August 17

By Elliott Davis Jr.

Rep. Liz Cheney, an unabashed critic of Donald Trump, became the latest Republican to lose her primary election after voting to impeach the former president, while longtime Alaska Republicans Lisa Murkowski and Sarah Palin advanced in their respective races heading into the November midterms.

Cheney lost – as called by The Associated Press – to Harriet Hageman, an attorney endorsed by Trump, and will be forced to give up Wyoming’s lone congressional seat she has held since 2017. As of Tuesday morning, Hageman was leading Cheney by nearly 40 percentage points.

The House Jan. 6 committee vice chairwoman is now the fourth member of Congress to lose a primary after voting to impeach the former president. She joins Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington, Rep. Peter Meijer of Michigan and Rep. Tom Rice of South Carolina. Rep. Dan Newhouse of Washington won his primary over a Trump-backed candidate recently, while Rep. David Valadao of California won without having to face an opponent endorsed by the former president, according to FiveThirtyEight.

“This was a referendum on the never ending Witch Hunt,” Trump said, referring to Cheney’s loss and the Jan. 6 committee, in a post on the social media account he’s been using since being banned from Twitter. “The people have spoken!”

Further west, several well-known Alaska Republicans advanced to November general elections in the state’s first instance of open primaries since voters approved a new process in 2020.

Murkowski, who voted to convict Trump after Jan. 6, advanced in the state’s open Senate primary along with Trump-backed Kelly Tshibaka. As of Tuesday morning, the incumbent held only a slim lead over Tshibaka. The four top vote-getting candidates in each Alaska race will advance to the general election in November, where there will be ranked-choice voting for the first time in the state.

Meanwhile, Palin – Alaska’s former governor and John McCain’s 2008 presidential running mate – kept her political comeback alive by advancing in the race for the state’s at-large congressional seat. At least two other candidates have advanced in that race so far, according to the AP.

Palin is currently trailing Democrat Mary Peltola in the special election for the seat, which was vacated after the March death of Alaska Rep. Don Young. A similar situation – a primary and special election being held on the same day – happened last week in Minnesota.