Live Updates

Wyoming and Alaska primaries

Watch what Liz Cheney told supporters after conceding primary
03:12

What you need to know

  • Wyoming GOP Rep. Liz Cheney, an ardent critic of former President Donald Trump and vice chair of the Jan. 6 House committee, will lose her primary to Trump-backed Harriet Hageman, CNN projects. In her concession speech, Cheney vowed to continue to fight Trump’s election lies and steer the GOP from his influence, telling supporters “now the real work begins.”
  • In Alaska’s Senate primary, another high-profile Trump critic faced a candidate backed by the former President. CNN projects GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who voted to convict Trump in his second impeachment trial, and Trump-endorsed Kelly Tshibaka are among the candidates advancing to the November election.
  • In Alaska’s House primary, former GOP Gov. Sarah Palin is among the candidates advancing to the general election, CNN projects. In the special election to fill the remainder of the late Rep. Don Young’s House term, CNN projects the race will head to a ranked choice voting tabulation after none of the candidates topped 50%.

Our live coverage has ended. Read more about Tuesday’s elections in the posts below.

37 Posts

Top takeaways from the Wyoming and Alaska elections

Republican congressional candidate Harriet Hageman and her husband John Sundahl wave to the crowd at her primary election night party in Cheyenne, Wyoming, on Tuesday.

Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, who since the insurrection at the Capitol has become the Republican Party’s most forceful critic of former President Donald Trump, was ousted from her House seat by Trump-backed Harriet Hageman, CNN projected Tuesday.

In Alaska, voters were casting ballots in another race the former President is focused on, with Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski squaring off in the first of what’s likely to be two rounds against the Trump-endorsed Kelly Tshibaka.

Former Gov. Sarah Palin, meanwhile, is attempting a political comeback in a special election for the state’s lone House seat.

Here are some top takeaways from Tuesday’s contests in Wyoming and Alaska:

Trump’s intra-party rivals: Trump and his allies have spent the spring and summer turning Republican primaries across the political map into bitter fights in which loyalty to the former President was the central factor.

He lost some high-profile battles, including in Georgia, where Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger held off Trump-back challengers.

But in most open-seat races, Trump’s candidates triumphed. And on Tuesday in Wyoming, Trump, who had endorsed Hageman on the day she entered the race against Cheney, claimed his biggest victory yet.

Cheney chose to go down fighting: In the lead-up to Tuesday’s primary, Cheney insisted she was trying to win.

But her strategy — attempting to convince the Republican electorate in a state the former President won by a margin of 43 percentage points in 2020 to turn on him — suggests she’d made a different choice: to go down swinging.

US Rep. Liz Cheney gives a concession speech to supporters in Jackson, Wyoming, on Tuesday.

Her election night event, on a ranch in Jackson Hole with the sun setting over the Grand Tetons in the background, didn’t feature any television screens for supporters to watch results tabulated in a race Cheney was all but certain to lose.

She told supporters that she could have cozied up to Trump to do what she’d done in the primary two years earlier: win with 73% of the vote. “That was a path I could not and would not take,” Cheney said. “No House seat, no office in this land, is more important than the principles that we are all sworn to protect. And I well understood the potential political consequences of abiding by my duty.”

Cheney’s decision to use the spotlight of her high-profile House primary to tee off on Trump was never a winning one in Wyoming. But it did endear her to a segment of anti-Trump donors and position her as the GOP’s most strident critic of Trump.

What’s next for Cheney? The morning after her defeat in the Wyoming GOP House primary, the three-term congresswoman told the “Today” show that she is “thinking about” running for president and will make a decision in “the coming months.”

“I’m not going to make any announcements here this morning,” she told NBC’s Savannah Guthrie.

Cheney used her concession speech to preview a continued fight against Trump, without laying out exactly what that means.

“I have said since January 6 that I will do whatever it takes to ensure that Donald Trump is never again near the Oval Office, and I mean it. This is a fight for all of us, together,” she said. “I’m a conservative Republican. … But I love my country more. So I ask you tonight to join me: As we leave here, let us resolve that we will stand together, Republicans, Democrats and independents, against those who would destroy our republic.”

As she left the stage, Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down” blared over the event’s speakers.

Overnight, the Cheney campaign filed paperwork with the Federal Election Committee creating a leadership PAC to be called “The Great Task.”

This is the first of several next steps from Cheney, an adviser tells CNN, as she starts to put her election night speech from Wyoming into action and opens a new chapter in the wake of her defeat in her congressional seat.

Waiting on Alaska results — but how long? Palin, the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee who has not run for office since then, is attempting a political comeback in the special election to fill the remaining months of the late Rep. Don Young’s House term.

But it will take weeks to sort out whether she wins the runoff election against fellow Republican businessman Nick Begich III, Democratic former state lawmaker Mary Peltola and Republican Tara Sweeney, who previously served as assistant secretary for Indian Affairs at the US Department of the Interior.

The special election is Alaska’s first using the state’s new ranked choice voting system. CNN projected that none of the three candidates will receive more than 50% of the vote in the first round, meaning that the state will tabulate second-choice votes on Aug. 31.

Read more takeaways here.

Key things to know about Mary Peltola, the Democrat running against Republican Sarah Palin

Alaska’s special election to fill the late Rep. Don Young’s House seat won’t be decided anytime soon: ballots will continue arriving and being counted for more than a week, and the state won’t tabulate its ranked-choice results until Aug. 31. 

But the biggest surprise in the early results in Wednesday’s early morning hours was the strong showing by Democratic former state lawmaker Mary Peltola, who is competing against two Republicans, former Gov. Sarah Palin and businessman Nick Begich III. 

CNN projected earlier tonight that no candidate will reach a majority of first choice votes and that the race will therefore head to ranked choice voting tabulation.

Peltola’s chances in the special election got a major boost when Al Gross, an independent who was one of the four candidates to advance to the runoff, dropped out of the race. Alaska elections officials did not replace him on the ballot, which meant Democratic votes would be funneled almost entirely to Peltola, while two Republicans battled each other.

Peltola, a salmon advocate from the western Alaska bush — a region not connected by road with the rest of the state — is seeking to become the first Alaska Native elected to Congress. 

“I just think it’s high time that an Alaska Native be part of our congressional delegation,” she told CNN in a June interview.

She’s also someone with relationships across party lines, including with the family of Young, who held Alaska’s at-large House seat for 49 years before his death in March. 

Peltola’s father and Young taught school together decades ago, before Young was elected to Congress, she said in June. When she was attending high school in Pennsylvania, she once spent Thanksgiving with Young’s family on the East Coast. 

“Everybody in Alaska had some kind of relationship with Don Young,” Peltola said in June. “It’s just a matter of fact. In Alaska, because our state is so small in population, we’re all connected, and it’s like one degree of separation, practically.”

Peltola aligns with Democrats on most major issues, including abortion rights. But she also touted her record working with Republicans in the state legislature, where she served from 1999 until 2009, overlapping at the end of her tenure with Palin’s governorship. 

“I definitely am not a Democrat who goes 100% with the party platform on every issue. That is not the way I see myself, and that was very evident in the 10 years I spent in the state House,” she said.

CNN Projection: Alaska special election will go to ranked choice tabulation

The results of the Alaska special general election to fill the remainder of the late Rep. Don Young’s term remain uncertain, as CNN projects none of the candidates on the ballot topped 50% on Tuesday — a necessary feat given the state’s new ranked choice voting rules.

The special general election, which was triggered by Young’s death, marks the first time that Alaska is using ranked choice voting — a process that asks voters to rank their preferred candidates, with the votes for the lowest-finishing candidates coming into play only if no one tops 50%. CNN projected that no candidate crossed that threshold, which means it will be a while until the winner is determined, with the ranked choice voting tabulation scheduled to begin on Aug. 31.

The race to determine who will fill the remainder of Young’s term pits former Gov. Sarah Palin, the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee who has not appeared on a ballot since that election loss, against Nick Begich III, who won the Alaska Republican Party’s endorsement in April and is the product of a powerful Democratic Alaska political family, and former Democratic state Rep. Mary Peltola.

All three candidates and independent Al Gross advanced to the August special general election after a June nonpartisan special primary, but Gross withdrew from the race and encouraged his supporters to back Peltola.

No matter who wins the special general election to fill the remainder of Young’s term, there will be a regular general election, which will also use ranked choice voting, in November to determine who will hold the seat in the next Congress.

Palin, Begich and Peltola were also among the candidates on the ballot for the primary election on Tuesday. All three will advance to the November election, CNN projects, with a fourth candidate to be determined.

Read more about the race here.

CNN Projection: Sarah Palin, Nick Begich and Mary Peltola will advance in Alaska's House race  

Sarah Palin, Nick Begich and Mary Peltola.

Republican Sarah Palin, Republican Nick Begich III and Democrat Mary Peltola will advance to the November election in Alaska’s race for the state’s lone House seat, CNN projects. The fall election will decide who will win the seat for the next full term.

A fourth candidate is yet to be determined. Under Alaska’s nonpartisan primary system, the top four finishers, regardless of party, advance to the general election.

The three candidates are also running in a special election to fill the remainder of the House seat, which has been vacant since Rep. Don Young’s death in March.

Palin, the former Alaska governor and Republican vice presidential nominee, was backed by former President Donald Trump earlier this year. Begich won the Alaska Republican Party’s endorsement in April and is the product of a powerful Alaska political family. Peltola is a former Democratic state representative.

CNN Projection: Murkowski, Tshibaka and Chesbro will advance in Alaska's Senate race

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, left, and Kelly Tshibaka, right.

Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski will advance to the November general election, CNN projects, along with the Trump-backed former Alaska Department of Administration commissioner Kelly Tshibaka, following the state’s nonpartisan primary.

Under Alaska’s nonpartisan primary system, the top four finishers, regardless of party, advance to the general election.

Retired educator Patricia Chesbro, who is endorsed by Alaska’s Democratic Party, will also advance to the November contest, CNN projects.

CNN has not yet projected a fourth winner.

Given the new voting procedure, which Alaskans voted on in 2020, Murkowski avoided a partisan primary contest with Tshibaka and was able to survive a first-round showdown.

Former President Donald Trump endorsed Tshibaka last year, pledging to campaign against Murkowski, the only one of the seven GOP senators who voted to convict Trump during his second impeachment trial who is up for reelection this year. The former President traveled to Alaska to hold a rally for Tshibaka in July.

Murkowski’s family has held her Senate seat for more than four decades. Her father, Frank Murkowski, was elected to the Senate in 1980 and appointed his daughter to fill his seat in 2002 when he was elected governor.

More background: Murkowski has held the seat since, winning her most dramatic victory in 2010, when she lost the Republican primary to Joe Miller but then became only the second person ever (after Strom Thurmond in 1954) to win a Senate seat via a write-in campaign. Moderate on issues like abortion, Murkowski has beat back candidates from the right before. 

But her criticism of Trump could make her vulnerable to Tshibaka in November. Murkowski did not vote for the former President in 2020 and told The Hill she wrote in someone else who lost. Murkowski was censured by the Alaska Republican Party in a resolution following her vote to impeach Trump.

Tshibaka launched her campaign last year, pitching the election as an outsider versus a powerful, longtime insider.

Before joining Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s administration, Tshibaka worked in the offices of the inspector general for the US Postal Service, Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice. Tshibaka acknowledged she worked in Washington, DC but “fought to expose waste and fraud in government,” seeking to draw a contrast with Murkowski’s extensive experience in the Capitol. 

The November election will be held using ranked choice voting.

CNN Projection: Mike Dunleavy, Les Gara and Bill Walker will advance in Alaska's gubernatorial race

Mike Dunleavy, Bill Walker and Les Gara.

Incumbent Republican Mike Dunleavy, Democrat Les Gara and independent Bill Walker will advance to the November election in Alaska’s race for governor, CNN projects.

A fourth candidate is yet to be determined. Under Alaska’s nonpartisan primary system, the top four finishers, regardless of party, advance to the general election.

Final polls are closing across Alaska

Alaskans cast their votes in Anchorage on Tuesday.

Its 1 a.m. ET and final polls are closing across Alaska. Some polls in the state closed earlier at 12 a.m. ET.

Here are the key races we are tracking:

The state is hosting a special election to fill the state’s at large House seat, which has been vacant since Rep. Don Young’s death in March. Three candidates, including former Alaska governor and Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, are on the ballot, with the winner decided by ranked choice voting.

Also running is Republican Nick Begich III — who won the Alaska Republican Party’s endorsement in April and is the product of a powerful Alaska political family as the grandson of the Democratic congressman of the same name, who disappeared on a flight in 1972, and the nephew of former Democratic Sen. Mark Begich — and former Democratic state Rep. Mary Peltola. Independent candidate Al Gross was previously running but withdrew from the race.

The three special election contenders — along with nearly 20 other candidates, most notably Republican Tara Sweeney — are also running in a concurrent primary that will determine the four finalists for the November election that will decide who will win the at-large House seat for the next full term. There is also a gubernatorial primary.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski speaks at a hearing in May.

Additionally, Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski is the only senator who voted to convict Trump in his second impeachment trial facing voters this year. Trump has endorsed Kelly Tshibaka, the former commissioner of the Alaska Department of Administration, in the Senate primary. However, due to Alaska’s top four primary system — where all candidates run the same ballot and the top four candidates advance to the general election —it’s likely that both Tshibaka and Murkowski will be on the ballot in November.

CNN’s Gregory Krieg contributed reporting to this post.