RNC Rules Don’t Let It Stop Liz Cheney From Running as Republican

WASHINGTON — The Republican National Committee, which hates Liz Cheney so much that it expelled her from the party earlier this year, still appears powerless to stop her from running for the 2024 GOP nomination in her quest to retain her. Is. Donald Trump by returning to power.

Party rules call for neutrality in presidential elections, when no incumbent is running – which the RNC itself has cited as a reason, at which point it announces its candidacy, that the former president’s legal bills should be rejected. Must stop paying.

“The party has clearly stated that we will be neutral in the presidential primary in ’24,” said Henry Barbour, a prominent RNC member from Mississippi.

Since Cheney’s defeat on Tuesday in an attempt to retain her House seat in Wyoming, she has said she intends to focus her work on the January 6 committee through the remainder of 2022 and then decides What will happen next in early 2023? He declined to comment. for this story.

A Republican strategist said pro-Trump members on the RNC may try to rig the debate rules to prevent him from participating, but there is little they can do to change state ballot access rules and laws. “If she wants to run as a Republican, they can’t do anything to keep her off the ballot.”

And while Trump and his allies are proud of his one-sided defeat against a challenger willing to spread Trump’s election lies, Cheney’s newfound free time may come in January, leaving him wishing he could. Still in Congress.

Already from his own comments, it’s clear that Cheney is less interested in becoming president than he is in making sure Trump can’t do that again.

“I will do everything I can to make sure Donald Trump is never anywhere near the Oval Office, and I mean it,” she said in her concession speech Tuesday night.

“It means she has nothing to lose and is holding people accountable,” said former state president Fergus Cullen. Republican Party in New Hampshire. “That’s a role she can play. There are more reasons to run for president than to win.”

Running as a Republican—instead of an independent, who could snatch anti-Trump votes in the general election, should he wind up a GOP candidate—would let him reach the media and voters in important GOP nominated states, allowing him to He would be allowed to take specific anti-Trump messages to those voters on a day-to-day basis.

“I think she runs a kamikaze mission for democracy as a GOP candidate and dares to stop her from the ballots or the debate stages,” said anti-Trump Republican adviser Sarah Longwell. “She wants to keep Trump out of the White House, not put herself in it.”

“There are other reasons to run for president than to win.”

–Fergus Cullen, former chairman of the State Republican Party in New Hampshire

Whether this will reduce Trump’s position is uncertain, but it will make for an entirely different situation than it was in 2015.

That year, most candidates completely ignored him, believing that his support would fade as the primary elections drew near. Others actively praised him – in the hope that they would win over his supporters when he inevitably passed out.

By the time his rivals finally began attacking him in early 2016, it was too late, and Trump had a huge lead that let him cruise through the primaries.

It is evident from Trump’s personal attacks on Cheney, which intensified in June with the start of a January 6 committee public hearing, that criticism of his behavior and leading up to that day has been surprisingly effective. As vice president, he played a key role in every committee hearing and often criticized Trump’s most destructive of the Capitol attack, the culmination of a coup attempt for Trump to remain in power.

“I guess with the huge loss of Liz Cheney that was greater than ever, the January 6th Committee of Political Hacks and Thugs will quickly begin the beautiful process of dissolution?” Trump posted on his social media network the day after Cheney’s election defeat. “It was a referendum on the never ending witch hunt. The people have spoken!”

Trump has 168 members of the RNC in his corner, who have already punished Cheney and Republican Illinois Representative Adam Kinzinger for their participation on the January 6 committee and outspoken criticism of Trump. The RNC, condemning him through a resolution at its winter meeting, opened the door for the Wyoming State Party and the National Republican Congressional Committee to support Cheney’s challenger.

Jan 6 Committee member Rep.  Adam Kizinger (R-Ill.), Rep.  Liz Cheney (R-Vyo.) and Rep.  Ellen Luria (D-Va.) on Capitol Hill on July 21, 2022 in Washington, DC
Jan 6 Committee member Rep. Adam Kizinger (R-Ill.), Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Vyo.) and Rep. Ellen Luria (D-Va.) on Capitol Hill on July 21, 2022 in Washington, DC

Washington Post via Getty Images

Should Cheney choose to run for the 2024 GOP nomination, those same Trump loyalists may try to rig party rules to ensure that, for example, Cheney will not be allowed to participate in the primary debate.

“They will probably force every candidate who wants to debate to agree to support whatever the nominee is. Liz will not,” said Joe Walsh, a former GOP congressman from Illinois who ran against Trump in the 2020 primary.

A high-profile GOP adviser from Iowa said on condition of anonymity, “There is no chance that he will ever be on the debate stage with Trump.” “It’s a resistance fantasy to think that she could go toe-to-toe with Trump and actually get him involved…. She won’t pledge to vote for the nominee if it’s Trump, so they gave her that.” But closed. That is one way. There are other plans.”

An RNC spokesperson declined to discuss how the party might react to Cheney’s candidacy and instead offered standard boilerplate about the coming midterms. “The Republican National Committee is focused on all of our great Republican candidates who won their primaries and will tackle issues that matter to their constituents, which is why we will back the House and Senate in November,” she said.

One RNC member, who spoke on condition of anonymity, agreed that the party could attempt to enforce a pledge requirement that candidates have to promise to support the final candidate as a way to keep Cheney out. forces it.

Such a pledge, in fact, was sought by Trump in 2015, when he said during the first debate in August that he did not feel obligated to support the nominee if it was not him. He signed a “pledge” on 3 September at the request of then-president Reins Priebus – but said within hours that he would not be bound by it if the RNC did not treat him well.

By December, Trump was already bragging that “68% of my supporters would vote for me if I left the GOP and ran as an independent.” And in March of 2016, Trump explicitly stated that he felt no obligation to support the nominee if it didn’t turn out to be. “I have been treated very unfairly,” he complained.

Following Trump’s statements, the RNC member said, it would be difficult to hold Cheney high. “I definitely think our various candidates should support whoever is the nominee,” the RNC member said. “But I think we learned in 2016 that it’s unenforceable.”

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