Six Takeaways From Primaries in Wyoming and Alaska

Voters in Alaska’s gubernatorial election, in which Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski faces Trump endorsee Kelly Tshibaka in the first of two rounds, took place today. Meanwhile, in a special election for Alaska’s lone House member, former governor Sarah Palin is trying a political return. In the spring and summer, Trump and his supporters turned Republican primaries around the country into vicious battles in which support for the outgoing president was a primary issue.

Some high-profile fights went against him, like in Georgia, where Trump’s opponents were defeated by Governor Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. The majority of open seat races, however, went to Trump’s candidates. Trump, who had backed Hageman the day she entered the campaign against Cheney, won big in Wyoming on Tuesday.

Cheney is the eighth of the ten Republicans in the House who voted to impeach Trump after January 6, 2021, uprising in the Capitol to leave the House. In addition to the four who have decided not to run again, another four have been defeated in the Republican primary. On the night of August 16, 2022, in Cheyenne, Wyoming, Republican congressional candidate Harriet Hageman waves alongside her husband, John Sundahl.

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Cheney Opted to Take the Fight against Trump to the End.

Cheney has stated that she is actively campaigning to win Tuesday’s primary. However, her tactics — which included appealing to Republican voters in a state that the former President had won by a margin of 43% in 2020 — implied that she had taken a different choice: to go down fighting.

She angered Republicans by calling for Democrats and unaffiliated voters in Wyoming to change their party registration in order to participate in Tuesday’s Republican primary. On the campaign trail, Cheney chose to have private events rather than public rallies so that he could be protected by the US Capitol Police. She gave television interviews in which she criticized Trump. CNN predicts Trump’s endorsed candidate will defeat Liz Cheney in Wyoming’s Republican primary.

A television advertisement portraying her father, former Vice President Dick Cheney, denouncing Trump as a “coward” who lies to his fans and “tried to steal the previous election” through violence, served as her campaign’s final message. In a campaign that Cheney was almost certainly going to lose, she held her election night celebration on a ranch in Jackson Hole with the setting sun over the Grand Tetons in the background, but there were no television screens set up for her supporters to see the results counted.

She reminded her followers that she could have worked out a deal with Trump and gotten the same result she had in the primary two years earlier (73%). Cheney stated, “I could not and would not go down that road.” “No seat in the House, no office in the land, is more essential than the ideals we have taken an oath to defend. And I was aware of the probable political repercussions of doing what was right.

Wyoming voters never warmed up to Cheney’s plan to utilize the spotlight of her high-profile House primary to tee off on Trump. Nonetheless, it helped her win over some anti-Trump contributors and establish her as the GOP’s most outspoken critic of the president.

What Will Cheney Do Now?

Even after three terms in Congress, this politician has been vague about her plans. She mentioned running for president as a possibility on Wednesday’s episode of NBC’s “Today” show, saying that she will decide in “the coming months.” And when she lost, her campaign filed papers with the FEC for a leadership PAC to be called “The Great Job,” in honor of Abraham Lincoln’s reference to the “great task” facing the country at Gettysburg. Cheney used her victory speech to hint at future opposition to Trump, but she gave no specifics.

Since January 6 I have declared, and I mean it, that I will do everything it takes to prevent Donald Trump from ever again being in the White House. “This is a battle for us all,” she proclaimed. To quote the man himself: “I’m a conservative Republican. However, my allegiance lies first and foremost with my country. As we depart tonight, I hope you’ll join me in making the pledge to fight side by side with Republicans, Democrats, and independents alike to defeat the forces who seek to undermine our nation. She departed the stage to the strains of “I Won’t Back Down” by Tom Petty.

We’re Keeping Our Fingers Crossed for the Outcome of the Special Election in Alaska.

In the special House election to complete the remaining months of the late Republican Rep. Don Young’s term, Palin, the party’s vice presidential nominee in 2008 who has not campaigned for office since then, is making a political return. Whether she triumphs in the runoff election against businessman and fellow Republican Nick Begich III and Democratic former state legislator Mary Peltola will take weeks to determine.

Voters in Alaska have two opportunities to cast ballots for the same office. How it operates is as follows: Alaska’s new ranked-choice voting method is being used for the first time in this special election. According to CNN’s projections, none of the three candidates will earn more than 50% of the vote in the first round, so on August 31, the state will tally votes for their second choice.

With many Alaskans still bitter about Palin’s 2009 decision to resign as governor midway through her single term, the ranked-choice voting method could be an issue for her. In an effort to capitalize on this staunch antipathy toward Palin, the Republican scion of Alaska’s most renowned Democratic political family, Nick Begich III (whose grandpa was the state’s congressman until his plane disappeared in 1972 and his uncle Mark was a senator) is running for office.

In an extremely close special primary in June, only the top four finishers made it to the general election. Independent Al Gross was originally running for the seat, but he withdrew out of the contest, giving an advantage to Democrat Lisa Peltola, who is trying to create history by being Alaska’s first Native American to serve in Congress.

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Alaska held a primary for the general election for a full term for its at-large House seat in November on the same day that it held a special election to fill the seat. According to CNN’s projections, Palin, Begich III, and Peltola will all move on to another top-four runoff, along with Republican Tara Sweeney, an Alaska Native supported by the state’s powerful Native-owned corporations who served as assistant secretary for Indian affairs in the Trump administration’s Department of the Interior.

Other Important Alaskan Elections

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) is a target of Trump’s ire because she was one of seven Republican senators who voted to convict him during his second impeachment trial. Trump has publicly endorsed Kelly Tshibaka, the former commissioner of the Alaska Department of Administration, and even held a rally in her support in Alaska back in July.

CNN predicts that both Murkowski and Tshibaka will make it to the general election because of Alaska’s nonpartisan primary system. Just like in the House race, the top four finishers in the primary, regardless of party, move on to the regular election. Patricia Chesbro, a Democrat, will also move on, and a fourth contender has not been predicted at this time.

The current governor, Republican Mike Dunleavy, and his independent predecessor, Bill Walker, will both proceed to the general election alongside Democrat Les Gara, CNN predicted in Alaska’s tough top-four primary. However, a prediction for the fourth possible nominee has not been made.

Democrats and moderate Republicans praise Walker for his choice to expand Medicaid and his opposition to curbs on abortion rights. Walker was elected in 2014 but did not run for reelection in 2018 after supporting a Democrat who lost to Dunleavy.

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