Liz Cheney loses Wyoming GOP primary to Trump-backed challenger

Cheyenne, Wyoming - US Representative Liz Cheney, the vice chair of the House committee investigating the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol and a leading figure in the Republican effort to hold former president Donald Trump accountable, was defeated in the GOP primary for the Wyoming congressional district she's represented since 2017.

Wyoming's incumbent Republican Rep. Liz Cheney looks on during her primary election night party in Jackson.
Wyoming's incumbent Republican Rep. Liz Cheney looks on during her primary election night party in Jackson.  © REUTERS

The three-term congresswoman lost to Harriet Hageman, a lawyer who has worked to block federal regulations in Wyoming and who was endorsed by Trump.

Surrounded by family and supporters near Jackson, Wyoming, on Tuesday night, Cheney said she had conceded to Hageman, who was ahead in early returns by more than 25 percentage points.

She noted that she had handily won the last election for her congressional seat and acknowledged that this primary might have gone the same way had she not vocally opposed Trump's efforts to undermine confidence in the US election system.

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"I could easily have done the same again: The path was clear," Cheney said. "But it would have required that I go along with President Trump's lie about the 2020 election. It would have required that I enable his ongoing efforts to unravel our democratic system and attack the foundations of our republic. That was a path I could not and would not take."

Trump celebrates Cheney's loss

Trump-backed challenger Harriet Hageman smiles and waves during her primary election night party in Cheyenne, Wyoming.
Trump-backed challenger Harriet Hageman smiles and waves during her primary election night party in Cheyenne, Wyoming.  © REUTERS

The race was a top priority for the former president and his allies, many of whom worked on, donated to or endorsed Hageman's campaign. In May, Trump held a rally in Casper, the second-largest city in the state.

In a post on his Truth Social network, Trump congratulated Hageman "on her great and very decisive WIN in Wyoming."

"This is a wonderful result for America, and a complete rebuke of the Unselect Committee of political Hacks and Thugs," Trump wrote. "Liz Cheney should be ashamed of herself, the way she acted, and her spiteful, sanctimonious words and actions towards others. Now she can finally disappear into the depths of political oblivion where, I am sure, she will be much happier than she is right now."

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Cheney's loss is another reminder for Republicans of the risk of going against the former president. Cheney, the daughter of former vice president Dick Cheney, wasn't able to overcome the wrath of the Trump wing, even with nationwide name recognition and a massive fundraising advantage.

Cheney raised more than $15 million, compared to Hageman's $4 million, in what has been one of the most expensive primaries in the country.

A staunch conservative laser focused on national security issues, Cheney was first elected to Congress in 2016. Her father held the seat in the 1980s.

Cover photo: Collage: REUTERS

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