Election 2022

Liz Cheney Loses to Trump-Endorsed Primary Challenger Harriet Hageman

While she was ultimately felled for criticizing Trump's lies, Cheney was also a poor candidate.


As expected, Rep. Liz Cheney was defeated tonight in the Republican primary for Wyoming's sole U.S. House seat, by a considerable margin. Despite solid conservative credentials and name recognition as the daughter of a former vice president, Cheney was opposed by a solid majority of her party due to her criticism of former President Donald Trump. Attorney Harriet Hageman will be the party's nominee in November—and given the state's partisan lean, she'll almost certainly win.

After Trump's quixotic attempts to retain power after losing in 2020, Cheney lambasted the former president for propagating lies about the election. For her efforts, she became a pariah in her party, stripped from her position as chair of the House Republican Conference. Trump endorsed her primary opponent nearly a year ago before Hageman had even announced her candidacy.

Much of the rest of the party fell in line: In March, more than 50 House Republicans attended a fundraiser for Hageman, and more than 100 endorsed Hageman over Cheney.

But while she was ultimately felled criticizing Trump's lies, Cheney was also a poor candidate: In line with her father's record, she defended waterboarding and the Iraq War long after each had been shown to be ineffective and counterproductive. Before she ran for Congress, she characterized attorneys who defended terror suspects as being in league with terrorists themselves. In 2009, she defended "birthers," conspiracy theorists (like Trump!) who believed then-President Barack Obama was not born in the U.S., by saying they were simply "uncomfortable with a president who is reluctant to defend the nation overseas."

Cheney lost her seat because she put country over party, but that doesn't mean she should be missed in the House.