Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) is now looking far beyond her Republican primary loss and possibly toward the White House. (Video: Michael Cadenhead/The Washington Post, Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)
JACKSON, Wyo. — Rep. Liz Cheney — the once-high-ranking Republican who defied her party to wage a lonely crusade against former president Donald Trump — hinted on Wednesday about a White House bid after losing her Wyoming primary in a landslide.
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Harriet Hageman, a lawyer with Trump’s endorsement, ousted Cheney on Tuesday, clinching the GOP nomination for deep-red Wyoming’s only House seat. Cheney fell in defeat despite her appeals to Democrats and independents to re-register as Republicans and vote for her. The race marked the last primary challenge to a small group of House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump last year and are mostly set to leave Congress after withering backlash.
With more than 99 percent of the vote tallied, Hageman had about 66 percent to Cheney’s nearly 29 percent, according to the Associated Press, which projected Hageman’s win. Hageman headed into the day as the clear favorite, and close observers had anticipated her victory for weeks.
Cheney raised the prospect of taking on the task of stopping Trump if he runs in 2024, saying she is considering a White House bid.
“It is something I’m thinking about, and I’ll make a decision in the coming months,” Cheney said during an interview on NBC’s “Today” show in which she said her priority will be “doing whatever it takes to keep Donald Trump out of the Oval Office.”
The 45th president also loomed large Tuesday in two high-profile races in Alaska: Moderate Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) faced a Trump-backed GOP challenger, Kelly Tshibaka, and both advanced from an all-party primary to the general election, the AP projected. Former governor Sarah Palin — an anti-establishment Republican backed by Trump — advanced in the all-party primary to November’s election in Alaska’s lone congressional district.
Palin, Democrat Mary Peltola and Republican Nick Begich will be on the ballot to replace the late congressman Don Young (R). Palin also vied for Alaska’s lone seat in the House in a special election that does not yet have a projected winner.
Rep. Liz Cheney vowed to continue her fight against former president Donald Trump after losing Wyoming’s Republican primary on Aug. 16. (Video: AP)
In Wyoming, Cheney said she plan to focus on the remainder of her congressional term, both serving constituents in Wyoming and fulfilling her role as vice chairwoman of the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob.
Cheney filed early Wednesday with the Federal Election Commission to establish a leadership PAC with the name “The Great Task” — a signal that her role in politics is not ending despite losing her primary.
Cheney’s singular focus on denouncing the former president made her an especially high-profile target. House Republicans ousted Cheney from their No. 3 leadership position last year after she refused to stop criticizing Trump, and she took a prominent role on the congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack, and the conduct of Trump and his aides on that day and leading up to it.
The result in Wyoming’s primary reflected Trump’s enduring influence on Republican primary voters, who in many races this year have rallied behind those embracing his grievances and false claims, even as his preferred candidates have not always won. The defeat of a Republican from a once-powerful political family with deep ties to the Bush-era party establishment that was dominant two decades ago underlined the shift in the GOP, which is now largely led by officials and candidates prioritizing loyalty to Trump.
In a victory speech punctuated by raucous cheers, Hageman said Wyoming had “spoken on behalf of everyone who understands that our government is a government of, by and for the people.”
Campaigning in a state that Trump won by more than 40 percentage points, Cheney used her last ads to take aim at the former president’s “poisonous” false claims that the 2020 election was stolen, stoking speculation that she might run for president just to continue condemning Trump on a national stage.
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