Trump endorsement in hand, Hageman announces House bid

Rhianna Gelhart, Wyoming Tribune Eagle photo Cheyenne attorney Harriet Hageman on Thursday announced her candidacy for Wyoming's lone U.S. House seat. Hageman's announcement that she would seek the Republican nomination for the seat came after former President Donald Trump endorsed her in a primary race against incumbent U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney.

CHEYENNE — Cheyenne attorney Harriet Hageman announced her candidacy Thursday for Wyoming’s lone seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, launching her bid to oust current Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo.

Speaking in front of supporters in a small ballroom at Cheyenne’s Little America Hotel and Resort, Hageman said she was running to return the congressional seat “to someone from Wyoming who represents Wyoming’s conservative values, to someone with Wyoming’s best interests at heart.”

“Wyoming is entitled to a representative in Congress who remembers who sent her there and remembers what their wishes are,” she said. “Liz Cheney is doing neither, and I will do both.”

Describing herself as a “constitutional conservative,” Hageman said she would fight against Democrats and elites in Washington, D.C., who she said show contempt for Americans “by demanding to control every aspect of our lives.”

She said she would spend her time in Congress exposing that contempt, doing what she knows is right and “fighting against the unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats who ignore our Constitution and who seek to govern by executive fiat, and tell us how to run our states and our country.”

A fourth-generation Wyomingite, Hageman invoked her more than 30 family members who continue to live in Wyoming as a reason to work for its best interests.

“My family’s fortunes and future rise and fall on Wyoming. If Wyoming prospers, my family prospers. If Wyoming suffers, my family suffers – just like yours,” she said. “Liz Cheney has no such relationship to Wyoming. It doesn’t matter to her whether we succeed or we fail. As a globalist and consummate D.C. insider, she always does well.”

Hageman argued that Cheney is an ineffective representative because her support of former President Donald Trump’s impeachment left her with no Republican allies, and that Cheney’s main agenda was to “destroy President Trump.”

“My agenda is to protect Wyoming and to further the America First agenda: energy independence, regulatory reform, restore power to the states, protection of our southern border and enforcement of our immigration laws, and focus on what is in the best interest of the United States, and, specifically, what is in the best interest of Wyoming,” she said.

Hageman’s official campaign announcement came hours after an endorsement from former President Trump.

In an email statement, Trump said:

“I strongly endorse Republican House of Representatives Candidate Harriet Hageman from Wyoming who is running against warmonger and disloyal Republican, Liz Cheney. Harriet is a fourth-generation daughter of Wyoming, a very successful attorney, and has the support and respect of a truly great U.S. Senator, Wyoming’s own Cynthia Lummis.

“Harriet Hageman adores the Great State of Wyoming, is strong on Crime and Borders, powerfully supports the Second Amendment, loves our Military and our Vets, and will fight for Election Integrity and Energy Independence (which Biden has already given up). Unlike RINO Liz Cheney, Harriet is all in for America First. Harriet has my Complete and Total Endorsement in replacing the Democrats number one provider of sound bites, Liz Cheney. Make America Great Again!”

Hageman said Trump’s endorsement made it clear that he believes she can win against Cheney.

Previously an ally of Cheney’s, Hageman said the turning point in her support came first when Cheney “attacked” Trump in relation to Russians allegedly putting bounties on U.S. troops, and again when Cheney called Hageman to say there had been “no election irregularities” in the 2020 election, that Joe Biden was the legitimate president and that Trump needed to concede.

“I said that I believed that there were issues that needed to be looked at related to the election in various states. That was probably the end of our relationship,” Hageman said. “I haven’t spoken with her since then.”

In a Thursday morning statement announcing her intention to challenge Cheney, Hageman said Wyoming’s current representative had betrayed her and the rest of the state with “her personal war with President Trump, who won Wyoming by massive majorities twice.”

In her speech, Hageman said that, had she known Cheney would support Trump’s impeachment five years later, she “would have never answered (Cheney’s) first phone call.”

In a Thursday morning tweet, Cheney included a screenshot of Trump’s endorsement of Hageman, highlighting the portion that called her the Democrats’ “number one provider of sound bites.”

“Here’s a sound bite for you: Bring it,” she said.

Cheney later followed the tweet with a formal statement:

“I am honored to represent the people of Wyoming and proud of my strong conservative record. I look forward to an extended public debate about the importance of the rule of law and the solemn duty of elected officials to uphold their oath to the Constitution.

“It is tragic that some in this race have sacrificed those principles, and their duty to the people of Wyoming, out of fear and in favor of loyalty to a former president who deliberately misled the American people about the 2020 election, provoked an attack on the U.S. Capitol, and failed to perform his duties as president as the violence ensued.”

In response to a question asking if the other Republican candidates should drop out to avoid splitting the ticket, Hageman said: “The only way that Liz Cheney will be re-elected is if we split the vote.”

Thursday afternoon, Cheyenne attorney Darin Smith said in a statement that he had suspended his campaign and would endorse Hageman.

“I said hell would freeze over before I’d be the reason Liz Cheney gets re-elected to represent the great state of Wyoming in the U.S. House. President Trump has gotten behind Harriet Hageman to defeat Liz Cheney. Unity is our strength, and it is imperative that we unite to take this great Country back. To honor my word, I am throwing my support behind Harriet as well. Liz Cheney must go,” Smith said, in part.

Smith added that he would reassess his decision if Cheney dropped out of the race, or if a runoff bill was passed by the Wyoming Legislature.

The Casper Star-Tribune reported Thursday afternoon that another candidate, Sheridan County Republican Party Chairman Bryan Miller, would drop out of the race and endorse Hageman.

Other candidates, including state Sen. Anthony Bouchard, R-Cheyenne, and state Rep. Chuck Gray, R-Casper, had not made any announcement as of Thursday evening.

Hageman served as the Republican National Committeewoman from Wyoming before stepping down in anticipation of her campaign announcement, according to her Thursday statement.

She ran for Wyoming governor as a Republican in 2018, eventually losing to now-Gov. Mark Gordon in the party’s primary that year.