Pressure is building for Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) to reach a decision on her political future. Cheney can run for an open seat in the Senate, or she can remain in the House. Some say she could make history one day as the first female Republican Speaker.
Her decision will have a big impact for her party. For now rank-and-file lawmakers and other ambitious rivals are left guessing what move she’ll make next.
The filing deadline to enter the Senate race to replace retiring Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) isn’t until May 2020. A number of Republicans said they anticipate the two-term Wyoming Republican will make an announcement in the coming months.
“I think there’s an expectation among her colleagues that she’ll make her intentions known by the end of the year or soon after, so people are clear about where things stand in advance of campaign season,” one GOP operative with relationships to House members said.
“I think it’s an accurate assessment [on pressure for her to announce]; she hasn’t made any official announcement and there’s a variety of waffling that comes out,” said a GOP lawmaker, who asked for anonymity to speak candidly about the situation.
If Cheney does run for the Senate, she will have to vacate her leadership position, potentially leaving the House GOP without a woman in leadership. Her departure also would negatively impact the already dwindling number of Republican women in the House.
House members say Cheney’s skills as a leader, along with the party’s gender issues, are both reasons why many of her colleagues are pressuring her to stay.
“I think there’s pressure on anybody to stay in the House when you have somebody that has a good track record, does well with policy and does well on the communication side,” a second GOP lawmaker.
“But especially — I’m not going to pretend that it doesn’t matter — if you have someone when we’re already diminished among the different genders — it always helps to have some strong people in that category.”
Cheney would be a coveted recruit for the Senate.