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Trump critic Liz Cheney defeated in Wyoming primary; Murkowski advances in Alaska

Liz Cheney
U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., arrives to a primary night event on August 16, 2022, in Jackson, Wyoming. Rep. Cheney was defeated in her primary race by Wyoming Republican congressional candidate Harriet Hageman. |

As expected, a staunch critic of former President Donald Trump has lost the Republican nomination for her seat in Congress, becoming the fourth and most high-profile Republican serving in the U.S. House of Representatives to lose renomination after supporting his impeachment. 

Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., lost the Republican primary for renomination to her state’s sole seat in the House Tuesday. Cheney lost to Harriet Hageman, who Trump endorsed. Unofficial election results show Hageman capturing more than 66% of the vote, followed by Cheney at approximately 29% of the vote. 

At a speech delivered in Jackson, Wyoming, Tuesday night, located in the only county that decisively voted against the former president in both 2016 and 2020, Cheney said, “the great and original champion of our party, Abraham Lincoln, was defeated in elections for the Senate and the House before he won the most important election of all,” referring to the presidency. She then compared herself to Lincoln and Civil War Union General Ulysses S. Grant, suggesting that her advocacy against Trump would not be in vain.

Cheney drew the ire of Trump over her support for his second impeachment as well as her role on the January 6th Committee, which was established by House Democrats to investigate the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol and whether they can implicate Trump for what happened that day and make him less popular if he were to run for a second presidential term.

Cheney was one of 10 Republicans who voted to impeach the former president. Four of the other nine opted to retire rather than seek another term in Congress, while three others have lost renomination to Trump-aligned challengers. 

Only two of the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump are heading to the general election as the Republican nominee in their respective congressional districts: Reps. Dan Newhouse, R-Wash., and David Valadao, R-Calif. While Newhouse will likely prevail in a congressional district that favored Trump by more than 17 points in the 2020 presidential election, Valadao could lose the general election against a Democrat in a district that supported President Joe Biden by 13 points that same year. 

Of all the House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump, Cheney was perhaps the most outspoken and high-profile. She is the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney and served as the chair of the House Republican Caucus until her vehement criticism of the former president caused a majority of House Republicans to vote to remove her from that role. 

Additionally, Cheney was one of 47 Republicans who voted in favor of the so-called Respect for Marriage Act, which would codify into law the 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges Supreme Court decision that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide. In an interview on CBS News last year, Cheney proclaimed that she was “wrong” to oppose same-sex marriage in the past.

Even before her advocacy in favor of impeachment, Cheney had become a target of criticism from the former president for her support for an interventionist foreign policy, which has become increasingly unpopular in the Republican Party. At the Jan. 6 rally that preceded the storming of the Capitol that led to the second impeachment, Trump chided Cheney for her views on foreign policy as well as her refusal to challenge the results of the 2020 presidential election. 

Going into the race, the limited available polling showed Cheney trailing Hagerman by double digits. A poll taken of 562 likely Republican primary voters by the University of Wyoming from July 25 to Aug. 6 showed Hageman capturing 57% of the vote, with Cheney receiving just 28% support. All other candidates on the ballot registered minimal support in the single digits. 

Hageman is strongly favored to win the general election to represent Wyoming in the House of Representatives considering the state’s overwhelming support for Trump in the 2020 presidential election. He carried Wyoming over Biden by more than 43 percentage points

Meanwhile, another Trump critic in the Republican Party, Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, has advanced to the general election in her state. Alaska uses a nonpartisan top four primary, where the four candidates who receive the highest number of votes advance to the general election regardless of partisan affiliation. In Tuesday’s primary, Murkowski faced a Trump-backed challenger, Kelly Tshibaka, as well as more than a dozen other candidates

Unofficial results updated early Wednesday morning show that Murkowski has advanced to the general election after capturing nearly 44% of the vote in the primary. Also advancing to the general election are Tshibaka, who received about 40% of the vote, and Chesbro, who won 6.2%. The fourth candidate who will appear on the general election ballot remains undetermined with 67% of the expected vote reported. 

Murkowski was one of seven Senate Republicans to vote in favor of convicting Trump and the only one running for re-election this year.

In addition to her support for impeachment, Murkowski has long faced opposition from conservatives in the Republican Party over her progressive position on the issues of abortion and same-sex marriage, her refusal to support Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court in 2018, her support for Ketanji Brown Jackson’s Supreme Court nomination earlier this year, her support for a 2013 immigration bill derided by critics as amnesty and her opposition to a 2017 bill that would have repealed Obamacare. 

Murkowski lost renomination in the Republican primary in 2010, only to win re-election as a write-in candidate. Her support among independents and Democrats credited with enabling her to win the general election that year may also save her in this year’s general election. 

Alaska uses a ranked-choice voting system to select general election candidates. In the fall, voters will rank the four candidates by preference and the candidate and the candidate with the fewest number of first-place votes are eliminated. Votes for that candidate are transferred to an individual voter’s second choice candidate. The process repeats until any one candidate receives at least 50% of the vote. If a given candidate receives 50% of the vote in the first round, he or she is automatically declared the winner. 

Polling of the general election indicates that Murkowski may survive despite the wishes of Trump and the Alaska Republican Party. A poll of 1,201 likely Alaska voters conducted by Alaska Survey Research from July 2-5 shows that 42.6% of Alaskans would support Tshibaka on the first ballot, followed by 35.3% for Murkowski, 17.4% for Democrat Patricia Chesbro and 4.6% for Alaskan Independence Party candidate Dustin Darden.

In the second round, Darden is eliminated and Tshibaka receives 44.7% of the vote, followed by Murkowski at 35.7% and Chesbro at 19.6%. With Chesbro eliminated in the final round, Murkowski beats Tshibaka with 52.2% of the vote compared to the challenger’s 47.8%. The unofficial results show Darden in 14th place, with 0.3% of the vote, raising questions about whether or not he will make it to the general election. 

Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at: ryan.foley@christianpost.com

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