Former President Donald Trump’s campaign to purge the Republican Party of opponents could reach its most dramatic moment of the 2022 midterm election cycle Tuesday in Wyoming.
Rep. Liz Cheney, vice chair of the House committee investigating Jan. 6, 2021, who was kicked out of her House leadership job and censured by the GOP organization in her state after voting to impeach Trump, says facing Trump-backed Harriet Hageman and three other GOP primary candidates for the state’s sole House seat.
A loss to Cheney would be a demonstration that — despite evidence presented publicly by the House committee and the FBI’s search of Mar-a-Lago last week in a separate investigation — Republican voters remain loyal to Trump, who has suggested it was a matter of when, not if, he launches a 2024 presidential bid.
Meanwhile, in Alaska, a Trump ally, former Governor Sarah Palin, is attempting a political comeback. And a Republican who voted to convict Trump in his second impeachment trial, Senator Lisa Murkowski, faces the first of what will likely be a two-round showdown with a Republican rival backed by the former president.
Here are some things to watch for in Tuesday’s election:
Cheney is the latest of the ‘impeachment 10’ to face voters
Most of the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump after the uprising will not return to Congress next year.
Four of them (Rep. Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio, Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, John Katko of New York and Fred Upton of Michigan) are not seeking re-election. Three (Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington, Peter Meijer of Michigan and Tom Rice of South Carolina) lost their primaries earlier this summer.
The only two who survived — Representatives David Valadao of California and Dan Newhouse of Washington — did so in part because their states hold multiparty primaries, where the top two voters advance until November.
That leaves Cheney as the last of the 10 to face primary voters.
Trump endorsed Hageman, a lawyer and former Republican National Committee member who embraced his lies about voter fraud and hammered Cheney for his focus on the former president.
To win what would be a landslide victory, Cheney is counting, in part, on the support of Democratic and independent voters who once opposed her. Her campaign sent information to those voters on how to change their party’s registration to vote in Tuesday’s GOP contest, and she focused her campaign in the final days of the race in Jackson Hole, the only area heavily State Democrat.
Murkowski’s first round against the Trump-backed challenger
Trump has also set his sights on Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, the only one of seven GOP senators to vote to convict Trump in his second impeachment trial up for reelection this year.
Trump Endorses Former Alaska Department of Administration Commissioner Kelly Tshibaka; he traveled to Alaska to hold a rally for her in July.
However, Alaska’s unusual nonpartisan primary system — the top four, regardless of party, qualify for the general election — means Murkowski and Tshibaka are almost certain to qualify for November’s contest.
Retired educator Patricia Chesbro, who is endorsed by the Alaska Democratic Party, is also expected to move forward. Fourth place is a jump ball, with 16 other contenders in the running.
Murkowski’s family has held their Senate seat for more than four decades.
Will Sarah Palin win a seat in Congress?
Alaska is holding a special election on Tuesday to fill the remaining months in the term of the late Rep. Don Young, the Republican who represented Alaska in the House for 49 years until his death in March.
The race pits Palin, the 2008 Republican vice-presidential nominee who hasn’t appeared on a ballot since that election loss, against Nick Begich III, the Republican scion of the state’s most famous Democratic political family. .
Begich, who received the Alaska Republican Party’s endorsement in the race, is the grandson of the Democratic congressman of the same name, who disappeared during a 1972 robbery, and the nephew of the former Democratic US Senator Mark Begich.
Mary Peltola, a former Democratic state representative who finished fourth in June’s special primary, is also in the running. Peltola, if elected, would become the first Alaskan in Congress. Independent Al Gross placed third in the primary, but then dropped out of the race and urged supporters to support Peltola.
If none of the four candidates exceeds 50% on Tuesday, preferential-choice voting kicks in — a system that could work against the Trump-endorsed Palin.
She is likely to receive the most support – but she could also face the fiercest opposition in a state that has not forgotten its 2009 decision to resign from the governor’s office halfway through her only term. . Palin has been largely absent from the Alaskan political scene since then.
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