(CNN) Threatened Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney turns to Democrats in her state as she seeks to face a serious fundamental challenge in August, giving Democratic voters instructions on how to change parties so they can support her – even like Cheney and her allies continue to be touched by her conservative bona fides.
Two people familiar with the matter confirmed to CNN that Cheney made overtures to Democrats in her province, both through targeted mailers outlining the steps someone would need to take to change party membership and on her campaign website, which now includes FAQs on how to “change my party affiliation to register as a Republican so I can vote for Liz.”
Cheney – who has become a thorn in the side of former President Donald Trump from her gate on the House selection committee investigating the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, and her dismissal on repeated his false claims about a stolen election – defended the move, saying it provides Wyoming voters with “all the key rules” they need to be aware of to participate in state primary elections .
“I’ve been a conservative Republican since I first voted for Ronald Reagan in 1984. I urge everyone with principles who love our country to exercise their right to vote. And, damn right, I’ll continue to give all voters in Wyoming a list of all the key rules for casting votes in our state, ”Cheney said in a statement, first reported by The Washington Post on Thursday.
“If any eligible voter living in Wyoming wishes to become a Republican, they are free to do so. That’s their right,” he added.
Wyoming’s election laws allow voters to change their party affiliation up to two weeks before primary, which will take place Aug. 16, while also allowing same-day changes at local polling places or by voters requesting absent votes . Cheney’s effort for support in Democratic corners comes as she fights for political survival in one of the most popular and expensive Republican House primaries in this cycle. Her opponent, Wyoming businesswoman Harriet Hageman, was endorsed by Trump last September and has proven to be a formidable challenger.
Cheney’s opponents accused her of flip-flopping after she told The New York Times in February that she would not be launching a “Democrats for Cheney” group to try to recruit supporters from across the political aisle.
“That is not something that I have considered, I have or will not organize,” Cheney said at the time. A person close to Cheney objected to such allegations, noting that such a group still “does not exist.”
Hageman’s team, which first learned about Cheney’s outreach to Democratic voters earlier this week, said they don’t care about the impact it could have in the primary – highlighting the 70 percent of Wyoming voters who backed out 70% Trump among Wyoming voters in 2020 and the state’s deep red status, and argue that there aren’t enough registered Democrats in the state to rock a GOP primary contest.
“We had anticipated that she would do this and we have taken account of … the possibility of a higher number of Democrats than usual [in the primary] crossing, and Harriet will still win even if that is the case, ”top Said councilor Hageman.
“We are all over it and there are not enough Democrats [in Wyoming] for this gambit to work,” said second councilor Hageman.
While Cheney’s high-profile participation in recent public hearings on Trump’s attempts to overturn the 2020 election result certainly gave it a boost among Democrats, it’s unclear whether it will have a notable impact in Wyoming, specifically. Publicly available data from the Wyoming secretary of state’s office show that the number of registered Republican voters in the state has increased 980 in the past two months, while the number of registered Democrats has decreased by 452. As of June 2022, Registered Republicans make up 70% of all registered voters in Wyoming, according to the same data.
“This is Wyoming, this is not Georgia,” added Hageman’s first adviser. “This is the most pro-Trump state there is.”
Colleagues from Cheney, who have previously complained about her criticism of Trump’s leadership and the leadership of the Republican party, said her outreach to Democratic voters was not surprised given her current status inside the GOP.
“It confirms what everyone already knows: she is no longer accepted as a Republican in fact. She filed as a Republican but clearly has no path to winning as a Republican,” he said Rep. Warren Davidson of Ohio.
Cheney has maintained support among some notable Wyoming Republicans – including former GOP Sen. Alan Simpson, who retired from the upper chamber in 1997 – and his voting record among conservative groups like the Heritage Foundation remains in the 80s high. But if Trump’s track record of expelling current Republicans who voted to impeach him over Jan. 6 is any indication, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney could be in trouble later this summer.
Last week, South Carolina Rep. Tom Rice became the first of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump (a group that includes Cheney) to lose his primary bid for re-election. Rice lost to Trump-backed state GOP Rep. GOP Rep. Russell Fry by more than 25 percent, according to CNN election results.