan. 6 ever be trusted with any position of authority in our great nation again?" she said. 

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