Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, Donald Trump’s closest Republican opponent in Congress, was defeated in a GOP primary on Tuesday, falling to a rival backed by the former president in a contest that increased his hold on the party’s grassroots .
The third-term congresswoman and her allies went into the day optimistic about their prospects, aware that Trump’s support gave Harriet Hageman a significant boost in the state where he won by the widest margin during the 2020 campaign. Cheney was already looking to a political future beyond Capitol Hill that could include a presidential bid in 2024, potentially putting her on another collision course with Trump.
Cheney described her loss as the beginning of a new chapter in her political career as she addressed a small gathering of supporters, including her father, former Vice President Dick Cheney, at the edge of a vast field flanked by mountains and bales of hay.
“Our work is far from over,” she said.
Liz Cheney is fighting for a spot as Trump tested in Wyoming and Alaska
Four hundred miles east, festive Hageman devotees gathered for a sprawling outdoor rodeo and western culture festival in Cheyenne, many wearing cowboy boots, hats and blue jeans.
The results were a stark reminder of the GOP’s rapid shift to the right. A party once dominated by national-security-oriented, pro-business conservatives like Dick Cheney is now owned by Trump, buoyed by his populist appeal and, most importantly, his denial of defeat in the 2020 election.
These lies, flatly rejected by federal and state election officials along with Trump’s own attorney general and judges appointed by him, transformed Cheney from an occasional critic of the former president into the clearest voice within the GOP warning that he poses a threat to democracy norms.
Cheney says Trump’s pressure on Pence to overturn the 2020 election was “illegal and unconstitutional.”
Cheney’s defeat would have been unthinkable two years ago. The daughter of a former vice president comes from one of the most prominent political families in Wyoming. And in Washington, she was the 3rd house Republican, an influential voice in GOP politics and politics with a solid conservative voting record.
But after a mob of Trump supporters attacked the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, Cheney voted to impeach Trump and made it her primary responsibility to ensure he never serves in the Oval Office again. She pushed past GOP censorship and death threats to serve as head of the congressional panel investigating Trump’s role in the insurgency.
Cheney will now be forced out of Congress at the end of her third and final term in January. She is not expected to leave Capitol Hill quietly.
She will continue her leadership role on the congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack until it disbands at the end of the year. And she’s actively considering a 2024 White House bid — as a Republican or an independent — and has vowed to do everything in her power to combat Trump’s influence in her party.
Liz Cheney’s fall demonstrates Trump’s continued influence in the GOP
So far it’s a one-sided fight.
Tuesday’s main contests in Wyoming, and to a lesser extent Alaska, demonstrated the continued strength of Trump and his brand of hard-line politics ahead of November’s midterm elections. So far, the former president has helped install loyalists parroting his conspiracy theories in general elections from Pennsylvania to Arizona. Echoing Trump, livestock industry lawyer Hageman falsely claimed the 2020 election was “rigged.”
In Alaska, another Trump ally, former Gov. Sarah Palin, was also hoping to step into the national spotlight on Tuesday.
The 2008 vice presidential nominee was actually on the ballot twice: once in a special election to end former Rep. Don Young’s term in office, and another for a full two-year term in the House of Representatives beginning in January.
Across the GOP’s tent, a regular Trump critic, US Senator Lisa Murkowski, has had a chance to survive the former president’s wrath even after she voted to sentence him in his second impeachment trial. Alaska’s top four Senate candidates, regardless of party, will advance to November’s general election, where voters will rank them in order of preference.
GOP dumps Liz Cheney from top house post over anti-Trump comments
With Cheney’s loss, Republicans who voted to impeach Trump are dying out.
In all, seven Republican senators and 10 members of the Republican House of Representatives backed Trump’s impeachment in the days after his supporters stormed the US Capitol as Congress sought to confirm President Joe Biden’s victory. Only two of those 10 members of the House of Representatives won their primaries this year. After two Senate resignations, Murkowski remains the only such Senate Republican in this year’s election.
In Wyoming, Cheney had been forced to seek help from the state’s tiny Democratic minority. But Democrats across America, including big donors, took notice. She raised at least $15 million for her election, a staggering number for a Wyoming political contest.
But the makeup of Wyoming’s deeply Republican electorate was too large to overcome. As of August 1, 2022, Wyoming had 285,000 registered voters, including 40,000 Democrats and 208,000 Republicans. Trump received almost 70% of the vote in 2016 and 2020.
Liz Cheney Responds After Being Ousted From Republican Party Leadership: ‘We Cannot Be Retired’
When Cheney eventually runs for president — either as a Republican or as an independent — don’t expect her to win Wyoming’s three electoral votes.
“We like Trump. She tried to impeach Trump,” Cheyenne voter Chester Barkell said Tuesday of Cheney. “I don’t trust Liz Cheney.”
And in Jackson, Republican voter Dan Winder said he felt betrayed by his congressman.
“Over 70 percent of Wyoming residents voted Republican in the last presidential election, and they turned around and voted against us,” said Winder, a hotel manager. “She was our representative, not her own.”
A crowded GOP race could pave the way to Trump’s return
There was no indication that the FBI’s recent search of Trump’s Florida home played a role in Tuesday’s election.
Just eight days ago, the FBI seized 11 sets of classified records from Trump’s home. Some were labeled as “departmental sensitive information,” a special category designed to protect the nation’s most important secrets. Republicans across the country initially backed the former president, although the reaction became somewhat mixed as more details emerged.
Anti-Trump Republicans across the country cheered Cheney’s willingness to challenge Trump, though they expressed disappointment at their loss.
“What’s remarkable is that she never faltered once in the face of almost certain defeat,” said Sarah Longwell, executive director of the Republican Accountability Project. “We watched an American national figure being forged. It’s funny how small the election feels — the Wyoming election — because now it feels bigger.”
Peoples reported from New York. AP writer Thomas Peipert in Cheyenne contributed.
© 2022 The Canadian Press
https://globalnews.ca/news/9064771/liz-cheney-primary-loss-trump/ Liz Cheney loses Republican primary in Wyoming on reprimand from Trump supporters – National