In Alaska, voters cast their ballots in another race the former president is focusing on, with Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski facing off in the first of two rounds against Trump-endorsed Kelly Tshibaka.
Former Governor Sarah Palin, meanwhile, is attempting a political comeback in a special election for the state’s only seat in the House.
Trump and his allies spent the spring and summer turning the Republican primaries on the political map into uphill battles in which loyalty to the former president was the central factor.
He lost high-profile battles, including in Georgia, where Governor Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger fended off Trump challengers.
But in most open-seat races, Trump’s nominees have prevailed. And on Tuesday in Wyoming, Trump, who had backed Hageman the day she entered the race against Cheney, scored his biggest victory yet.
Cheney is now the eighth of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump after the Jan. 6, 2021 uprising on Capitol Hill to leave the House. Four chose not to seek re-election and four others lost the GOP primaries.
Cheney chose to fight Trump
Ahead of Tuesday’s primary, Cheney insisted she was trying to win.
But her strategy — trying to convince the Republican electorate in a state the former president won by a 43 percentage point margin in 2020 to backfire — suggests she had made a different choice: swing.
She infuriated Republicans by urging Wyoming Democrats and unaffiliated voters to change their party registration and vote in Tuesday’s GOP primary.
Surrounded by United States Capitol Police officers during the campaign trail, Cheney opted for small, private events over rallies. She lambasted Trump in TV interviews.
His campaign’s closing message was a TV ad featuring his father, former Vice President Dick Cheney, calling Trump a “coward” who lies to his supporters and “tried to steal the last election” using the violence.
His election night event, at a ranch in Jackson Hole with the sun setting over the Grand Tetons in the background, featured no TV screens for supporters to watch the tallied results in a race Cheney was almost certain to to lose.
She told her supporters that she could have come closer to Trump and done what she did in the primaries two years earlier: win with 73% of the vote.
“It was a path I couldn’t and didn’t want to take,” Cheney said. “No seat in the House, no office in this country is more important than the principles we are all sworn to uphold. And I fully understand the potential political consequences of upholding my duty.”
Cheney’s decision to use the spotlight of his high-profile House primary to play on Trump has never won in Wyoming. But it endeared her to a segment of anti-Trump donors and positioned her as the GOP’s most vocal critic of Trump.
What’s next for Cheney?
The three-term MP has not been definitive about her next political moves. She told NBC’s “Today” show on Wednesday that she was “thinking” about running for president and would make a decision in “the coming months.” And after his defeat, his campaign filed documents with the Federal Election Commission creating a leadership PAC called “The Great Task” – a nod to Abraham Lincoln, who spoke at Gettysburg about the “great task” at which the country is facing.
Cheney used his election night speech to preview an ongoing fight against Trump, without explaining exactly what that means.
“I’ve said since January 6 that I will do whatever it takes to ensure that Donald Trump is never near the Oval Office again, and I mean it. This is a fight for all of us, together.” she declared.
“I am a conservative Republican. … But I love my country more. So I ask you tonight to join me: as we leave here, let us resolve that we will stand together, Republicans, Democrats and Independents, against those who would destroy our republic.”
As she left the stage, Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down” rang out over the speakers at the event.
Awaiting Alaska Special Election Results
Palin, the 2008 Republican vice-presidential nominee who hasn’t run since then, is attempting a political comeback in the House special election to fill the remaining months of the late GOP Rep’s term. , Don Young.
But it will take weeks to determine whether she wins the runoff election against businessman and fellow Republican Nick Begich III and former Democratic lawmaker Mary Peltola.
The special election is the first in Alaska to use the state’s new ranked voting system. CNN predicted that none of the three candidates would receive more than 50% of the vote in the first round, meaning the state will tabulate the second-choice votes on August 31.
The ranked-choice system could prove problematic for Palin, whose decision to step down midway through her gubernatorial term in 2009 still angers many voters in the state. Begich III, the Republican scion of Alaska’s most famous Democratic political family — his grandfather Nick Begich was a state congressman until his plane went missing in 1972, and his uncle Mark Begich was a senator — seeks to capitalize on this hardened opposition to Palin.
The top four candidates from a very open special primary in June qualified for the second round. But one of those candidates, independent Al Gross, later dropped out of the race, a move that likely spurred Peltola, who is seeking to make history as the first Alaskan native in Congress.
A second race for the same seat
Just as Alaska took its House seat in Tuesday’s special election, the state held a primary for November’s general election for a full term for the same seat. Palin, Begich III and Peltola will all advance to another top-four runoff, CNN predicted, with Republican Tara Sweeney, an Alaska Native backed by the state’s powerful Native-owned corporations who served as Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs in the United States Department of the Interior. under the Trump administration.
Other key races to watch in Alaska
Trump has also set his sights on Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski, who was among seven Republican senators who voted to convict him in his second impeachment trial. Trump Endorses Former Alaska Department of Administration Commissioner Kelly Tshibaka; he traveled to the state to organize a rally for Tshibaka in July.
However, Alaska’s nonpartisan primary system — like the House race, the top four, regardless of party, qualify for the general election — means Murkowski and Tshibaka will qualify for the general election, predicted. CNN. Democrat Patricia Chesbro will also advance, and a fourth candidate has yet to be screened.
In another competitive top-four primary in Alaska, current governor Republican Mike Dunleavy and his independent predecessor Bill Walker will both advance to the general election alongside Democrat Les Gara, CNN predicted. The fourth candidate has not yet been screened. Walker, who was elected in 2014 but dropped out of his 2018 re-election bid to support a Democrat who lost to Dunleavy, is backed by some moderate Democrats and Republicans who tout his decision to expand Medicaid and his opposition to restrictions on the right to abortion.
This story has been updated with additional developments.