Congresswoman Liz Cheney, Donald Trump’s fiercest Republican critic since the failed January 6th insurrection, handily lost her primary to a Trump-backed candidate last night.
Lawyer Harriet Hageman, who had the support of former President Trump, triumphed with 113,025 votes (66.3%). Meanwhile, Cheney received just 49,316 (28.9%).
The past few years were quite a journey for Hageman, who fought on the floor of the 2016 Republican National Convention to swing the nomination to Ted Cruz at the last-minute. By the summer of 2022, though, Hageman was calling Trump the best President of her life-time and falsely claiming the 2020 election was stolen from him.
Rep. Cheney’s defeat is a major coup for Donald Trump, who made targeting the ten House Republicans who voted for his impeachment his top 2022 priority. Of those ten: four were defeated in primaries, four decided to retire rather than try for re-election, and only two won their nominations.
Early Indications Out of Alaska
So Nick, did Sarah Palin win that House seat out in Alaska? Well, here’s the thing: we don’t know yet.
Vote tabulating takes a while out in America’s largest state, not to mention the fact that Alaska has ranked-choice voting and that there’s technically two contests taking place. OK, let’s try to clear all this up.
Alaskans are voting both to fill Don Young’s remaining term and in a blanket top-four primary for the next term. In the case of the latter, the results are clear.
Democratic candidate Mary Peltola currently sits in first with 53,342 votes (35.1%). At the moment, Palin and Republican Nick Begich have 47,738 votes (31.4%) and 40,972 votes (26.9%) respectively. Finally, Republican Tara Sweeney is at 5,247 votes (3.6%). All four of these candidates now advance to the November general election.
As for that special election, Peltola, Palin and Begich are all competing to complete Young’s term. Yet the ranked-choice system means we likely won’t know who won until August 31st. Right now, with 69% of precincts in, Peltola leads with 56,892 votes (37.8%). Palin is in second with 48,304 votes (32.1%) while Begich lags behind with 43,038 votes (28.6%).
If Begich finishes in third then the election will hinge on whether more of his voters chose Peltola as their second-choice or whether they stuck with the other Republican in Palin. We’ll be keeping an eye on this race.
At the top of the ballot, Alaskans were also choosing their finalists in the contests for Governor and Senate.
Incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski appears headed for a November battle with Trump-endorsed Republican Kelly Tshibaka. Murkowski stands at 66,288 votes (43.7%) while Tshibaka has 61,225 votes (40.4%). While two more candidates will advance, it would be a shock if the winner wasn’t one of these two.
At the same time, incumbent Republican Governor Mike Dunleavy looks set to secure a strong plurality. With 69% of precincts in, Gov. Dunleavy sits at 63,178 votes (41.9%). Democratic candidate Les Gara is in a distant second with 33,244 votes (22.0%), just ahead of Independent Bill Walker 33,063 votes (21.9%). One other candidate will advance to November, yet Dunleavy remains the favorite.
Next Week in New York and Florida
It’s not often that Florida plays second-fiddle on a primary night, but that will be the case next week. Thanks to a controversial new Congressional map, there’s a host of competitive contests in New York to watch. This primary has everything: Wide open races in deep blue and ruby red seats; the DCCC chief jumping to a new district; an intense incumbent vs. incumbent battle; and two special elections.
Meanwhile, down in Florida, former Gov. Charlie Crist and Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried are locked in a bitter fight for the right to take on Governor Ron DeSanits. Plus, Florida’s got their own intriguing congressional primaries as well.
So while the end of summer signals the passing of primary season, we’re set to go out with a bang next Tuesday. Make sure to follow all the races from the Empire and Sunshine States here at Decision Desk HQ!