Republicans have been predicting a major red wave in the November 2022 midterm elections, and two pivotal primaries take place on Tuesday. In Wyoming, Liz Cheney, an outspoken critic of Trump, is facing a tough fight in her Republican primary. In Alaska, Lisa Murkowski, who voted to impeach Trump, faces a primary challenger as well. On Monday, prior to those closely watched primaries, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) told Fox News reporters that the GOP would definitely take the majority (in Congress) come November.
Liz Cheney has fought against Trump for the bulk of his presidency as well as after he left office. Cheney voted once in 2021 to impeach President Trump, and she is the Republican heading the January 6 committee. For many voters, it is her dogged determination to show that Donald Trump caused the events of January 6, although Trump won Wyoming in 2020. In fact, Trump won the state by just over 69 percent of the vote. Joe Biden won 33 percent of the vote in Cheney’s state.
Cheney has also said that the Republican Party “is very sick.” She has accused Trump of “preying on American patriotism and turning their love of country into a weapon.”
Cheney is not only behind in the polls, but her opponent, the Trump-backed Harriet Hageman leads current polling by nearly 30 points.
What’s even worse for Cheney is that the Mar-a-Lago raid may have really rallied President Trump’s base – which could mean more people vote for Hageman since Trump has endorsed her.
Some voters have found issue with her campaign ads; one in particular features her father, former Vice President Dick Cheney, dressed in Western-style garb. In the ad, former VP Cheney calls Donald Trump a “coward.” Cheney also says that in the history of the country, “there has never been a bigger threat than Donald Trump.”
This ad could also add to Cheney’s unpopularity in the wake of the Mar-a-Lago raid and Wyoming’s overall support of the former president.
In Alaska, Republican Lisa Murkowski is also being challenged by a Trump-backed primary candidate – the former Alaska Department of Administration Commissioner Kelly Tshibaka. Tshibaka has taken Murkowski to task on not publicly condemning the Mar-a-Lago raid. Tshibaka has gone as far as to say the Murkowski’s failure to comment is tacit approval.
However, Murkowski is faring better in polls than Cheney; the race between Murkowski and Tshibaka is much closer in Alaska.
Murkowski drew the ire of many Republicans when she voted against many Trump policies that traversed through Congress, including a repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Murkowski spent the years between 2017 and 2021 voting opposite of her party many times. Murkowski voted not to impeach Trump in 2019, but she did vote to impeach him in 2021.
The primary in Alaska is drawing a great deal of attention due to a new ranked-choice voting system that could pit Murkowski and Tshibaka against each other once more in November. The new system will put all statewide candidates on the same primary ballot regardless of party affiliation. The four candidates receiving the most votes will be on the ballot in Alaska in November. There’s a second portion of how Alaska will determine who is on the ballot – the four candidates in each race are ranked by popular vote. If one candidate gets more than fifty percent of the vote tomorrow, that candidate and the second-ranking candidate on the ballot will vie for the Senate seat. If no one gets the 50 percent mark, then the candidate with the least amount of support will be taken off the ballot.
Murkowski is the only Republican Senator who voted to impeach Trump up for re-election in 2022.