Midterm Roundup: Liz Cheney’s Last Stand

The week ahead: Rep. Liz Cheney faces her Waterloo, Alaska and Hawaii vote, and two upcoming special elections offer clues on the midterm environment.

State of Play – August 13

Wyoming Waterloo

Republican Rep. Liz Cheney faces voters Tuesday.  Cheney trails in publicly available polling to her top challenger, onetime Cheney supporter Harriet Hageman. Hageman is backed by former president Donald Trump.

  • Cheney’s vote to impeach Donald Trump over his role in the Capitol riot and decision to devote the past year and a half to fighting Trump’s lies about the 2020 election are expected to cost her her seat.
  • Hawaii Lt. Governor Josh Green is the frontrunner to succeed his boss, outgoing Democratic Gov. David Ige. Democratic Rep. Kai Kahele appears to be his leading rival, although it’s unclear whether he’ll give up his job moonlighting as a pilot if he becomes governor.
  • Like the governor’s race, the winner of the open contest for Hawaii’s 2nd District will likely be decided in the Democratic primary. Outside groups backing state Sen. Jill Tokuda and state Rep. Patrick Branco have spent nearly $1.4 million on the race.
  • Alaska’s unique top-four primary gives moderate Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski an advantage over her Trump-endorsed challenger Kelly Tshibaka. Both candidates are expected to advance to the general election where a ranked-choice voting system will determine the winner.
  • Alaska will hold an unusual double-election for the state’s vacant Congressional seat. Voters will select one of three candidates – Republicans Sarah Palin and Nick Begich and Democrat Mary Peltola – to finish the late Rep. Don Young’s term while picking the top-four candidates for November’s election for a full term.
  • New York State will hold two special elections on August 23 for the seats left vacant by the resignations of Rep. Tom Reed (R) and Rep. Antonio Delgado (D).
  • Republicans are optimistic they can hold Reed’s 23rd District. The G.O.P. selected Reed’s former district director Joe Sempolinski to take on Democratic nominee Max Della Pia, a decorated Air Force veteran.
  • Rep. Delgado abandoned his swingy Hudson Valley seat to become New York Governor Kathy Hochul’s running mate. Local Democrats backed Ulster County executive Pat Ryan to defend the closely-divided 19th District.
  • Republicans are hopeful they can flip the 19th District in August and hold it in November with their nominee, Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro.


reporting from the left side of the aisle


  • POLITICO noted Cheney’s final pitch emphasizes her role as a member of the January 6 committee and a pledge to ensure “peaceful transitions of power, not violent confrontations, intimidation, and thuggery.”
  • Axios highlighted Cheney’s closing ad. The conservative Wyoming Congresswoman attacked Republicans for spreading “poisonous lies” about the 2020 election and said stolen election falsehoods are “a cancer that threatens our great republic.”
  • The New Yorker praised “Liz Cheney’s Kamikaze Campaign” for being “willing to lose her seat to take down Donald Trump.” Cheney’s ability to speak “fluent Republican” is considered an asset to the January 6 committee by making it “feel more approachable to Republicans.”



  • FOX News reported former president Donald Trump campaigned for Sarah Palin on the day of the unprecedented FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago. The former president quipped, “Another day in paradise.”
  • Breitbart reported out-of-state dollars are flooding Wyoming to support Cheney ahead of Tuesday’s primary. Cheney outraised Harriet Hageman, her leading rival, by a margin of three to one, but Hageman raised four times as much money from Wyomingites compared with Cheney.
  • The Federalist published an “exclusive” statement from Murkowski challenger Kelly Tshibaka condemning Sen. Murkowski’s silence over the FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago. Tshibaka unironically appropriated woke ideology by saying Murkowski’s silence means “she condones it.”

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© Dominic Moore, 2022