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Despite Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz’ concerted efforts to unseat her from the House Republican Conference, Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney has survived.
After a four hour debate and discussion Wednesday evening, House Republicans reportedly voted in “secret” to keep Cheney installed as conference chair.
“The conference voted 145-61 in a secret ballot, after members spent hours venting frustrations about Cheney’s vote,” ABC News confirmed.
Immediately after the vote, Cheney delivered what has been described as a “gloating” statement to reporters celebrating her victory against colleagues like Gaetz.
“We really did have a terrific vote tonight and terrific time this evening laying out what we’re going to do going forward, as well as making clear that we’re not going to be divided and that we’re not going to be in a situation where people can pick off any member of leadership,” she said.
“It was a very resounding acknowledgment that we need to go forward together and that we need to go forward in a way that helps us beat back the really dangerous and negative Democrat policies,” she added.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and House Minority Whip Steve Scalise issued statements as well, commenting both on the Cheney vote and the other topics that were addressed during the meeting, including Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene.
“Tonight our conference rounded a really important corner. We spent hours where members on every side of this issue looked each other in the eye, aired their grievances, and were very candid and honest with each other but addressed this as a family and a team,” Scalise said.
“And ultimately [we] finally worked to have a vote where we kept the entire team together. And we came out much stronger. Because now, while we’ve aired those grievances, everybody tonight was united,” he added.
Wednesday’s vote marked the end of what has been weeks of in-fighting spurred by Cheney choosing to vote in favor of impeaching then-President Donald Trump last month. While she was joined by nine of her GOP colleagues, her vote drew the most attention and backlash because of her position on the Republican Conference.
During the discussion and debate Wednesday, Cheney reportedly refused to apologize for impeaching the now-former president but did reportedly “welcome” a discussion.
“In remarks to her colleagues, the House Republican Conference chair did not apologize for her vote to impeach Trump for inciting the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, and welcomed the referendum on her position,” according to ABC News.
Her ultimate victory was likely aided by McCarthy choosing to endorse her and encourage his peers to keep her installed as conference chair.
“Cheney was also supported by other Republicans in the conference, including Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., one of nine other Republicans who voted to impeach Trump, according to a source familiar with the conference meeting,” ABC News reported.
While Cheney has survived, for now, it’s not clear she’ll survive in 2022. As noted by her critics, she enjoys a dismally low approval rating in her district — one lower than the district’s approval rating for the very man she’d impeached last month.
Only the GOP would keep someone in leadership who has a 10% approval rating among her own voters. https://t.co/NsGfaaJfq9
— Emerald Robinson ✝️ (@EmeraldRobinson) February 4, 2021
A survey conducted at the time by Trump’s political action committee, Save America, found that only 10 percent of GOP primary voters in Wyoming were willing to re-elect her to office. Conversely, 85 percent of them viewed Trump favorably.
Plus, Republicans have already begun mobilizing to primary the Wyoming lawmaker, with Gaetz — a vocal opponent of hers — leading the charge.
“Wyoming will bring Washington to its knees. Washington, D.C., mythologizes the establishment powerbrokers like Liz Cheney for climbing in a deeply corrupt game. But there are more of us than there are of them,” Gaetz announced last week to a roaring crowd of supporters at an anti-Cheney rally held at Wyoming’s capitol.
“But the backlash has been significant in a state Trump won with 70 percent of the vote — the widest margin of any state in the country.”https://t.co/OMugwyqQYt
— Jason Miller (@JasonMillerinDC) January 30, 2021
While some might question the point of Republicans turning on one another, Gaetz has maintained that Cheney started it by endorsing a primary challenge to Rep. Thomas Masie last year.
“This civil war in the Republican Party that we may be on the precipice of is not one in which the outsiders fired the first shot. My focus is on replacing Liz Cheney because I don’t think she represents our conference,” the Florida lawmaker said Tuesday.
While he’s not alone in feeling this way, Cheney’s not alone either, as she does have her supporters — at least 145 of them, apparently.
.@Liz_Cheney has all of my support. She has been a good friend and a strong, principled leader for our @HouseGOP these past 2 years.
We need to focus on uniting the party & delivering on our policies.
— Jenniffer González (@RepJenniffer) February 4, 2021
No we voted. You were just wrong by like, a huuuuuge margin. https://t.co/2iwjlxpB3J
— Adam Kinzinger (@RepKinzinger) February 4, 2021
.@Liz_Cheney survives House GOP leadership challenge in overwhelming vote tonight, with loud criticism overwhelmed by strong and silent support in freewheeling closed-door meeting. 61-145-1 is final vote, @mkraju & our Hill team report.
— Jeff Zeleny (@jeffzeleny) February 4, 2021
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