Rep. Liz Cheney, who has become one of former President Donald J. Trump’s fiercest critics in the Republican Party, lost her bid for re-election in Wyoming on Tuesday.
The outcome confirmed that loyalty to Trump — and to his false claims that the 2020 election was stolen — remains an essential litmus test in Republican politics. Cheney angered her constituents, first by voting to impeach Trump over the Jan. 6 insurrection, then by serving as vice chair of the House select committee investigating the attack on the Capitol.
Cheney lost to Harriet Hageman, a Trump-endorsed candidate who recently said the the 2020 election was “rigged.”
The Associated Press called the race at 8:21 p.m. local time, with Hageman emerging ahead of Cheney.
— AP Politics (@AP_Politics) August 17, 2022
In a Tuesday evening speech to her supporters, Cheney shared that she had called Hageman to concede.
“Two years ago I won this primary with 73% of the vote,” she said. “I could easily have done so again. The path was clear, but it would have required that I go along with President Trump’s lie about the 2020 election… That is a path I could not and would not take. No House seat — no office in this land — is more important than the principles we are all sworn to protect.”
Trailing badly in the polls in recent weeks, Cheney has not backed down from her attacks on Trump, who won nearly 70 percent of the vote in Wyoming in the 2020 election. She released an ad in which her father, former Vice President Dick Cheney, called Trump a “coward” and a “threat to our republic.”
“My view is that at the end of the day, if defending the Constitution against the threat that he poses means losing a House seat, then that’s a sacrifice that I’m willing to make,” Cheney said in a CNN interview. “I don’t intend to lose. But some things are more important than any individual office or political campaign.”
Cheney has said that her top goal remains making sure that Trump is not the Republican nominee for president in 2024. She has not ruled out running for president herself. Some have speculated that she will become a regular cable news contributor or receive her own MSNBC show after exiting her seat as Representative.
Hageman argued that Cheney had become obsessed with Jan. 6 and lost touch with the state.
“She’s not representing us,” Hageman said in a campaign ad. “She’s not representing Wyoming. She’s not representing our values.”
Hageman campaigned as a “true conservative,” saying that voters are fed up with the Biden administration, with vaccine and mask mandates, with Anthony Fauci and with censorship of conservatives on social media platforms.
10 Republicans voted to impeach Trump in the House in 2021. Four have been defeated in primaries, while another four have announced they will retire.
Best of Variety