Updated Aug 17, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Liz Cheney loses GOP primary to Trump-backed Harriet Hageman

Rep. Liz Cheney, wearing a blue blazer, glasses and a pearl necklace, sits behind a podium at a Jan. 6 committee hearing.

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.). Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) on Tuesday became the highest-profile House Republican to lose their primary to a Trump-endorsed challenger after voting to impeach the former president, according to AP.

Why it matters: Former President Trump has made ousting the 10 House Republicans who voted for his impeachment one of his top priorities of the cycle — and Cheney, the vice chair of the Jan. 6 select committee, was enemy No. 1.

Driving the news: The race was called for Harriet Hageman — an attorney, former Republican National Committee member and 2018 gubernatorial candidate — shortly after the polls closed.

  • Hageman entered the race last September with Trump's endorsement, prompting several major candidates to drop out and endorse her.

The backdrop: The decisive defeat marks an end to what has been a whirlwind six-year congressional career for Cheney, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney.

  • She was elected in 2016 and became chair of the House Republican Conference just two years later. A hawkish neoconservative, she criticized Trump's isolationist foreign policy but otherwise stayed mostly loyal to him.
  • That is until the Jan. 6 attack, after which Cheney voted to impeach Trump and began frequently denouncing him, leading to her removal as conference chair.
  • She took an appointment from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to the Jan. 6 panel, becoming vice chair and the face of its public hearings in June and July.

By the numbers: Cheney is the fourth impeachment Republican to lose renomination, on top of four others who are retiring.

  • Reps. Tom Rice (R-S.C.), Peter Meijer (R-Mich.) and Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.) all lost to Trump-backed insurgents.
  • Reps. Anthony Gonzalez (R-Ohio), Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), John Katko (R-N.Y.) and Fred Upton (R-Mich.) are stepping down at the end of their terms.
  • Reps. Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.) and David Valadao (R-Calif.) won their primaries, though Valadao faces a highly competitive general election.

What's next: Cheney has made clear she plans to remain an outspoken critic of Trump. She has also signaled potential plans to run for higher office, including a possible 2024 presidential run.

The intrigue: In her concession speech on Tuesday night, she noted Abraham Lincoln lost congressional elections before becoming president as she vowed to "do whatever it takes to ensure Donald Trump is never again anywhere near the Oval Office."

The other side: Trump wrote on social media after Cheney's loss, "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. Thank you WYOMING!"

Editor's note: This article has been updated with comment from Cheney and Trump.

Go deeper