Liz Cheney lost her primary race for a seat in the US House of Representatives to a challenger backed by Donald Trump, as Republicans in the staunchly conservative western state of Wyoming chastised her for being one of the former president’s most prominent critics in Congress. .
Cheneythe daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, has represented Wyoming in the House of Representatives since 2017. However, she faced an uphill battle for re-election this year after becoming vice chair of a congressional committee investigating the January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol and the impeachment vote Trump, defying the former president and Republican leaders.
In a speech to supporters after her loss, Cheney said she could have won the primary but would have needed to accept Trump’s 2020 election conspiracies. “Our republic relies on the goodwill of all the candidates for office to accept the outcome of the election,” she said. .
Cheney noted that Abraham Lincoln lost congressional races before winning the presidency, and went on to condemn “core elements” of her party who defended the rebels on Jan. 6 and attacked false claims about an FBI search of Trump’s home last week. “Poisonous lies destroy free nations,” she said. “Freedom must not, cannot and will not die here.”
Tuesday’s primary contests in Wyoming and Alaska were among the last before November’s midterm elections. They offer a new test of Trump’s hold on Republican voters after the FBI raided his Mar-a-Lago estate and launched an investigation into his handling of classified national security documents.
Candidates in Congress who have openly criticized Trump have so far had a hard time winning Republican primary races. Tom Rice of South Carolina, Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington state and Peter Meijer of Michigan — who all voted to impeach Trump over his conduct on Jan. 6 — lost their seats to candidates endorsed by the former president. Four others who voted to impeach Trump decided not to run, and only two survived the primaries.
Trump-backed challenger Harriet Hageman led Cheney by nearly 30 percentage points in pre-election polls, leaving the former vice president’s daughter under no illusions about the outcome.
“Today, regardless of the outcome, is certainly the beginning of a battle that will continue,” Cheney told CBS as she cast her vote on Tuesday.
“We are facing a moment in which our democracy is really under attack and threatened. And we around the world – Republicans, Democrats and independents who believe deeply in freedom and who care about the Constitution and the future of the country – have an obligation to put that above party,” she added.
After Mar-a-Lago was raided, Hageman — who also accepted his denial of the 2020 election results — defended Trump, calling the raid “political persecution.”
“If the FBI can do this to the former president, imagine what they can do to the rest of us. It’s a two-tier justice system – one for the elites and one for their political enemies,” Hageman wrote on Twitter.
Even before Cheney’s defeat was projected, Trump and his allies were jubilant. Taylor Budovich, Trump’s spokesman, tweeted a picture of Trump dancing and wrote: “Bye Bye Liz Cheney.”
After the FBI search, Cheney said she was “ashamed to hear members of my party attack the integrity of FBI agents,” criticizing the comments for putting “the lives of patriotic public servants at risk.”
But most importantly, in her latest, quixotic address to voters in Wyoming, she launched an appeal to Americans to abandon the “Big Lie” perpetrated by Trump and his followers about the 2020 election.
“America cannot remain free if we abandon the truth. The lie that the 2020 presidential election was stolen is insidious. Gas on those who love their country,” Cheney said in a short video posted on Twitter.
Cheney has not said whether she would consider running for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024, but that would be a long shot, as conservative voters would demand that she turn her back on both Trump and Trumpism.
In her the role of vice president of the congress committee investigating the Jan. 6 attacks, Cheney said evidence was mounting that Trump had committed wrongdoing in connection with the attack on the Capitol, and that the case for prosecution had grown stronger.
In Alaska, the focus is on whether Sarah Palin, the former governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee, can beat the field of three and win a special election for the House seat.
Another question is whether Lisa Murkowski, an incumbent Republican senator who is considered a relatively moderate, will advance in the general election. Murkowski faces a Trump-backed opponent.