Doomed Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) has disappeared from her own campaign trail as a crushing primary defeat looms in the most significant election of her political career.
In three weeks, Cheney will go head-to-head with President Donald Trump-endorsed primary challenger Harriet Hageman.
As Slay News has been reporting, Hageman has taken a sizeable lead over Cheney in the polls.
However, as thousands of voters gathered for a massive midsummer rodeo and cowboy festival in Wyoming’s largest city, Liz Cheney was nowhere to be seen.
Instead, the three-term Republican congresswoman was 1,600 miles away in Washington D.C.
Rather than connecting with her constituents, Cheney was presiding over the Democrats’ anti-Trump Jan. 6 House Select Committee.
As the cowboy fest roared back home, Cheney was busy rallying against Trump.
“Donald Trump made a purposeful choice to violate his oath of office,” she alleged during Thursday’s hearing.
Dean Finnerty, a rancher from Wheatland competing in the steer wrestling competition, was not moved.
“I tell you what: I voted for Cheney when she ran last time and I won’t vote for her ever again,” Finnerty said.
“I don’t know if she’s representing the conservative Americans that voted her in.”
Cheney’s unrelenting criticism of Trump from a Capitol Hill committee room represents the centerpiece of an unconventional campaign strategy that may well lead to her political demise, at least in the short term.
Many Cheney allies are resigned to a loss in Wyoming’s Aug. 16 Republican primary against Trump-backed Hageman.
But as the primary approaches, there is also a pervasive belief among Cheney’s team that her unorthodox strategy in 2022 may put her in a stronger position for the 2024 presidential contest.
Cheney’s fierce anti-Trump message as vice chairwoman of the Jan. 6 committee has strengthened her national brand while expanding a national network of donors and Trump critics in both parties who could boost a prospective White House run.
Cheney has yet to finalize any decisions about 2024, but she has not ruled out a presidential run as a Republican or an independent.
“The single most important thing is protecting the nation from Donald Trump,” Cheney said in an interview with ABC News that aired Friday.
She said she would make a decision about a potential White House bid “down the road.”
And while her allies may be optimistic about her long-term future, Cheney would certainly like to avoid a blowout loss next month in her home state.
It won’t be easy.
She has essentially been excommunicated by the Wyoming Republican Party, which voted last year to censure Cheney before deciding to stop recognizing her as a Republican altogether.
Local GOP offices offer yard signs for Hageman and many other Republicans on the ballot but not Cheney.
Left with few options, she has turned to Democrats for help.
Her campaign website now features a link to a form allowing Democrat voters to change their party affiliation to Republican to participate in the GOP primary.
Meanwhile, Trump has made Cheney’s defeat a chief priority.
He called her a “despicable human being” on his social media site this month.
And in May, Trump traveled to Wyoming’s second-largest city, Casper, to rally support for Hageman.
As Cheney focuses her energy on the Jan. 6 commission, Hageman has barnstormed the state courting small, rural crowds in the traditional mold of Wyoming politicking.
The approach is more like the one Cheney herself used to top a crowded Republican primary field to win Wyoming’s lone House seat in 2016.
The latest polls show Hageman has at least a 20-point lead over Cheney.