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.
With 80 percent of the vote counted before midnight, Hageman was leading Cheney by more than 32 points. But the result did not end hostilities between Trump and Cheney. Instead, he promised to increase them.
“This primary election is over,” Cheney told supporters, drawing a stark contrast between his acceptance of the result and Trump’s continued refusal to admit he lost the 2020 election. “But now the real work begins “.
Rep. Liz Cheney joins TODAY live Wednesday for an exclusive interview. Tune in at 7am ET.
Without elaborating on specific plans for his future, he emphasized that Trump, who is likely to seek the presidency again in 2024, is at the center of it.
“We have to be very clear-eyed about the threat we face,” he said, repeating an earlier pledge to “do whatever it takes to make sure that Donald Trump is never near the oval office”.
Congratulating Hageman, Trump took a swipe at Cheney in a message posted on his Truth 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.”
Hageman, in his victory speech, said the result showed Republicans will “hold our elected officials accountable for their actions,” an allusion to Cheney’s entanglements with Trump.
“What Wyoming showed today is that, while it may not be easy, we can unseat entrenched politicians who believe they have elevated themselves above the people they are supposed to represent,” Hageman told supporters.
For one thing, Wyoming is almost certain to swap one Republican congresswoman for another in November. But this particular race turned out to be an epic clash between the new and old Republican Party establishments, as well as contrasting visions of the future of the GOP and the republic.
With his parents in the audience, Cheney spoke of his deep ties to the Republican Party, but said, “I love my country more.”
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.
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.
Not forgetting his loss, he compared Trump’s attacks on federal law enforcement after the search of his Mar-a-Lago home last week to their 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.”
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. forcefully 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 political breaking points 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 had risen 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 Jan. 6 committee and using her platform as vice president to accuse Trump of illegal and unconstitutional efforts to overturn the election results of 2020, which culminated in the attack on the Capitol.
Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in an emailed statement after calling the race for Hageman: “The Cowboy State is ready to send principled conservative leadership to Washington, DC, someone who stand up to the radical left and work on the issues they care about: cutting costs, ending the war on American energy, rejecting Biden’s reckless agenda, and taking back Nancy Pelosi’s gavel in November.” .
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. Lynnette Gray Bull beat out other candidates to win the Democratic nomination, NBC News projects.
Trump’s strong support for Hageman, who ran unsuccessfully for the GOP nomination for governor in 2018, is notable for his earlier reservations about him. She vehemently opposed his candidacy in 2016 and expressed concern that the party would rally 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 Senator Lisa Murkowski, who incurred Trump’s wrath after she voted to convict him in his second impeachment trial, following the 6 of January Both are expected to be on the ballot in November.
Meanwhile, a political comeback for former 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.
Jonathan Allen reported from Jackson, Wyoming, and Henry J. Gomez reported from Cleveland.