Liz Cheney is backing Democrat Abigail Spanberger in the high-stakes race

Liz Cheney is backing Democrat Abigail Spanberger in the high-stakes race


Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), the GOP’s most vocal critic of Trump’s threats to democracy, has endorsed Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.) over Spanberger’s Republican challenger in one of the most high-profile races in Virginia this year, crossing party lines as would advocate for vulnerable Democrats a few days before the election.

In a statement to The Washington Post, Cheney acknowledged that she and Spanberger had policy differences, but said she was “honored” to have endorsed Spanberger, describing her as a lawmaker “committed to working across the aisle to find solutions” while criticizing her Donald Trump-supported Republican opponent Yesli Vega, member of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors.

“We don’t agree on every policy, but I am absolutely certain that Abigail is committed to serving this country and her constituents and defending our Constitution,” Cheney said. “Abigail’s opponent promotes conspiracy theories, denies election results he disagrees with and defends the indefensible. We need our elected leaders to be honest, serious and accountable, which is why I would urge voters in Virginia’s 7th District to support Abigail Spanberger.”

A spokesman did not make Cheney available for an interview. Vega’s spokesperson pointed to a Vega’s previous statement that she didn’t believe the 2020 election was stolen from Trump.

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Spanberger is the third Democrat in Congress that Cheney has endorsed this year, a remarkable development for the former leader of the House Republican Conference, who has championed staunchly conservative policies throughout her career. But since the Trump campaign is pushing to nullify the 2020 election and the resulting January 62021 rebellion, Cheney was willing to put aside ideological differences to thwart Trump-backed candidates and promote others she sees as defenders of democracy, even if they are democrats.

Cheney, who lost her Republican primary earlier this year, was cut by GOP leaders for her outspoken denial of Trump’s false claims about a stolen election and her service on a House committee investigating the Capitol attack.

She campaigned against an Arizona gubernatorial candidate who denied Kari Lake’s election and the Republican nominee for Secretary of State, later scolding Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) for the flight there in the stump for the lake. She formally endorsed and stunned Democratic Representative Elissa Slotkin in Michigan over Republican challenger Tom Barrett, and in Ohio this week said she would support Democratic Senate candidate Tim Ryan over Trump-backed JD Vance.

Trump supported Spanberger’s opponent Vega last week – the support she reduced — and has previously sympathized with the Jan. 6 rioters as being unfairly persecuted, calling them “a group of people exercising their First Amendment right,” according to an audio recording released by the Virginia Democratic Party early in the campaign for its April 20 candidate forum.

On the recording of the same forum acquired by VPM, Vega further said that “there is evidence that continues to emerge that indicates that the 2020 election was tampered with.” She said she would not call the election “stolen”. But the comments also named former Virginia Republican congressman Denver Riggleman appear in a campaign supporting Spanbergercalling Vega’s election comments “code language for everyone on the stop-and-steal bus.”

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In an interview with The Post in September, when asked if she recognized President Biden as legitimately elected, Vega replied, “He’s the president of the United States.” She would not answer yes or no when pressed, saying the line of questioning was irrelevant to voters in her district who are concerned about the economy. She repeated that Biden is the president and added that “the American people elected him.” Asked what she thought of Trump’s false claims of voter fraud, Vega said, “I’m not Donald Trump, I don’t know what’s going on in his head and I can’t speak to what he’s said.”

Vega has otherwise avoided discussing Trump, whose unpopularity in Virginia’s suburbs largely fueled the blue wave that swept the country in 2018. carried by Spanberger took office, along with two other Democratic colleagues, Elaine Luria and Jennifer Wexton, who are now in a tight race.

Cheney developed a relationship with several Democrats with national security backgrounds elected that year, including Lurie, who serves with Cheney on the Jan. 6 committee. Spanberger, in fact, said she and Cheney were huddled in the same safe room together as violence engulfed the Capitol on Jan. 6.

Speaking at a forum at the Harvard Kennedy School last month, Cheney described Spanberger, Luria, Slotkin and Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (D-Penn.) as “women I may not agree with on some issues, but man, they’re there for the right reason.”

“They work hard and I know they want what’s best for the country,” Cheney said, according to the report Harvard Gazette. “And I know we can have a discussion and a disagreement and figure out where we agree. These are the people you can trust with the future of this country.”

Spanberger said in a statement that she appreciates that Cheney has “consistently put the safety and security of our country and the defense of our democracy above partisanship, and I thank her for showing principled leadership in doing so.”

“I am grateful for her support of my re-election campaign, and while she and I often disagree on policy, we share a commitment to public service, governing with integrity and protecting the strength of our democracy,” Spanberger said. “She understands that my work for Virginia is based on the principle of putting our country first — before party — always.”

The race in Virginia’s 7th District is considered a toss-up, and along with contested races in Virginia’s 2nd and 10th Districts, political analysts see it as a key bellwether to gauge how well Republicans are doing in their bid to take control of Congress.

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