What to Know About Harriet Hageman, Who Defeated Rep. Liz Cheney in Wyoming's GOP Primary Tuesday

·5 min read
Republican congressional candidate Harriet Hageman meets attendees at a rally at the Teton County Fair & Rodeo Grounds on June 14, 2022 in Jackson, Wyoming.
Republican congressional candidate Harriet Hageman meets attendees at a rally at the Teton County Fair & Rodeo Grounds on June 14, 2022 in Jackson, Wyoming.

Natalie Behring/Getty

Rep. Liz Cheney has joined the growing list of House Republicans to lose reelection campaigns in 2022 after voting to impeach former President Donald Trump following the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. On Tuesday night, Cheney came up short in the GOP House primary in Wyoming, a state she's represented since 2017, in a closely watched race against challenger Harriet Hageman.

In her current term, Cheney serves as vice chair of the House committee investigating Trump's role in the events of Jan. 6 and efforts to overturn a free and fair election. So, it's no surprise that the former president supported her opponent. But Hageman, who will face the Democratic nominee in November, hasn't always supported Trump — or opposed Cheney — for elected office.

Here's what to know about the Republican nominee for Wyoming's only seat in the House of Representatives.

RELATED: Rep. Liz Cheney Says Jan. 6 Committee Role May Be the 'Most Important Thing I Ever Do'

Hageman is a Fort Laramie, Wyoming, native and the daughter of a state legislator. She ran for governor of Wyoming in 2018 but failed to secure the GOP nomination.

As a water and natural resources attorney, Hageman, 59, has fought against government regulations and environmentalists. A 2009 story about her opposition to the Roadless Area Conservation Rule, a Clinton-era policy that protected 58.5 million acres of national forest, is headlined "The Wicked Witch of the West," a moniker the High Country News reports made her proud.

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"I have dedicated my career to fighting for the people of the great State of Wyoming as we've been under assault from Washington, D.C., and career politicians," her campaign website bio reads. "For the last 20 years, I have been fighting back against Federal agencies that try to usurp our rights with overbearing regulations."

While she's touts steadfastness in her legal career, Hageman has changed her opinion of her 2022 opponent, whom she advised in Cheney's brief 2013 Senate race and also praised during Cheney's first run for Congress in 2016.

Harriet Hageman walks on stage to introduce former President Donald Trump
Harriet Hageman walks on stage to introduce former President Donald Trump

Chet Strange/Getty

"I am proud to introduce my friend Liz Cheney," Hageman said on the campaign trail six years ago, according to CNN. "I know Liz Cheney is a proven, courageous, constitutional conservative, someone who has the education, the background and experience to fight effectively for Wyoming on a national stage."

"Like many Wyomingites, I supported Liz Cheney when she ran for Congress," Hageman said in her statement last September. "But then she betrayed Wyoming, she betrayed this country, and she betrayed me."

Recently, portions of Hageman's stump speeches about Cheney sounded quite different than they did in 2016.

"We're fed up with the Jan. 6 commission and those who think they can gaslight us," Hageman told the crowd in May at a Trump rally in Casper, Wyoming, CNN reports. "And we're fed up with Liz Cheney."

RELATED: Rep. Liz Cheney Brought to Tears by Standing Ovation in Her Home State of Wyoming

While Hageman made a political liability of Cheney's high-profile role on the committee investigating the attack on the U.S. Capitol by Trump supporters in 2021, she only recently fully embraced the former president's false narratives about a "stolen" election.

"Absolutely the election was rigged. It was rigged to make sure that President Trump could not get reelected," Hageman said at a recent campaign event, according to the Casper Star Tribune, which noted cheers from the crowd. "What happened in 2020 is a travesty."

Trump endorsed Hageman in September 2021. "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," he said in a statement at the time. "Unlike RINO Liz Cheney, Harriet is all in for American First."

In supporting Hageman, Trump is overlooking her previous efforts to keep him out of the White House.

In 2016, she supported Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, calling Trump "the weakest candidate" for president among Republicans and worried that nominating "somebody who is racist and xenophobic" would hurt the GOP's chances in the general election, which Trump ultimately won, The New York Times reports.

Harriet Hageman
Harriet Hageman

Tristan Wheelock/Bloomberg/Getty

Hageman went even further during the Republican National Convention that year, participating in a longshot procedural move to block Trump from officially claiming the party's nomination months after he clenched it during the primary season.

RELATED: Conservative Rep. Liz Cheney Wants Trump Prosecuted for Role in Jan. 6 Attack: 'Are We a Nation of Laws?'

Working with fellow Cruz supporters, Hageman and others tried to force a vote on the convention floor between the Texas senator and Trump, disregarding the clear choice of Republican voters who'd already weighed in during primaries and caucuses around the country.

To allow a vote, Hageman joined a small group of Republicans looking to "unbind" delegates, the Times reported. But Trump supporters moved to ensure delegates were bound by results of states' nominating contests.

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Speaking publicly for the first time about that effort, Hageman gave a statement to the Times in September.

"I heard and believed the lies the Democrats and Liz Cheney's friends in the media were telling at the time, but that is ancient history as I quickly realized that their allegations against President Trump were untrue," she said. "He was the greatest president of my lifetime, and I am proud to have been able to renominate him in 2020. And I'm proud to strongly support him today."