Congresswoman Liz Cheney is slated to speak at Arizona State University’s McCain Institute on Wednesday after she made remarks last month saying she would like to work against Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake.
“I’m going to do everything I can to make sure Kari Lake is not elected,” the outgoing congresswoman said at the Texas Tribune festival in September.
When asked if she would campaign for a Democrat instead, she replied “Yes.”
.@Liz_Cheney: “I’m going to do everything I can to make sure Kari Lake is not elected.”
Does that include campaigning for Democrats?
— Texas Tribune (@TexasTribune) September 25, 2022
According to the event listing, Cheney’s conversation is in partnership with the Knight Foundation for their “Defending American Democracy Program: Dialogues on the Future of U.S. Democracy” series.
While it will be interesting to see if Cheney doubles down on her remarks about the race between Republican Kari Lake and Democrat Katie Hobbs, who’s the Arizona Secretary of State, nobody should be expecting an outright endorsement of Hobbs just yet.
“Any anti-Lake campaigning Cheney may choose to do would likely take place closer to the election,” Washington Post reporter Yvonne Wingett Sanchez pointed out.
Any anti-Lake campaigning Cheney may choose to do would likely take place closer to the election. https://t.co/K5v6XrfCCU
— YvonneWingettSanchez 🏜 (@yvonnewingett) October 3, 2022
As I mentioned in a commentary piece when the congresswoman first spoke out against Lake, an unintended consequence of Cheney’s vocal opposition to her would be a boost in Republican enthusiasm.
While it makes sense that Cheney would not support Lake, her desire to get involved in the race would be a poorly calculated move and a waste of time on her end. It also misses the mark on what the average Arizona voter cares about, and it would therefore not be an effective use of Cheney’s resources and influence.
If she wanted to very publicly communicate to Arizona her opposition to the Republican nominee, whether that’s through a commercial or hitting the campaign trail with Hobbs, it would only empower and mobilize Lake’s biggest supporters. It might even boost voter turnout among Republicans, due to their strong dislike of Cheney.
“That might be the biggest, best gift I have ever received,” Lake told Fox News after Cheney’s original comments.
“The Republican Party, the new Republican Party, is the party of we, the people. It is no longer the party of warmongers,” she added.
Cheney might not wade too heavily into the governor’s race due to the setting of the upcoming conversation, but it’s certainly something to keep an eye on. An endorsement of Hobbs by Cheney will certainly make headlines, but might not give the Democrat the boost she would hope for.
Disclaimer: Cameron Arcand is a student at Arizona State University.