Trump critic Liz Cheney falls in US primaries, Murkowski survives

  • Cheney lost to a Trump-backed rival in Wyoming
  • He sits on the January 6 Committee to investigate the Capitol riots
  • Murkowski removed the primary ban in Alaska

JACKSON, Wyo., Aug 17 (Reuters) – U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney, a fierce Republican critic of Donald Trump who played a key role in a congressional investigation into the Capitol on Jan. 6, lost in a Trump-backed primary. Challenge at Wyoming on Tuesday

But Senator Lisa Murkowski, another Republican who defied the former president, lifted a ban in Alaska. He was set to face Trump-advocate Kelly Shibaka in the Nov. 8 congressional election, with both candidates advancing in the state’s nonpartisan primary.

Cheney’s defeat by Trump-advised Harriet Hackman marks a significant victory for the former president in his campaign to oust Republicans who supported his impeachment after mobs of his supporters stormed the Capitol building last year.

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Cheney, who conceded the race, said he was not ready to “go along with President Trump’s lies about the 2020 election.”

“It would have been necessary for me to implement his continued efforts to dismantle our democratic system and attack the foundations of our republic. That is a path I cannot and will not take,” he told supporters.

With 99% of expected votes counted in Wyoming, Hageman led the Republican primary with 66.3%, followed by Cheney with 28.9%, according to election watchdog Edison Research.

Results in Alaska were limited.

With 72% of the expected vote count, Murkowski narrowly led with 42.7%, followed by Shibaka at 41.4% and Democrat Patricia Chesbro at 6.2%, according to Edison. The state’s nonpartisan primary format eliminates all but the top four vote-getters.

Murkowski, a moderate who has been one of the most liberal voices in the Senate, has held the seat since 2003.

In Alaska, Edison predicted no candidate would emerge as a clear winner in a three-way race to fill the term of Rep. Dan Young, who died in March.

That race pits former governor and 2008 vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, who has been endorsed by Trump, against fellow Republican Nick Begich III and Democrat Mary Beltola. Winner will be announced on August 31st.

Both Wyoming and Alaska are reliably Republican, so the results won’t affect whether President Joe Biden’s Democrats lose their razor-thin majority in Congress. Republicans will retake the House and have a chance to win control of the Senate.

Weeding out Trump critics

Cheney’s ouster is the latest sign of Trump’s lingering dominance over the Republican Party.

Trump, who has hinted he will run for president in 2024, has made ending Cheney’s congressional career a priority among the 10 House Republicans he has targeted to support his impeachment in 2021.

Cheney, the daughter of former Republican Vice President Dick Cheney, is investigating the circumstances surrounding the Capitol riots in January. 6 used his position on the committee to draw attention to Trump’s actions that day and his false claims that he won the 2020 election.

Republican leaders are expected to cancel the January 6 hearing if they win control of the House in November. Representatives in the new Congress take their seats in January.

Hackman, a natural resources attorney who embraced Trump’s election lies, criticized Cheney’s concession speech, saying he showed little concern for the issues facing his state.

“He’s still focused on the outrage about President Trump and the citizens of Wyoming, and the voters of Wyoming sent a very loud message tonight,” Hackman said on Fox News.

Cheney voted in the House to impeach Trump on charges of inciting the Capitol riots, while in the Senate Murkowski voted to impeach him on those charges. Trump was eventually acquitted.

Of the 10 Republicans who supported impeachment, only one — Dan Newhouse of Washington — will remain in Congress after the November election.

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Reporting by Liliana Salgado in Jackson, Wyoming and Nathan Lane in Wilton, Connecticut, additional reporting by Kanishka Singh, Eric Beach and Moira Warburton; Editing by Andy Sullivan, Scott Malone, Alistair Bell and John Stonestreet

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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