Liz Cheney Berates MAGA Candidates & Vows To Fight Back

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Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) spoke out Wednesday against GOP nominees for governor and Secretary of State in Arizona, where, if successful, the Trump-aligned candidates could put democracy at risk via refusing to accept the results of duly documented, secure elections or imposing otherwise suppressive measures.

Both Kari Lake, the GOP pick for governor, and Mark Finchem, the nominee for Secretary of State, have expressed support for conspiracy theories about imaginary fraud in elections. They were involved in litigation pushing for the hand count of ballots in Arizona in place of tabulation machines connected to baseless security concerns, with Mike Lindell apparently providing financial support for their efforts. “So what happens here in Arizona is not just important for Arizona, but it’s important for the nation and for the future functioning of our constitutional republic,” Cheney said.

Under rules that were in place for the 2020 presidential election and will presumably remain at least unless Congress finalizes reforms to the Electoral Count Act, the Arizona governor has a direct role in the certification of presidential election results from the state. What if Lake, as governor, refused to go along with the legal process? Polling indicates her race is close, with recent CBS numbers showing a tie between her and Democratic contender Katie Hobbs.

Speaking at a McCain Institute event at an Arizona State University campus, Cheney added that she “absolutely would” vote for the Democrats in the races for governor and Secretary of State in Arizona if she lived there. That’s no light remark. In Congress, she has consistently voted in line with conservative causes. “In Arizona today, you have a candidate for governor in Kari Lake, you have a candidate for Secretary of State in Mark Finchem, both of whom have said – this isn’t a surprise, it’s not a secret – they both said that they will only honor the results of an election if they agree with it,” Cheney remarked. “They’ve looked at all of that – the law, the facts and the rulings of the courts, and they’ve said it doesn’t matter to them… 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 also expressed criticism of Republican officials including Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin and Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas) for planning campaigning on Lake’s behalf. Trump will soon be back in Arizona touting her too. Reforms proposed in the Senate would partially streamline the process of individual states certifying their presidential results, specifying the governor as responsible for submitting slates of electoral votes to federal authorities, although that proposal maintains the possibility for officials in that state to legislatively set a different procedure. The point would be eliminating possibilities for individual officials to submit competing slates of electoral votes, as Trump and allies of his sought after the 2020 presidential race — although concentrating power to keep it away from potential meddlers could complicate matters if someone like Lake nabs a spot where that power remains.