Tuesday's Primaries Cemented a New GOP

Cheney vows to continue fighting 'against those who would destroy our republic'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 17, 2022 9:35 AM CDT
Tuesday's Primaries Cemented a New GOP
Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., speaks Tuesday at a primary Election Day gathering at Mead Ranch in Jackson, Wyo. Cheney lost to challenger Harriet Hageman in the primary.   (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

(Newser) – Liz Cheney knew she was fighting a losing battle. Had she cozied up to Donald Trump, she might have easily won her Wyoming primary on Tuesday instead of losing handily (she had 29% support to Harriet Hageman's 66%, with 99% of expected votes counted, per the Washington Post). But "that was a path I could not and would not take," Cheney said on election night, per CNN. "No House seat, no office in this land, is more important than the principles that we are all sworn to protect. And I well understood the potential political consequences of abiding by my duty." More from Wyoming and Alaska:

  • Victory for Trump: If there's one takeaway from Tuesday's primaries, it's that "crossing Trump is a recipe for sacrificing your political career in today's GOP," writes the Post's Aaron Blake. With Cheney's exit, there are just two Republicans who voted to impeach Trump remaining in the House. Four of the 10 lost their primaries, while four opted not to seek reelection.

  • Cementing a new GOP: Cheney's failed bid, following that of George P. Bush's in the fight for Texas attorney general, "emphatically sealed the coffin on the old party establishment and erased for now any lineal claims to its future," writes Mark Z. Barabak at the Los Angeles Times. So what can you expect from this new GOP? "Very little focus on governing and a great deal of energy expended on grudges and settling old scores," he writes.
  • Cheney's next move: It's unclear, though she's set herself up as a continuing thorn in Trump's side. "I have said since January 6 that I will do whatever it takes to ensure that Donald Trump is never again near the Oval Office, and I mean it. This is a fight for all of us, together ... Republicans, Democrats and independents, against those who would destroy our republic," she said Tuesday, per CNN.

  • Palin: The fate of Sarah Palin in the special election for the House seat of late Republican Rep. Don Young—"Alaska's first using the state's new ranked-choice voting system," per CNN—is also unclear, as vote counting in Alaska is expected to take weeks. But she "surprisingly trailed" Democrat Mary Peltola with about 66% of votes counted, per the Post.
  • To be determined: Peltola, who would be the state's first Alaska Native in Congress, is at 38% support in the nonpartisan primary, Palin at 32%, and Republican Nick Begich at 29%, per the Post. None are expected to nab 50% of the vote, meaning the state will look to second-choice votes on Aug. 31, per CNN. All three will advance to a top-four runoff election for the full term in the same seat.

  • Murkowski: In Alaska's Senate primary, Sen. Lisa Murkowski—the only Republican senator who voted to convict Trump at his second impeachment trial to face voters—fared well as one of four to advance to the ranked-choice general election, along with Trump-backed Kelly Tshibaka, a former Alaska Department of Administration commissioner.
  • Shot at survival: Murkowski (44%), who appeared to draw Democratic support, actually held a small lead over Tshibaka (40%), with 68% of expected votes counted—"something that, if it holds up, will augur well for her chances of survival in November," Blake writes at the Post. He notes Election Day votes are the first to be counted and generally favor Trump-backed candidates.
(Read more Liz Cheney stories.)

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