If J.D. Vance is going to defeat Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) in the race to replace retiring Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman on Nov. 8, he will have to do so without the support of Liz Cheney.
Ousted from her seat as a Wyoming congresswoman after voting to impeach former President Donald Trump and losing in the GOP primary, Cheney is touring the country and campaigning against Trump-backed candidates.
During an appearance in Cleveland on Nov. 1, she endorsed Ryan, a 10-term U.S. Representative in northeast Ohio.
“I would not vote for J.D. Vance,” Cheney, told PBS Newshour anchor Judy Woodruff at the Cleveland State University event.
Fueled by a Trump endorsement weeks before the May primary, Vance defeated a crowded field of Republican challengers. Last month, Trump held a rally supporting Vance and other Republican candidates in Ohio.
Trump is scheduled to have another rally for Vance in Dayton, Ohio, on Nov. 7 on Election Day eve.
Ryan is not the first Democrat that Cheney has backed. She endorsed Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.) over Republican state Sen. Tom Barrett.
In an ad, she encouraged Arizona voters to not support Republican gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake and GOP secretary of state candidate Mark Finchem.
Lake responded by thanking Cheney for the “anti-endorsement.”
Cheney, who is a vice chairwoman on the Jan. 6 committee, told Fox News last year that “I would not vote for a Democrat ever.”
After losing the August primary to Harriet Hageman, Cheney’s stance evidently changed.
In her concession speech. Cheney blamed the criticism of her opposition to Trump for her decisive defeat.
“Two years ago, I won this primary with 73 percent of the vote. I could easily have done the same again,” Cheney said.
“The path was clear. But it would have required that I go along with President Trump’s lie about the 2020 election.
“It would have required that I enable his ongoing efforts to unravel our democratic system and attack the foundations of our republic,” Cheney said. “That is a path I could not and would not take.”
Cheney finished her address by hinting about her next steps.
“Tonight, Harriet Hageman received the most votes in this primary. She won. I called her to concede the race. This primary election is over. But now, the real work begins,” Cheney said.
During her appearance in Cleveland, Cheney urged voters to reject Vance and other Republican candidates who believe that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from Trump.
She also said that Republicans have a responsibility to oppose candidates who do not think that Biden was duly elected.
“While we can say, look, the Biden economic policies are not policies we would support, and we believe in limited government, low taxes and a strong national defense, we don’t even get to have those debates if we elect Donald Trump again,” Cheney said.
“And we don’t get to have that debate if we elect election deniers who embrace what the former president is doing and saying now, and what we know now that he was willing to do, and what we know that he did.”
At a town hall in Columbus on Nov. 1, Vance was asked about his comments that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from Trump.
“Look, I have said that and I won’t run away from it. And here’s particularly what I mean by that. Here’s what I worry about,” Vance said.
“A number of state courts, including lower courts in the state of Pennsylvania, have found they didn’t conduct their election in accordance with their own state constitution and in accordance with their own state laws. That’s not me making it up. That’s actually what these lower courts have held.
“Well, you want important battleground states to do what Ohio has done, which is run free and fair elections—consistent, secure elections. That’s really, really important.
“The second thing that I really worry about—and you hear a lot in America—people are worried about threats to our democracy,” Vance added.
“I happen to think the biggest threat to American democracy today is big technology companies in bed with the Communist Chinese who are censoring information.”
Ryan criticized Vance for his viewpoints about the 2020 election. In Cleveland, Cheney added that, if she were a registered voter in Ohio, she would cast her ballot for Ryan.
Jeremy Adler, a Cheney spokesman, also told the Cleveland Plain Dealer that she would vote for DeWine, a Republican who is considered a moderate by many Ohioans who disapprove of how he handled the COVID crisis.
“Liz is supporting him because he’s a good conservative governor, a traditional Republican, and respects the legitimacy of elections,” Adler said.
On Twitter, GOP political strategist and Vance political adviser Andy Surabian wrote that Cheney’s support would damage Ryan’s bid.
“I think my favorite thing about this is Liz Cheney being so delusional that she actually thinks her endorsement is a net positive for anyone,” Surabian wrote in a tweet.
A Vance campaign spokesperson said in a statement that “This election will be decided by Ohioans, not creatures of the swamp in D.C.
“Liz Cheney’s endorsement is the kiss of death for Tim Ryan and will lose him far more votes than it gains.”