U.S. House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy on Thursday endorsed a primary challenger to Republican Representative Liz Cheney, a prominent critic of former President Donald Trump.
McCarthy, who represents California, said in a statement he will back Harriet Hageman in the Republican primary in Wyoming set for August.
The move comes almost two weeks after the party censured Cheney and Representative Adam Kinzinger for joining House Democrats in an investigation into the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
Cheney was among 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump on a charge of incitement of insurrection in connection with the attack.
“I am proud to endorse Harriet Hageman for Congress,” McCarthy said. “The most successful Representatives in Congress focus on the needs of their constituents, and throughout her career, Harriet has championed America’s natural resources and helped the people of Wyoming reject burdensome and onerous government overreach.”
Hageman, a land-use lawyer, is among several candidates seeking to unseat Cheney from Wyoming’s lone House seat in Washington.
The race has mobilized out-of-state donors to contribute to Cheney’s campaign. Hageman has stressed that a majority of the funds that her campaign has collected came from Wyoming residents who can cast a ballot in the primary.
McCarthy joins Trump and Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky in backing Hageman.