Oct 5, 2022 - Politics

Liz Cheney says 2 Arizona GOP candidates are a threat to democracy

Rep. Liz Cheney speaking at a news conference in Wyoming last month.

Rep. Liz Cheney during an August event in Jackson, Wyoming. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) warned during an ASU event Wednesday that the outcome of Arizona's governor and secretary of state elections will impact the future of American democracy.

  • The "democracy dialogue" was hosted by the McCain Institute for International Leadership.
Wyoming Congressowman Liz Cheney and John S. McCain democracy fellow Sofia Gross at a McCain Institute event at ASU. Photo: Jessica Boehm/Axios
Rep. Liz Cheney and Sofia Gross, the John S. McCain Democracy Fellow, at a McCain Institute event at Arizona State University. Photo: Jessica Boehm/Axios

Why it matters: Cheney is a vocal critic of former President Trump and has pledged to campaign against candidates who promote his lies about Democrats "stealing" the 2020 election, including Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake.

  • She's also the top Republican on the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection.

The big picture: Cheney's criticism of Trump has made her a household name, but it proved unpopular with her constituents.

  • She lost her August primary to Trump-backed Harriet Hageman.

Zoom in: Cheney called out Lake and secretary of state candidate Mark Finchem, saying she's never voted for a Democrat but "absolutely would" if she lived in Arizona.

  • Lake and Finchem will only honor the results of elections if they agree with them, Cheney said.

What she's saying: "If you care about our democracy and you care about the survival of our republic, then … we cannot give people power who have told us that they will not honor elections."

Of note: Lake tells Axios Phoenix, "I’d suggest Liz Cheney take her desperate grasps for relevance out of Arizona and over to MSNBC where they belong."

  • Finchem tells us: "(Cheney) has zero credibility. In fact, she was fired by her constituents because of her failure to recognize reality."

The other side: Cheney said there are also many "courageous Republicans" to look up to in Arizona, including Maricopa County supervisor Bill Gates and recorder Stephen Richer, who have defended the county's election system against baseless attacks.

  • She also applauded House Speaker Rusty Bowers, who testified before the Jan. 6 committee about how Trump's team pressured him to overturn the state's presidential election results.

Yes, but: Bowers faced the same fate as Cheney, losing his August primary to Trump-backed David Farnsworth.

1 warning to go: Cheney said the most important takeaway from the Jan. 6 attack is that "in this nation, our institutions don't defend themselves."

Editor's note: Since its publication, this story has been updated with comments from Kari Lake and Mark Finchem.

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