Liz Cheney Spars With GOP Challengers Over 2020 Election, Jan. 6 Attack in First Debate

In their first debate on Thursday night, Republican Rep. Liz Cheney and her four challengers for Wyoming’s lone congressional seat were able to find common ground on issues such as voting against the bipartisan infrastructure bill, supporting America’s energy systems, and reprimanding the Biden administration.

However, she found herself in the minority on issues like the validity of the 2020 presidential election and the conclusions reached by the committee on January 6. Moreover, Cheney’s conviction that the 2020 election was not stolen may cost her the seat she currently holds.

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Liz Cheney Spars With GOP Challengers Over Some Major Issues

Cheney, the vice-chair on the Jan. 6 select committee, argued throughout the debate that “there was not sufficient fraud to overturn the results of the 2020 election,” citing evidence from hearings and testimony from former President Donald Trump’s family and staffers. She went on to call it a “tragedy” that Trump and other Republicans falsely claimed it was stolen.

Cheney warned that the United States would soon be without “the structure, the basis, and the framework of our constitutional republic” if its citizens embraced the “lies of Donald Trump.”

Liz Cheney Spars GOP
Liz Cheney Spars GOP

Trump’s efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election, as Cheney claimed in a speech at the Reagan Library in California the day before the debate, show that he is a “domestic threat,” Cheney said.

Harriet Hageman, responded to this statement Thursday night.

“The threat to our republic really comes from other sources,” she said, adding that there are “two different systems of justice” and claimed one does not hold Democrats “accountable for their decisions.”

“Yet, you have the conservatives or Republicans who are being punished for expressing their First Amendment rights,” she said.

Cheney, who is trailing Hageman by nearly 30 percent in a couple of internal polls conducted by Trump and Hageman allies, began the discussion by going on offense against Hageman.

She dared Hageman to deny that the upcoming 2020 presidential election would be fraudulent. She also cited witness statements from former Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien to the Jan. 6 committee.

“I think that she can’t say that it wasn’t stolen because she’s completely beholden to Donald Trump,” Cheney said, referring to Hageman.

In response to Cheney’s question, Hageman sidestepped the issue by saying the “press and certain people have obsessed” over the January 6 attack. She also noted that Wyoming residents rarely bring up either the issue or the House select committee in conversation. To which voters respond, “how unfair this entire committee is.”

“They’re focusing on something that happened 18 months ago, they’re not focusing on the issues that are important to the people in Wyoming,” she said. “And they’re also ignoring the corruption that is absolutely destroying Washington, D.C., and, as a result, taking down the rest of the country.”

Later, Hageman claimed that Cheney had ignored Wyoming voters in favor of the January 6 committee.

Candidates state senator Anthony Bouchard, businesswoman Robyn Belinsky, and veteran Denton Knapp all shared the Jan. 6 committee’s criticisms and allegations of widespread fraud in the upcoming 2020 election.

“We the people were stifled. The First Amendment right was washed out the door. It’s a waste of time and resources,” Belinsky said about the committee.

It was a “lot of distraction” and a “kangaroo court,” Bouchard said, echoing a phrase Trump has used.

On the question of whether or not partisan unity should be prioritized in Congress, the candidates diverged from Cheney’s position.

AdImpact reports that while Cheney has spent over $1.2 million on ads, Hageman and his allies have spent a total of $775,445. Trump’s Save America PAC, meanwhile, started spending money on ads around the middle of May.

In light of death threats made against one of the candidates, Wyoming PBS reports that the debate was not broadcast publicly. The Wyoming primary election is scheduled for August 16.

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