Will ousting of Rep. Cheney affect Sen. Mitt Romney? This political expert doesn’t think so

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FILE – In this June 9, 2020, file photo, Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, talks to reporters as he arrives for the weekly Republican policy luncheon on Capitol Hill in Washington. Romney said Friday, Aug. 14, 2020, that politicians attacking the vote by mail system are threatening global democracy but stopped short of criticizing President Donald Trump who has been openly against an expected surge of mail-in ballots, which he worries could cost him reelection. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

Utah (ABC4) – On Wednesday, House Republicans ousted Rep. Liz Cheney from her leadership position after the Wyoming lawmaker consistently rebuked former President Donald Trump for election fraud claims.

Utah Senator Mitt Romney was recently censured by the Weber County Republican Party. Sen. Romney, like Rep. Cheney, has openly rebuked Trump on multiple occasions.

The decision to oust Cheney based on her views about the former president may leave some wondering if and how this decision will affect Sen. Romney.

Jason Perry, the Director of the Hinckley Institute of Politics, tells ABC4 he doesn’t think this means a whole lot for the Utah senator.

“… I say that because this is entirely consistent with where he has been as a member of our delegation. He has not been someone who has been supportive of President Trump… so really it’s not a big difference for him. It’s a position he has staked out personally for a little while, including with his vote to convict on impeachment in the Senate,” Perry states. “If anything, he’s had a similar view that she has had.”

Perry says the decision to oust Cheney from her leadership position as the No. 3 Republican in the House of Representatives is not something we’ve seen in recent memory.

“When you see someone in a leadership position who is removed because they are outspoken about one particular issue- here when it comes to the former president of the United States- it is a very unique position, and it is one that Republicans are going to have to keep talking about and keep explaining. We saw that from our own elected officials in the state of Utah as they explained their votes,” he states.

Republicans are trying to walk a fine line to keep both Trump supporters and more moderate Republicans supporting the party to win elections next year, Perry says.

“The Republicans are going to have to walk that very fine line where they’re trying not to alienate any of those potential voters. They want to keep those Trump supporters. They want to keep the people from the other end that might be more inclined toward Mitt Romney. The Republican party needs all of them,” he explains.

“One, they want to keep the Trump base that shows up and votes, but at the same time, what they want to do is win elections next year. Not just to have those particularly highly motivated voters, but to get more moderate portions of the party.”

According to Perry, Utah representatives who voted in favor of ousting Cheney did so to root out discord in the party.

“Congressman Stewart and Congressman Curtis both voted to remove Representative Cheney, and both of them had a variation of, it’s time to unify the Republican Party, and that’s why they voted. They saw the conversations that were happening in Washington D.C. around President Trump as causing discord in the Republican Party that would have an impact at the voting box next year.”

There are different segments of the Republican Party, both nationally and locally- some that support Republicans like Romney- and some that don’t, Perry says. And Romney is under no illusion that he likely won’t gain favor with all Republicans.

“He had that censure that came from them, but he also had a segment of the Republican Party at the convention two weeks ago, we also saw them boo him when he came on stage,” Perry says of Sen. Mitt Romney. “This is not a unique position for him even in the state of Utah. I don’t think he worries about that particular segment of the party. He has plenty of time before his next election, but he also has been clear that he does not see himself as the person that needs to explain or justify the former president of the United States.”

Perry says the Republican Party needs all types of Republicans in order to win votes.

“You have people who like Mitt Romney. You have people who like Senator Mike Lee, and the Republican Party needs all of them. I think that’s the message you’re going to see over the next couple of weeks, particularly as some of these elected officials explain their votes on Representative Cheney or the position they would have taken if they had been in their shoes,” he states.

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