JACKSON, Wyo. – Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., a former House GOP leader and daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, was ousted in a Republican primary Tuesday night, NBC News projects.
Former President Donald Trump’s name was not on the ballot, but his shadow overshadowed the contest as he sought revenge for Cheney’s vote last year to impeach him and his work on the committee investigating his conduct before the January 6 attack on the Capitol. . His handpicked challenger, Harriet Hageman, defeated Cheney in a multi-candidate race.
Speaking to supporters about Trump and the events of January 6, Cheney conceded that he had lost. He said he had called Hageman to concede even though it seemed to contrast with Trump, who refuses to admit he lost the 2020 election and continues to perpetuate the lie that he was robbed of a second term. He also hinted that he does not do politics.
“This primary election is over,” Cheney said. “But now the real work begins.”
With his parents sitting in the audience, Cheney pointed out that he won the primaries two years ago with more than 70 percent of the vote and could have done the same Tuesday night if he had bought into Trump’s campaign lies.
“That was a path I couldn’t and didn’t want to take,” he said.
And without specifying how, Cheney vowed to continue his crusade against Trump, who is likely to run for president again in 2024.
“We have to be very clear about the threat we face,” he said, repeating a pledge to “do whatever it takes to make sure Donald Trump is nowhere near the Oval Office again.”
The Republican Party is important to her, Cheney added, but “I love my country more.”
Trump congratulated Hageman and moved on to Cheney in a message he posted on his social media platform Tuesday afternoon.
“This is a wonderful result for America and a complete rebuke of the Unselect Committee on Political Hacks and Thugs,” he wrote, referring to the House committee investigating on Jan. 6. “Liz Cheney should be ashamed of herself, the way she acted. , and her spiteful and punitive words and actions towards others. Now she can finally disappear into the depths of political oblivion where, I’m sure, he’ll be much happier than now.”
Rep. Liz Cheney joins TODAY live Wednesday for an exclusive interview. Tune in at 7am ET.
Hageman, in prepared remarks his campaign said he planned to deliver in his victory speech, said his victory “has put the elites on notice: We will no longer tolerate representatives who do not represent us.”
She also credited Trump for pushing her with his endorsement.
“We are all grateful to President Donald Trump, who understood that Wyoming only has one representative in Congress and we need to make sure it counts,” Hageman planned. “His clear and unwavering support from the start propelled us to victory tonight.”
Cheney’s battles with Trump cost him his place in the House GOP leadership last year and now his seat, but they also gave him an elevated platform, a monstrous fundraising profile and respect some Democrats who insulted his father.
Split-screen images of Cheney losing popularity at home while her profile rose nationally have raised questions about whether she will seek the presidency or move to another role that keeps her at the helm of the bipartisan anti-Trump coalition.
In his concession speech, Cheney compared himself to Abraham Lincoln, a Republican who lost a Senate race before winning the presidency, ending slavery and winning the Civil War.
Not forgetting his loss, Cheney compared Trump’s attacks on federal law enforcement after the search of his Mar-a-Lago home last week to his actions before Jan. 6.
“Donald Trump knows that voicing these conspiracies will lead to violence and threats of violence,” he said. “It is entirely foreseeable that the violence will increase further.”
Cheney is the latest Republican to fall to a primary challenger backed by Trump after voting to impeach him. Four of the 10 opted out, three have already lost the primaries and two survived the primaries. In one of those two contests, Trump did not endorse a challenger.
On Tuesday, no one could mistake Cheney for a Trump-style populist at his election night party.
Held on a sprawling ranch with the stunning backdrop of the Teton Mountains, Cheney’s was an incongruously urban affair that featured a country band, beer and wine bars, a barbecue truck and fresh fruit platters .
Valets parked cars for guests and moved them to a set of tented tables in four-door SUVs. Next to the stage set aside for his remarks was a bright red old Chevy truck.
Cheney was first elected to the House seat her father once held in 2016, and was immediately labeled a rising star because of her background, both her father’s legacy and her experience as to a senior State Department official, and his ability to convey political messages with force. and succinctly
In only his second term, he took the head of the GOP conference, the third place among Republicans with the party in the minority. But Jan. 6 and its aftermath served as a political breaking point for Cheney, who quickly turned his back on Trump and his fellow House Republican leaders.
But in the end, his star fell as quickly as it rose in Wyoming and in Congress.
Cheney’s January 2021 vote to impeach Trump alienated many fellow Republicans, who make up roughly three-quarters of the state’s registered voters. In May of that year, House Republicans removed her from her position as conference chair because she continued to criticize Trump and his allies in Congress.
She completed her break with the Trump-dominated Republican establishment by joining the committee on Jan. 6 and using her platform as vice president to accuse Trump of illegal and unconstitutional efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 elections, which culminated in the attack on the Capitol. .
“The Cowboy State is ready to send principled conservative leadership to Washington, DC, someone who will stand up to the radical left and work on the issues they care about: cutting costs, ending the war on Northern energy -American, rejecting Biden’s reckless agenda. , and handing the gavel back to Nancy Pelosi in November,” Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in an emailed statement after calling the race for Hageman.
For some Democrats, Tuesday’s result had both political and personal significance.
“Making friends across the aisle wasn’t easy in a Covid Congress after an insurgency,” said Rep. Jake Auchincloss, D-Mass. “Liz, though, has become a friend — she’s looking for common ground. Washington needs more people willing to listen and work with each other.”
Cheney’s anti-Trump stance made it impossible for her to gain traction with Republican voters here, where she won the 2020 election by 43 percentage points.
Given Wyoming’s deeply Republican makeup, Hageman is overwhelmingly favored to win the general election. Three Democrats were vying for their party’s nomination Tuesday, but this primary is too early to call.
Trump’s strong support for Hageman, who ran unsuccessfully for Wyoming’s GOP nomination for governor in 2018, is notable for his earlier reservations about him. She had vehemently opposed his candidacy in 2016 and expressed concern about the party rallying around “someone who is racist and xenophobic,” The New York Times reported last year. Hageman told the newspaper at the time that he had since come to see Trump differently: as “the greatest president of my life.”
Elsewhere Tuesday, Alaska has a trio of races with national implications.
In the state’s nonpartisan Senate primary, four candidates will advance to a November general election to be determined by ranked-choice voting. Trump has made his presence known, supporting Kelly Tshibaka over incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who incurred Trump’s ire after voting to convict him in his second impeachment trial, following the insurgency of January 6 Both are expected to be on the ballot in November.
Meanwhile, a political comeback by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin hinges on two contests. She is among three candidates in a special election to fill the remaining months of the late Rep. Don Young’s term in the state’s general congressional seat. And he’s running in a multi-candidate primary that will send the top four vote-getters to a November general election that will decide the winner of a full two-year term representing the district.
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