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Harriet Hageman Goes From Anti-Trump Plotter to His Champion vs. Liz Cheney

It soon became clear the Trump team had peeled away enough support from Mr. Cuccinelli that the vote would not be close. Mr. Trump’s allies forced a vote that would affirmatively declare delegates to be bound by the results of their state’s nominating contest.

When it was time to vote, 87 stood in favor of binding delegates.

Only 12, including Ms. Hageman and Mr. Lee, voted in opposition, far short of the 28 needed to put the question of unbinding delegates to a vote of the full convention, which would have been a potentially embarrassing spectacle for Mr. Trump. Though the fight was over, Ms. Hageman participated in meetings over the next few days in which Cruz delegates discussed whether they had any remaining options to stop Mr. Trump.

Mr. Trump, who endorsed Ms. Hageman this month, is aware of her support for Mr. Cruz in 2016 and, during his interview with her this summer before he made his decision, briefly touched on her role in the effort to stop Mr. Trump from claiming the nomination, according to a person familiar with their talks who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the endorsement process. Mr. Trump, who has taken particular pleasure in collecting the support of converted never-Trumpers, worked to clear the Wyoming field for Ms. Hageman, sending a fleet of aides to work for her and asking other candidates to drop out of the race after he made the endorsement.

The former president has for months focused on ousting Ms. Cheney. His aides and his son Donald Trump Jr. tried unsuccessfully in March to change Wyoming’s election law in a way that would have hurt the congresswoman’s re-election prospects.

Ms. Hageman, Mr. Trump said in his endorsement, “is all in for America First.”

It took years for Ms. Hageman to become an unabashed Trump supporter.

When she ran for Wyoming governor in 2018, Mr. Trump endorsed Foster Friess, a billionaire conservative donor who had backed Mr. Trump’s 2016 effort. Mr. Friess, who died in May, finished second to Mark Gordon, who was the state treasurer and is now Wyoming’s governor. Ms. Hageman placed third.

Ms. Hageman was known for her penchant to attack fellow Republican candidates in debates. She did not invoke Mr. Trump or his campaign themes in her television advertising.