Trump-backed challenger beats Republican Liz Cheney in U.S. midterm primary

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JACKSON, Wyo., Aug. 16 (Reuters) – U.S. Representative Liz Cheney, a fierce Republican critic of Donald Trump who has played a prominent role in the congressional investigation into the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, lost to a Trump-backed primaries challenger on Tuesday.

Cheney’s defeat to Harriet Hageman marks a major victory for the former president in his campaign to oust Republicans who supported him after a mob of his supporters stormed the Capitol last year.

In admitting to the race, Cheney said she was unwilling to “go along with President Trump’s lie about the 2020 election” to win a primary.

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“It would have required me to facilitate his continued efforts to unravel our democratic system and attack the very foundations of our republic. That was a path I could not and would not take,” she told a rally of her supporters.

The fate of Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski, who also supported the impeachment and will face another Trump-backed candidate on Tuesday, remains unclear. The polls for that primary, a nonpartisan form in which the top four voters advance to the general election, are not closed yet.

With 58% of the expected votes counted, Hageman led the Republican field with 62.4% of the vote, followed by Cheney with 33.5% and state legislator Anthony Bouchard with 2.4% according to Edison Research.

Both Wyoming and Alaska are reliably Republican, making it unlikely that the outcome of either will affect whether President Joe Biden’s Democrats lose their wafer-thin Congressional majority. Republicans are expected to retake the House and also have a chance to win control of the Senate.

Cheney’s impeachment is nevertheless the latest sign of Trump’s lasting rule over the Republican Party. Trump, who has hinted that he will run for president in 2024, made ending Cheney’s congressional career a priority among the 10 House Republicans targeted in his support of his 2021 impeachment.

Cheney, daughter of Republican former Vice President Dick Cheney, says Trump is a threat to democracy. She has used her position on the Jan. 6 committee to draw attention to Trump’s actions around the Capitol riots and his false claims that he won the 2020 election.

Hageman, a natural resource attorney who has embraced Trump’s election lies, criticized Cheney’s concession speech, saying it showed she cared little about the issues facing her state.

“Still focusing on an obsession with President Trump and the people of Wyoming, Wyoming voters sent a very loud message tonight,” Hageman told Fox News.

TRUMP IMPACT

Cheney voted in the House to impeach Trump on charges of instigating the Capitol riot, while Murkowski voted in the Senate to impeach him on that charge. Trump was eventually acquitted.

Of the 10 Republicans who supported impeachment, only one — Dan Newhouse of Washington — may sit in Congress after November’s general election, according to J. Miles Coleman of the University of Virginia Center for Politics.

“She took a position of principle,” he said of Cheney’s impeachment vote and the work on the congressional committee investigating the insurgency. “It’s almost as if this race was decided on January 6th.”

As in Wyoming, Trump’s support for Republican Alaska is unlikely to provide an opening for Democrats. But they have raised Tshibaka, who is trying to take Republican Murkowski’s Senate seat.

Under new laws that eliminated partisan primaries and introduced ranked electoral votes, Murkowski is expected to be among the top four vote catchers to advance to the general election, with Tshibaka as her most serious opponent.

Murkowski, a moderate, is seen as a frontrunner.

Voters in Alaska will also determine whether they want Sarah Palin, a Republican meerkat and former governor who has supported Trump for the state’s only seat in the House, to complete the term of Don Young, who died in March.

The special election is a three-way contest between Palin, the 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate, fellow Republican Nick Begich III, and Democrat Mary Peltola.

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Reporting by Liliana Salgado in Jackson, Wyoming, and Nathan Layne in Wilton, Connecticut, additional reporting by Eric Beech and Moira Warburton; Editing by Scott Malone and Alistair Bell

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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