Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) urged voters in Arizona to reject Republican nominees for governor and secretary of state, describing them as threats to democracy because they have worked to overturn election results in 2020 and indicated they may not accept the outcome this year.
“If you care about democracy, and you care about the survival of our Republic, then you need to understand, we all have to understand, that we cannot give people power who have told us that they will not honor elections,” Cheney said during an appearance at Arizona State University.
The congresswoman, one of former president Donald Trump’s fiercest critics, is vice chair of the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol by a pro-Trump mob. She spoke late Wednesday at the McCain Institute’s “Defending American Democracy Series.”
Cheney’s targets were Republican gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake, a former television reporter, and secretary of state candidate Mark Finchem, a state legislator. Lake has been endorsed by Trump and, like Finchem, falsely claims the 2020 election was stolen from Trump. Finchem was at the Capitol on Jan. 6 when it was attacked by Trump supporters looking to stop Congress from confirming Joe Biden’s win. He also said he was interviewed by federal officials about the attack but has denied any wrongdoing.
Lake has called President Biden an “illegitimate president” while echoing Trump’s false claims that the 2020 election was rigged. Finchem has said that if he had been secretary of state in 2020, he would not have certified Biden’s win in the state.
Lake and Finchem have suggested that next month’s midterm results could be tainted by fraud.
Reviews of the state’s 2020 election results have shown no widespread fraud.
Public polling shows Lake is in a statistical tie with her Democratic opponent, Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs. There is not widespread polling in the secretary of state race, where Finchem faces Democrat Adrian Fontes, a former Maricopa County Recorder.
Pressed by an attendee on what a Republican voter should do, Cheney said, “I don’t know that I have ever voted for a Democrat. But if I lived in Arizona now, I absolutely would — and for governor and for secretary of state.”
The comments Wednesday from Cheney are her latest warning to Republicans and come after her sharp break with the GOP following the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol by supporters of Trump who believed his false claims that he won the election.
Her warning also comes as nearly 300 election deniers are on the ballot across the country in the midterms, posing not only a potential threat to this year’s counting and certification of election results but potentially in the presidential election in 2024 as well.
The McCain Institute is named after the state’s late Republican senator — John McCain, who criticized Trump and drew his wrath.
Since the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, Cheney has spoken out not only against Trump but his supporters in the party and candidates who, like Trump, refuse to accept the results of the 2020 election. Her rebuke won her adulation across the aisle but made her a pariah in her party. She was deposed from a leadership position in the Republican House caucus and in August she lost her GOP primary for reelection.