A recent debate between Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) and her opponents in the Wyoming congressional race was closed to the public, due to what the debate organizer described as security concerns and a threat of disruption.
In a statement, Terry Dugas, the general manager of the PBS station which hosted the event, said the debate would forgo a live audience for “security reasons and to prevent people from disrupting the event.”
The debate, which was held Thursday in Sheridan, Wyoming, featured Cheney alongside the four Republicans challenging her for the GOP nomination for Wyoming’s sole seat in the House of Representatives. Most of the night’s action centered around Cheney and Harriet Hageman, an attorney who received former President Donald Trump’s endorsement last September.
During the debate, Hageman claimed that Cheney had failed to represent the interests of Wyoming voters as a representative for the state.
“The people of Wyoming do not believe they are being represented in Congress right now because our representative doesn’t come to Wyoming,” Hageman said. “She doesn’t come here to talk to us, to explain her vote, to defend the decisions she’s making.”
Hageman went on to claim that Cheney was more focused on her position on the House’s Jan. 6 Committee than on “issues that are important to Wyoming.”
Recent polling shows that a significant number of Wyoming voters agree with Hageman’s assessment. Polls consistently show that more voters regard Cheney unfavorably than favorably, and that the incumbent representative is trailing Hageman in the race by as much as 30%.
Much of Cheney’s unpopularity stems from her frequent attacks against Trump. Cheney was one of only 10 Republicans who voted to impeach the former president, and she is also one of only two Republicans currently serving on the House committee investigating the events of Jan. 6.
During the debate, Hageman argued that the committee was a distraction from the real issues facing Wyoming and the nation.
“I think that the press and the people associated with that, the Democrats who want to deflect attention from the failures of the Biden administration, the people who want to deflect attention from all the troubles in this country — they talk about Jan. 6,” she said. “But that’s not what the people in Wyoming are talking about.”