'I would not vote for J.D. Vance,' GOP Rep. Liz Cheney tells Cleveland gathering

Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyoming, gives her opening statement June 9 during the first hearing of the committee to investigate the January 6, 2020, attack on the United States Capitol.
Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyoming, gives her opening statement June 9 during the first hearing of the committee to investigate the January 6, 2020, attack on the United States Capitol.
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U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyoming, took sides in Ohio's U.S. Senate race Tuesday, saying "I would not vote for J.D. Vance" when asked for her opinion on the race by PBS NewsHour anchor and managing editor Judy Woodruff.

When asked whether she would vote for Democratic U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan if she lived in the Buckeye State, she responded "I would." Vance and Ryan are seeking to succeed Republican U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, who declined to seek re-election.

Woodruff noted the "bitter contest" for Senate between Ryan and J.D. Vance, the Republican candidate who Woodruff noted was a Trump loyalist and someone who claimed the 2020 presidential election was "not free and fair."

"(Vance) said that some of the Jan. 6 insurrectionists are 'political prisoners' and he said really doesn't care what happens with Ukraine," Woodruff noted.

This is not the first time that Cheney, speaking at a City Club of Cleveland-sponsored event at Cleveland State University, has sided with a Democrat seeking election. U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin, who is running for re-election in Michigan, also received an endorsement from the noted Republican and Trump opponent.

"While Elissa and I have our policy disagreements, at a time when our nation is facing threats at home and abroad, we need serious, responsible, substantive members like Elissa in Congress," Cheney said in a statement released by the Slotkin campaign.

Cheney joined Slotkin at a campaign event later Tuesday evening. The endorsement marks the first time that Cheney has ever endorsed a Democrat.

Cheney, whose father is former Vice President Dick Cheney, has been a staunch critic of former President Donald Trump and serves as the vice-chair for the United States House Committee on the January 6 Attack. She recently lost her bid for re-election to Congress to Harriet Hageman, a Trump-backed lawyer.

Cheney, a 2022 recipient of the 2022 John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award, was asked about the state of the Republican Party and why she chose to endorse a Democratic candidate for the midterm elections.

"I've been a Republican ever since I first cast a vote, which was in 1984, and I don't think I've ever voted for a Democrat, I've certainly never campaigned for a Democrat," Cheney said. "But we're at a moment now when my party has really lost its way, and it's lost its way in a way that's really dangerous. Given the moment we're in, we can't give power to people who have told us we won't respect the outcome of the election, and that's more important than any party beliefs and policy."

Cheney also lamented the recent attack against United States Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's husband, Paul Pelosi, calling for prayers for him and his family. Cheney also acknowledged how members of her party as well as former Trump's family openly mocked Pelosi, who underwent surgery to repair a skull fracture and serious injuries to his right arm and hands as a result of the attack.

"When you see what's happening in our country, when you watch the extent to which violence has become a part of our political discourse, that is just a road you can't down," Cheney said.

She would neither confirm nor deny that she is exploring a run for president in 2024 , nor would she say whether she would run as a Republican or as an independent if she were to run.

Anthony Thompson can be reached at ajthompson@gannett.com.

This article originally appeared on Akron Beacon Journal: Liz Cheney spurns J.D. Vance, backs Tim Ryan in Ohio race for Senate