Primary Election Updates: Live from Wyoming and Alaska

Three of the most famous women in Republican politics will face primary voters on Tuesday, with at least one highly unlikely to make it to the polls in November.

It may take longer for the fate of the other two to become clear.

Wyoming Representative Liz Cheney looks almost certain to lose her seat in the face of an outraged Republican backlash against her role as co-chair of the committee investigating the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol, and against her vote to impeach former President Donald J. Trump for his role in instigating those riots.

In Alaska, former Governor Sarah Palin is trying to make a comeback in the open race for the state’s only seat in Congress, last held by Don Young, who died in March. Ms. Palin, who was John McCain’s notoriously pioneering running mate in 2008, is running in both a special round of elections for the remainder of Mr. Young’s term and in a primary for a full term of her own.

Both Ms. Palin, whose rivals say she has been more visible on right-wing television in the Lower 48 in recent years than in her home state, and Ms. Cheney have encountered deep skepticism from voters who believe the national spotlight is more important to them than they should be. save and take care of the people who chose them.

However, Ms. Palin was an early supporter of Mr Trump and earned his endorsement.

Also in Alaska, Senator Lisa Murkowski, one of seven Republicans who voted to convict Mr. Trump for inciting insurgency, is in a re-election campaign against a field led by Kelly Tshibaka, a former state official endorsed by Mr. Trump and shouted “MAGA all the way.”

Race calls in Alaska can take days or even weeks as ballots are collected and counted by mail until at least August 31. It is possible that by the end of the night we will only know who has the first lead in early and personal mood.

However, Ms. Palin and Ms. Murkowski can take comfort in this: They only need to finish in the top four in their primaries to secure a place on the November general election vote.

Wyoming’s House Race

Ms. Cheney may have admiration from a certain section of the political spectrum for her actions on the House Committee investigating Jan. 6 and her commitment to democracy and the rule of law. But in Wyoming, a state that Mr. Trump won with 70 percent of the vote in 2020, her crusade to hold him accountable for inciting the Capitol crowd, and for standing idly by for hours as rioters challenge lawmakers and his own deputy deputy. President, all but damned her reelection chances from the start of her campaign.

Ms Cheney, who lost her job in the House leadership after her impeachment vote, has no regrets. “If the cost of championing the Constitution is losing the seat in the House, that’s a price I’m willing to pay,” she told The New York Times this month.

The favorite in the Republican primary is Harriet Hageman, who was singled out by Mr. Trump as his tool of revenge against Ms. Cheney.

Ms. Hageman, a former Republican National Committee official, led Ms. Cheney by nearly 30 percentage points in a poll this month by the University of Wyoming.

Credit…Natalie Behring for The New York Times

The poll included Democratic voters who plan to cross over and vote for Ms. Cheney, as Wyoming law allows and has encouraged the Cheney campaign. In fact, nearly half of likely Democratic voters said they would vote in the GOP primaries, almost all for Ms. Cheney. But the Democrats in Wyoming are vastly outnumbered.

Among likely Republican primary voters, the poll found, 45 percent said President Biden’s election was “not legitimate” and 60 percent said the Jan. 6 committee was not “fair and impartial.”

The conservative group Club for Growth is piling up with a TV ad stating, “Liz Cheney is wrong about Trump, and she is wrong about Wyoming.”

Ms. Hageman, a trial attorney who has fought federal land use regulations, has sent a more subtle message to voters, portraying Ms. Cheney as more interested in national exposure than in representing Wyoming. “Liz Cheney. She earned her time in Congress and this election is all about her,” says one of her closing ads. “Well, it’s not about her, it’s about you.”

Ms. Cheney, 56, was first elected in 2016 as Wyoming’s only congressman and holds the seat her father, former Vice President Dick Cheney, held for a decade. According to her office, she almost failed to appear at public gatherings across the state this year, in part because of death threats.

In her own latest campaign message, Ms. Cheney resigned himself to whatever might come.

“History has shown us time and again how poisonous lies like this destroy free nations,” she said of Mr Trump’s false claims about stolen elections and those who repeat them. “No one who understands the laws of our nation, no one with an honest, honorable, sincere commitment to our Constitution, would say that. It is a cancer that threatens our great republic.”

Alaska’s House Race

Ms. Palin, now 58, is one of only three candidates in the special round of elections for the remainder of Mr. Young’s term as the only member of the Alaska House. But she is one of over 20 in the primary.

Two years ago, through a ballot initiative, Alaskans decided to review the state election. Partisan primaries were replaced by a public or “jungle” primaries open to candidates from all parties. The top four finishers advance to the general election, the winner of which is determined by ranked choice.

Opponents of the changes argued that ranked choice was intended to give Democrats, with only half as many registered voters in the state as Republicans, a better chance in the general election.

Ms. Palin denounced the ranking at this month’s Conservative Political Action Conference in Dallas. “In Alaska, we have this bizarre system,” she said. “It’s complicated, it’s complicated and it results in voter suppression.”

Credit…Emil Lippe for The New York Times

Voters in ranked picks give priority to their picks. To determine a winner, each candidate’s first-choice votes are tallied, the last-place finish is eliminated, and the eliminated candidate’s second-choice votes are added to those candidates’ totals, and so on, until someone wins 50 percent of the vote. exceed votes. to vote.

Ms. Palin, who enjoys near-universal name recognition, finished first in the June primaries ahead of the rest of Mr. Young’s term. But she faces some serious competition in Tuesday’s three-way game with Nick Begich III, a Republican businessman from a prominent Alaskan Democratic family, and Mary Peltola, a Democrat who has served in the Alaska legislature.

Public polls were scarce. Alaska Survey Survey discovered in late July that Ms. Peltola was leading in a three-way race with 42 percent, followed by Mr. Begich and Ms. Palin with 29 percent each.

The poll also suggested why Ms. Palin might be struggling. She was watched positive by 31 percent of registered voters in Alaska and negative by 61 percent. With Ms. Palin eliminated and ranked the voters’ second choice, the poll showed, Mr. Begich defeated Ms. Peltola.

Alaska voters have been skeptical of Ms. Palin ever since she stepped down in 2009, halfway through her first term as governor, to rise to fame as a national Tea Party star. She flirted with a presidential run in 2012 and has recently appeared as a TV commentator and occasional reality TV star.

Alaska’s Senate Race

Alaska’s new electoral system will most likely work in Mrs. Murkowski’s favor. A traditional partisan primary could very well have ended her career.

As a moderate Republican, Ms. Murkowski is often a player in two-party deals in the Senate. She was defeated in a 2010 Republican primary, but won in the general election as a writing candidate.

Credit…Pete Marovich for The New York Times

She is a firm favorite to make it through the top four on Tuesday, along with Ms. Tshibaka, who shared a podium with Mr. Trump in Anchorage last month. One Democrat, Pat Chesbro, is seen as another likely top-four finisher.

In all, there are 19 candidates in the Senate primaries, including eight Republicans, three Democrats, two from the Alaskan Independence Party, and many with no party membership — illustrating that Alaska’s politics are as varied as its famous landscape.


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