Kevin McCarthy goes up against challenger Liz Cheney, escalating a Feud party

WASHINGTON – Representative Kevin McCarthy, the Republican leader in the House, on Thursday endorsed Representative Liz Cheney’s GOP rival for Wyoming’s sole congressional seat, taking the unusual step of intervening in a federal election. The party’s primary meeting to oust a one-time ally has become a top political goal of former President Donald J. Trump.

Mr. McCarthy said he was supporting Harriet Hageman, a pro-Trump candidate who repeated the former president’s false claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen, in a run that has been contested. became the dominant test for the Republican Party.

“I look forward to welcoming Harriet to the Republican majority in the next Congress, where together we will hold the Biden administration accountable and deliver much-needed solutions to the people,” McCarthy said. America,” McCarthy said in a statement. “The most successful representatives in Congress focus on the needs of their constituents.”

It is an unusual move for a leader who is aiming to become the speaker of the House of Representatives if his party wins control of Congress in the November midterm parliamentary elections and tried to draw a line between his far-right right wing and more mainstream conservatives.

Congressional leaders rarely engage in primaries against sitting members, but Mr McCarthy’s move is the latest escalation in Republican efforts to oust Ms. Cheney for her misdeeds. speak out against Mr. Trump and participate in the House investigation on January 6. Attacking the Capitol. After initially defending her, Mr. McCarthy last year pushed to take away Miss Cheney’s 3rd place on the Republican leadership of the House of Representatives.

In a statement, Jeremy Adler, Ms Cheney’s spokesman, offered the equivalent of a prelude, suggesting that Mr McCarthy’s statement in support of Ms Hageman reflected her weakness.

Mr Adler said: “Well, she must have been really desperate.

McCarthy’s endorsement came about two weeks after the Republican National Committee voted to censor Ms. Cheney and Representative Adam Kinzinger, Republican of Illinois, for participating in the investigation into the deadly Capitol riot. The resolution said the pair had engaged in “the crackdown on ordinary citizens engaging in legitimate political discourse”, the party’s clearest statement to date that it considers riots and attempts to The force to overturn the 2020 presidential election has propelled the party to a defense that is defensible.

Mr. McCarthy last week defended the RNC, saying the committee has the power to pass its resolution.

In contrast, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, leader of the Republican Party, criticized the party for doing so, stating that “traditionally, the position of national parties has been that we support all of the political parties.” members of our party, regardless of their stance on certain issues. ”

Local news agencies underestimate the importance that another possible national endorsement of the Wyoming House racetracks.

Ms. Hageman was endorsed by Mr. Trump and Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky. But Ms. Cheney, who has represented her state since 2017, remains strong-willed in her challenge despite all being exiled by her party.

Ms. Cheney brought in $2 million last quarter, entering 2022 with nearly $5 million in cash. Ms. Hageman raised $443,000 last quarter and have about $380,000 cash on handdespite the vocal support of Mr. Trump and family members.

But the endorsement says as much about Mr McCarthy’s fears of alienating the former president – and the hardline right in his caucus – just as it has provided any meaningful boost. for the Hageman campaign. Cheney is the top Republican in the House of Representatives who voted to impeach Trump last January, following the Capitol attack, and has taken the lead. the voice of the Republican opposition for his attempt to overturn the 2020 election.

Mr McCarthy, who maintains a cordial working relationship with the former president and has tried to help shape his approval of House candidates ahead of the midterm elections, cannot risk alienating himself. him if he wants to maintain the support of his diverse caucus, where loyal Mr. Trump criticized many members.

Mr. Trump on Thursday endorsed Wyoming’s effort to change election laws to bar voters from changing their party preference to vote in primaries after the application deadline. The proposal is an attempt to prevent Democrats from switching parties to vote for Ms. Cheney in the primaries.

Reid J. Epstein contribution report. Kevin McCarthy goes up against challenger Liz Cheney, escalating a Feud party

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