Trump critic Liz Cheney falls within the US primaries, Murkowski survives

  • Cheney loses to Trump-backed challenger in Wyoming
  • She sits on the January 6th committee investigating the Capitol riots
  • Murkowski clears first hurdle in Alaska

JACKSON, Wyo., Aug 17 (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 January 6 attack on the Capitol, lost to a Trump-backed primary challenger in Wyoming on Tuesday.

But Senator Lisa Murkowski, another Republican who has defied the former president, has cleared a hurdle in Alaska. She was scheduled to face Trump-backed challenger Kelly Tshibaka in the Nov. 8 congressional election as the two candidates advanced in that state’s bipartisan primary.

Cheney’s defeat at the hands of Trump-backed Harriet Hageman marks a significant victory for the former president in his campaign to oust Republicans who supported his impeachment after a mob of his supporters stormed the Capitol last year.

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When Cheney gave up the race, she said she wasn’t ready to “agree with President Trump’s lie about the 2020 election” to win a primary.

“It should have required me to enable his ongoing efforts to unravel our democratic system and attack the very foundations of our republic. It was a path I couldn’t and didn’t want to walk,” she told her supporters.

With 99% of the expected ballots being tallied in Wyoming, Hageman led the Republican field with 66.3% of the vote, followed by Cheney with 28.9%, according to Edison Research, an election observation firm.

In Alaska, the results were less clear.

With 72% of the expected ballots, according to Edison, Murkowski narrowly led with 42.7% of the vote, followed by Tshibaka with 41.4% and Democrat Patricia Chesbro with 6.2%. The impartial primary format in this state singles out all but the top four voters.

Murkowski, a moderate who is one of the more independent voices in the Senate, has held the seat since 2003.

Also in Alaska, Edison predicted that no candidate would emerge as a clear winner from the three-way contest to end the term of Representative Don Young, who died in March.

Republican nominee U.S. Representative Liz Cheney walks during her primary party in Jackson, Wyoming, the United States, August 16, 2022. REUTERS/David Stubbs

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In this race, Sarah Palin, a former governor and 2008 vice presidential candidate who was supported by Trump, meets fellow Republican Nick Begich III and Democrat Mary Peltola. The winner will be announced on August 31st.

Both Wyoming and Alaska are reliably Republican, making the results unlikely to affect whether President Joe Biden’s Democrats lose their razor-thin majorities in Congress. Republicans are expected to retake the House of Representatives and also have a chance to gain control of the Senate.

CHOOSE TRUMP CRITICS

Cheney’s fall is the latest sign of Trump’s continued influence in 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 he targeted for supporting his impeachment in 2021.

Cheney, the daughter of former Republican Vice President Dick Cheney, used her position on the Jan. 6 committee investigating the circumstances of the Capitol riots to draw attention to Trump’s actions that day and his false claims that he had the Won 2020 elections.

Republican leaders are expected to dissolve the Jan. 6 investigation if they win control of the House of Representatives in November. The representatives of the new Congress will take their seats in January.

Hageman, a natural resources advocate who has embraced Trump’s election lies, criticized Cheney’s concession speech, saying it shows she cares little about her state’s problems.

“She’s still focused on her obsession with President Trump and the people of Wyoming, Wyoming voters sent a very loud message tonight,” Hageman said on Fox News.

Cheney voted in the House to impeach Trump on inciting a Capitol riot, while Murkowski voted in the Senate to convict him on that charge. Trump was eventually acquitted.

Of the 10 Republicans who backed impeachment, it’s possible only one — Washington’s Dan Newhouse — will be in Congress after November’s election.

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Reporting from Liliana Salgado in Jackson, Wyoming and Nathan Layne in Wilton, Connecticut, with additional reporting from Kanishka Singh, Eric Beech and Moira Warburton; Edited by Andy Sullivan, Scott Malone, Alistair Bell and John Stonestreet

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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