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2024 preview? Cheney telegraphs her next, direct shot at Trump

“To continue to have a podium to speak from, she would have to be a national candidate,” mentioned Paul Vogelheim, a Republican candidate for Wyoming’s state legislature who attended Cheney’s concession speech. Vogelheim predicted Cheney would follow the GOP presidential main if she runs in 2024, recalling her “emphatic” vow that she wouldn’t be altering events.

If Cheney runs, as she confirmed on Wednesday morning that she’s contemplating, it gained’t be a shock: She’s fanned hypothesis for greater than a 12 months about her subsequent steps, stating within the spring of 2021 that she wouldn’t rule out searching for the White House as her fellow House Republicans started plotting her eviction from management.

And the way in which she ran her House marketing campaign, operating nationwide adverts that appeared to talk previous Wyoming’s conservative voters and shoring up her coffers, solely boosted hypothesis in Washington that she was already wanting past her state. She shortly introduced Wednesday morning in a POLITICO unique that she’ll be forming a brand new group “to mobilize a unified effort to oppose any Donald Trump campaign for president,” as her spokespeson put it.

Ultimately, she misplaced by the overwhelming margin that almost all public polls forecast. Kevin McCarthy, who’s poised to say the speaker’s gavel as soon as seen as a attainable prize for Cheney herself, called it a “referendum” on her work alongside Democrats investigating Trump on the Jan. 6 choose committee. But different colleagues noticed her as already wanting past her personal main battle.

“You say whatever you want about Liz, but she’s not naive. She knows exactly what she’s doing,” Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R-N.D.) mentioned in an interview late final week. “I think Liz is running the race she wants to run.”

All of her subsequent strides towards Trump include dangers. She might run within the GOP main, making a play to kneecap him forward of a normal election, but that technique might set her up as a foil who helps Trump encourage his base to prove.

The 56-year-old might additionally take a web page from the H. Ross Perot playbook, mounting a third-party marketing campaign in hopes of drawing away voters from Trump. Perot grew to become fashionable U.S. historical past’s most profitable third-party candidate in 1992, successful 19 p.c of the vote.

While some polls at the time confirmed Perot taking potential help from each major-party candidates pretty equally, there’s no assure that Cheney wouldn’t additionally profit Trump on a third-party ticket that might pull votes from swing voters and Democrats who need a candidate aside from President Joe Biden.

Indeed, Cheney’s stoic concession speech Tuesday night time appeared to win her new Democratic followers past the scores of Wyoming voters who’d crossed over to again her Tuesday. (Her seat on the Jan. 6 panel, as Republicans usually word, got here straight from Speaker Nancy Pelosi.)

“All policy differences aside, @Liz_Cheney is now and forever more will be known as an American hero,” tweeted Michigan’s Democratic attorney general, Dana Nessel.

But that strategy has its limits. Scott Horn, 65, was among the many Democrats in Wyoming who modified their registration to help Cheney. Voting Tuesday morning within the bluest a part of the state, Horn referred to as her resolution to go towards Trump “courageous.”

But a House main vote for Cheney is so far as he’s keen to go given the remainder of her conservative positions, significantly on abortion. After this week, Horn mentioned, “I will switch right back to Democrat” and be unable to again her if she runs for president.

Cheney allies say she gained’t get entangled within the presidential race if she deems that it might assist Trump reasonably than harm him. Still, the lack of her House seat leaves her with few different paths to remain seen in her mission of preserving him from additional public workplace.

And if she jumps in, she could get help from deep-pocketed teams seeking to assist the nation flip in a special course.

The bipartisan group No Labels, which is carefully aligned with the House’s Problem Solvers Caucus, is seeking to get entangled within the 2024 presidential race with important funds that it’s already raised to assist centrist candidates. According to 3 individuals near the group’s discussions, Cheney’s identify is within the combine when it comes to candidates it might think about placing a part of its $50 million cache in the direction of, with some suggesting her as a possible running-mate for a nominee like Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.).

No matter the place Cheney lands come the 2024 marketing campaign, her political destiny is entwined with Trump’s.

After vowing to POLITICO final 12 months that “I’m not gonna lose my seat,” Cheney’s tone modified lately to acknowledge the inevitability of her loss. Throughout the summer season, she stored her deal with the Jan. 6 choose panel — and delivered reward final month for younger girls like Cassidy Hutchinson and Sarah Matthews who testified earlier than the committee below evident private pressure.

When Cheney described Hutchinson, a former Trump White House aide at the time, she drew a comparability as refined however unmistakable because the Lincoln reference she made on Tuesday night time.

Hutchinson “knew all along she would be attacked by President Trump, and by the 50-, 60- and 70-year-old men who hide themselves behind executive privilege,” Cheney mentioned final month. “But … she has courage, and she did it anyway.”

She’s set to return to the Hill subsequent month for extra choose committee hearings, with most different incumbent Republicans seeing her as a failed martyr for the anti-Trump motion of their social gathering. Even Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell — a few of whose allies pushed back after Trump-aligned forces within the RNC censured her and Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) earlier this 12 months — noticed her fierce resistance to the previous president as counterproductive, in accordance with the latest guide “This Will Not Pass.”

Some of her longtime House pals will solely quietly acknowledge that they nonetheless like Cheney, even when they disagree with what she was doing.

“I’ll miss being lectured and talked down to about the Constitution,” Rep. Lance Gooden (R-Texas) quipped Friday about her potential marketing campaign ouster.

All of which leaves Cheney nonetheless trying to find a house in a GOP that continues to be largely in thrall to Trump, whilst he faces a Justice Department investigation and different authorized clouds. For her supporters, although, there’s loads of time left to carve her a path out of the Republican wilderness.

Stuart Thompson, 75, a self-described longtime good friend of former Vice President Dick Cheney, mentioned he’s one of many solely individuals in his county who hung a Cheney signal exterior their dwelling.

“I don’t see, now, any lane for her to get the Republican nomination,” Thompson acknowledged. “But I’m hopeful that there are enough regular Republicans — Reagan Republicans, whatever you want to call them — that somehow they can get together and rejoin the party. Somehow.”

Sarah Ferris contributed to this report.

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