Primary Day: 3 Big Names on Ballot, Plus One That Isn't

Liz Cheney, Sarah Palin, and Lisa Murkowski fight to move on, all with fates tied to Donald Trump
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 16, 2022 9:40 AM CDT
Primary Day: 3 Big Names on Ballot, Plus One That Isn't
Rep. Liz Cheney has a tough primary night ahead of her.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Pretty much all the focus in Tuesday's primary schedule is on three high-profile names—Liz Cheney, Lisa Murkowski, and Sarah Palin—all of whom have a strong connection to former President Trump. Here's the latest on the contests out of Wyoming and Alaska:

  • Cheney: The sentiment about the Wyoming congresswoman's fate is near universal. "She's almost certainly toast" is how American University political scientist David Barker puts it to the Hill. Polls suggests she'll be trounced by her Trump-endorsed challenger in the GOP primary, Harriet Hageman. The math is simple: Wyoming is a strong pro-Trump state, and Cheney has emerged as perhaps his biggest political foe thanks to her role on the Jan. 6 panel and her vote in favor of impeachment.

  • Palin: The former Alaska governor and VP candidate wants to be in Congress, and she's actually on the ballot twice, notes the AP. In one race, she's vying to complete the term of the late Rep. Don Young, and in the other she's competing in the primary for a full term of her own, starting in January. Because the top four finishers in the primary advance, Palin is seen as a virtual lock to make it to the general election.
  • Murkowski: Like Palin, the GOP senator from Alaska should easily advance in her primary because the top four finishers do so, notes the New York Times. Murkowski also voted to impeach Trump, and her main rival is Kelly Tshibaka, who's backed by the former president. The Times notes that results from both Alaska races might not be known for days or weeks because of mail-in ballots in the far-flung state.
  • Big picture: An analysis at Politico notes Cheney and Palin "represent important pieces of the Republican Party's past," and that Tuesday's vote "will determine if they have a spot in the party's next chapter." Both got their political starts in the pre-Trump era, but he has since affected them in significant ways. "Cheney became one of his main Republican antagonists, while Palin's presence on the 2008 GOP ticket later came to be seen as an early vector for the grassroots takeover of the party that eventually led to Trump as president."
  • Cheney, II: Though Cheney is expected to lose her House seat, she isn't expected to disappear from national politics, notes Fox News. One possibility in play is a 2024 run for president. Her biggest hope in Tuesday's vote is that Democratic voters take advantage of state rules and cross over to vote for her in the primary.
(Read more Liz Cheney stories.)

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