BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — On Tuesday, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyoming) lost her primary race for Wyoming’s only House seat to Harriet Hageman, who was backed by former President Donald Trump.
The race took place over 1,100 miles away, but the result may be felt right here in Kern County.
For House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) it’s the culmination of a tumultuous 18 months with the Wyoming Congresswoman.
“Her whole focus has been different,” McCarthy told Fox News about Cheney. “Her whole focus has been on one individual whether she has information or not instead of focusing on her district itself.”
One-time allies and former fellow House Republican party leaders, the pair have been at odds over Trump and Jan. 6. McCarthy even traveled to Wyoming this week to campaign for Hageman, a move Democratic political analyst Neel Sannappa said could help his chance at the House Speakership next year.
“I think McCarthy is trying to figure out where he can please the base, and that base is still very heavily that vocal Trump base,” Sannappa said.
Republican political analyst Cathy Abernathy pointed out Cheney’s role as Vice Chair on the January 6 Committee as a reason McCarthy supported Hageman.
“I don’t believe that Kevin McCarthy would think [Cheney is] going to be a good Republican member of the House when they come back in November and challenge this Biden administration,” Abernathy said.
According to Fox News, McCarthy himself said a Cheney loss would be a referendum on the January 6 Panel.
“We need leaders who have reverence for our constitution, who are faithful to our constitution and who are going to do what is required to abide by our oath no matter whether it’s politically convenient. Kevin McCarthy certainly does not fit that bill,” Cheney said on the “TODAY” show the morning after her loss.
Meanwhile, for Rep. David Valadao (R-Hanford), Cheney’s loss leaves him in one of the rarest clubs on Capitol Hill.
With Cheney’s race marking the last House Republican who voted to impeach the former President for January 6 to face a primary, Valadao is now one of only two with a chance of staying in Congress next year.
The other eight have either retired or lost their primaries.
“When you look at this congressional district that David Valadao was in it’s much different than a lot of these primaries you’ve seen across the country,” Abernathy said.
Both analysts point to Valadao’s Democrat-majority district as a reason why he was able to survive a primary after the impeachment vote when others could not.
“David Valadao is in a blue district, a blue district that often goes to the Republican, but still, a blue district,” Sannappa said.