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How Team Trump systematically erased Liz Cheney's reign in Congress

It was an unusually disciplined effort by Trump's political trajectory — unorganized,, fueled by Trump's impulsiveness, have often thwarted their attempts to influence the campaign. This time, the well-organized Trump campaign overwhelmed Cheney. Cheney ultimately appeared more focused on embracing a high-profile, national role as Trump commentator than on surviving the re-election race.

"Unheard-of organizing and mobilizing the Trump world to ensure Cheney's defeat. Everyone, symbolically speaking, is a member of the America First movement. She correctly understood that no midterm election is more important to the future than this one.”

Cheney spokesperson Jeremy Adler blamed the Trump campaign to overthrow her and said he could have won, but felt he had to stand up against Trump's lie that the 2020 election was stolen.

“Liz won the 2020 Wyoming Republican primary with 73% of the vote, did what [House Minority Leader] Kevin McCarthy and many others did, and won Donald Trump. We could have easily won this race if we had accepted the insidious behavior of the Frenchman, which is a lie," Adler said in a statement. "They take pride in the fact that they supported election naysayers who preyed on the patriotism of ordinary Americans, but Liz defended freedoms, upheld the Constitution, and sought to destroy our republic.

Trump Her team's plan to beat Cheney was explained by more than six of her people involved in the race, Starting in early 2021. , when senior Trump adviser Susie Wiles made contact with two other lieutenants, Justin Clarke and Slavian. The former president's team aimed to defeat all 10 of his House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump, but Trump's most famous Republican critic Cheney topped the list. I was. Wiles asked Clarke and Slavian to recruit and scrutinize candidates.

The Trump campaign thought Cheney could be beaten in the face of fierce backlash from pro-Trump activists, but he felt he could not pass up the opportunity. . Cheney had a large bank account bloated with donations from anti-Trump donors across the country. And she was part of Wyoming's political royalty. Her father, former Vice President Dick Cheney, represented the state in Congress for ten years.

Meanwhile, none of the candidates in the campaign seemed to have the necessary qualities to defeat Cheney. After announcing his candidacy, the highest-profile candidate, Anthony Bouchard, quickly faced revelations that when he was 18, he impregnated a 14-year-old girl. Hageman and her husband, John Sandall, met Trump's 2020 campaigner Nick Trainor for dinner at La Tomate, an Italian restaurant in Washington's Dupont Circle neighborhood. Hageman, an unsuccessful attorney and Republican National Committee woman who ran for governor in 2018, had yet to seriously consider running for office. But she has heard urging from those urging her to join the primary, and was voted out of her post as Speaker of the House GOP meeting that same week for her opposition to her attacks on Trump. Cheney was the subject of discussion at the dinner party. After being seated, Trainor ordered a poll examining Hagemann's prospects in the primary.

Trump met with Cheney's main challengers Darrin Smith and Chuck Gray at a golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, but the former president was not overwhelmed. What impressed him most was Bo, the third Wyoming Republican Congressman he met, who was a Weidmann State Senator. He was a candidate endorsed by Trump ally and president of the Club for Growth, David McIntosh. (Bouchard never met with Trump. He refused to speak to Trump aides, preferring not to claim to deal only with the former president himself.)

As the summer progressed. , in Bedminster, the ideas of the Hagemann candidate began to take hold. Trump's advisers were already talking about endorsing her as her primary challenger to incumbent Wyoming governor Mark Gordon, a Republican, but they now have their eyes on the prospect of a House bid. I turned it. Trump's three main allies - Meadows, Jordan and Wyoming Senators. Cynthia Lumis — urged the former president to endorse her as Cheney's challenger.

In August Hageman arrived in Bedminster and met with Trump. As she sat, Trump asked her about her past support for Cheney. The former president was impressed and liked her idea of ​​choosing a woman to fight Cheney.

Hageman Bid Preparation Accelerates: Bill Stepien, the trainer and another Trump adviser and his manager for the 2020 campaign, will soon announce a deal at Cheyenne Law Firm. I met with his Hageman and started planning the campaign. A week later, in late August, Trump called Hageman to express his support for her and urge him to start his campaign immediately. She settled down on Sept. 9, stacking campaigns with Trump campaign veterans like Trainor, Stepien, Clarke, Tim Murtaugh, Lauren Bosler, and Karlie Miller. Donald Trump Jr.'s top adviser, Slavian, will run a pro-Hagemann super PAC, along with another Trump supporter, James Blair.

Hageman and Trump's forces also coordinated the former president to publicly declare his support on the day he announced his candidacy. Smith and Gray had promised Trump advisers that they would pull out of the campaign if they failed to win Trump's support, which they quickly did. Bouchard remained in the contest. (Weidman did not run because he was encouraged to step down by the Club for Growth and ultimately endorsed by Trump in favor of Hageman.)

It didn't mean that he was on the right track. Cheney's campaign account had more than his $2.8 million in funds, with more coming in. A head start gave the incumbent an opportunity to disqualify his Hageman in the eyes of voters when he was just getting off the ground. But what puzzled the top Republicans was that Cheney stayed off the air on television until his December.

During the race, Chaney made only one TV commercial for him, calling out Haigmann.

Further confusing Republicans was Cheney's apparent decision not to air the commercial promoting Bouchard, which could undermine Hageman's share in the anti-incumbent vote. A December poll memo from the pro-Hagemann Super PAC warned that Bouchard was taking a "big bite" from Hagemann's potential support, describing him as "Hagemann's real problem right now." I was.

Cheney's absence from her trail in the campaign will also undermine her. Her team believed she made the decision because congressmen needed to be in Washington, where she was serving as vice chairman of the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riots. Cheney's campaign also said physical threats to her congressman prevented her from campaigning in public, forcing her to organize more private gatherings across the state instead. said it was.

Hageman rushed to fill the hole. She campaigned a lot, claiming that Cheney failed to represent Wyoming's interests. This alludes to congressmen's attack on Trump, who won the state in 2020 with nearly 70% of the vote. Her message was part of a $1 million-plus effort across allied Trump-centric Super PACs that ran ads featuring Donald Trump Jr., including TV, mail and radio ads.

solidified the support of Trump donors. Tech billionaire Peter Thiel hosted a fundraiser for Hageman at his home in Florida in January. The two spoke privately 45 minutes before the event. (However, Hageman's biggest financial backer was Trump. The former president's PAC, Save America, among his biggest donations to support the candidate in 2022, is the pro-Hageman superstar.) gave the PAC $650,000.)

In the fall, Hageman began efforts to strengthen Cheney's support of Congressional detractors. Among them was Trump's staunch ally, Indiana Congressman Jim Banks. When Banks met with Hedgeman at his club on Capitol Hill in October, he expressed his anger at Cheney for criticizing him in the House earlier in the day, people familiar with the debate said. During the same trip, Hageman met with Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, a longtime Cheney critic, at the headquarters of the National Republican Senate Committee.Banks, chairman of the conservative Republican Research Committee, later traveled to Wyoming to campaign for Hageman. Meanwhile, Paul's affiliated Super PAC spent more than $400,000 of his $400,000 on advertising to boost Hageman.

McCarthy, another Trump ally whom Cheney has strongly criticized, also boarded. At her January meeting, which took place around the same time that Cheney's January 6 committee requested McCarthy's cooperation with her investigation, House Republican leader and Hageman said McCarthy discussed plans to support McCarthy ended up raising her $250,000 for Hageman and headlined her March fundraiser for the candidate, which was co-hosted by more than 100 House Republicans.

All the while, Trump kept in touch with Hegemann. The two spoke on the phone about six times, and the former president often contacted her after seeing news of the race, according to people familiar with the meeting. In May, Trump held a Hageman rally in Wyoming, and footage of the event was used in her first TV ad.

Cheney's political infrastructure collapsed as the party rallied around Hegemann. Majority Strategies, the Republican Party's prominent direct mail company, has worked extensively on past campaigns for this congresswoman, but she pulled out of the 2022 campaign.

We've made it very clear what we're doing," Brett Burke, the company's chief executive officer, said in a statement. “We have been in her business for nearly 30 years and have historically supported candidates with leadership backing, and this cycle is no exception for us.”

Spring By then, Cheney's prospects were bleak. In late March, Hageman's campaign ran polls that showed her leading Congress by 18 percentage points. The gap will only widen in the coming months. Her lead was 26 points in a May survey for the Hageman campaign. In June, a private poll showed that figure rose to 36 points when the commission hearings began on January 6.

When the primary ended, it became clear that Cheney was more focused on defeating Hagemann than fighting Trump. In a June speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, a regular stop by Republicans considering running for the White House, she denounced the former president's false claims about the 2020 election. And earlier this month, she ran an ad in which Dick Cheney proclaimed, "No man in our 246-year history has been a greater threat to our republic than Donald Trump."

Cheney, she has repeatedly said, was willing to do so if losing her seat was the price to stand up to Trump. And she hasn't ruled out her run for president in 2024. Probably against Trump himself. Notably, her last campaign finance report showed that she had more than $7 million left in her federal campaign accounts.

But she won't be able to do that as an MP after Tuesday's primary election.