Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) — the vice chair of the Jan. 6 committee and one of the only Republican to openly criticize former President Donald Trump — saw her bid for reelection come to an end on Tuesday when she lost the Republican primary to represent Wyoming’s at-large district in Congress.
It wasn’t close.
Harriet Hageman, Cheney’s challenger who has received the backing of Trump and his lackeys in Congress, brought in just over 60 percent of the vote, compared to Cheney’s 35 percent by the time the Associated Press called the race just before 8:30 p.m. local time. The defeat was expected, as polling had shown Cheney trailing by a large margin in the run-up to Tuesday’s election.
“Our work is far from over,” Cheney told supporters during her concession speech. “This is not a game.”
The result is a testament to Trump’s stranglehold over the Republican Party. Cheney is the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney and won her initial primary in 2016 by 17 points. She won the 2018 by 47 points, and won by 47 points again in 2020. What changed? She turned on Trump, and not just by voting to impeach him following the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol. Her place on the committee to investigate the attack has essentially gotten her excommunicated from the party. She is routinely attacked by Trump, has been stripped of her leadership role in the House, and was formally condemned by the Republican National Committee, along with fellow Jan. 6 committee member Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.).
Cheney may have opposed Trump, but she was also a faithful Republican who voted along with the former president over 92 percent of the time from 2017-2021. The number could have been 100 percent and it wouldn’t have saved her. The modern Republican Party requires total fealty not just to the conservative agenda, but to Donald Trump, the man, and to anything he chooses to do, including a multi-faceted effort to overturn the results of a free and fair election.
She wasn’t the only Republican to learn this the hard way. Kinzinger, too, voted to impeach Trump last year and, like Cheney, will not be in Congress next year. Kinzinger, Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio, Fred Upton of Michigan, and John Kato of New York have all announced they will not be seeking reelection after voting to impeach the former president. Reps. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.), Peter Meijer (R-Mich.), and Tom Rice (R-S.C.) all lost their primaries after voting to impeach, as did Cheney on Tuesday. There are now only two Republicans out of the 10 who voted to impeach Trump who still have a chance to remain in Congress. Reps. Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.) and David Valadao (R-Calif.) both won their primaries this summer despite objecting to Trump’s role in the violent attack.
Hageman, 59, who is poised to replace Cheney in Washington, has for months been propped up by Trump and his allies in Congress. “I strongly endorse Republican House of Representatives Candidate Harriet Hageman from Wyoming who is running against warmonger and disloyal Republican, Liz Cheney,” the former president said in endorsing her last year. Hageman spent most of her career as a lawyer fighting environmental protections, and though she opposed Trump in 2016, she’s fully come around to Trumpism now that she’s trying to get into Congress. “Absolutely the election was rigged. It was rigged to make sure that President Trump could not get reelected,” she said recently. “What happened in 2020 is a travesty.”