Tuesday’s Wyoming Election Was Largest Primary Turnout in State History 

Harriet Hageman, Republican US Representative candidate for Wyoming, speaks during a Primary Night Watch Party in Cheyenne, Wyoming, US, on Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2022. Former President Donald Trump has endorsed Hageman and engaged in a sustained campaign of mutual hostility with Cheney over her role on the Democrat-dominated panel investigating …
David Williams/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Tuesday’s Wyoming election was the largest primary turnout in the state’s history, according to the Wyoming Election Division.

The massive turnout fueled Rep. Liz Cheney’s (R-WY) ouster from Congress. Trump-endorsed candidate Harriet Hageman crushed Cheney by 37 percent with 95 percent reporting.

Voters seemed to be energized by Cheney’s feud with former President Donald Trump, causing them to show up to the polls in record numbers.

The Associated Press

From left, Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., Vice Chair Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., and Rep. Elaine Luria, D-Va., listen as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol holds a hearing at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, July 21, 2022. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

According to the state’s data, a total 182,142 of voters turned out to vote in Tuesday’s primary, with 171,964 Republican votes, 8,194 Democrat votes, and 1,984 nonpartisan votes.

Voters wait in line to cast ballots outside a polling location at North Christian Church in Cheyenne, Wyoming, US, on Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2022.  Liz Cheney, who has held the states sole seat in the US House since 2017, is all but certain to lose to top challenger Harriet Hageman, who leads the incumbent by almost 30 percentage points in the latest polling.Photographer: David Williams/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Voters wait in line to cast ballots outside a polling location at North Christian Church in Cheyenne, Wyoming, on Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2022. (David Williams/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

In the 2020 primary, only 140,042 voters showed up to the polls. The number was similar in 2018 with 139,809. In the 2016 election cycle, when Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) first won her Wyoming seat, only 114,437 residents voted in the primary.

The lowest turnout on record since 1978 was in 2008 when just 108,238 voters were cast in the primary.

Liz Cheney defeat (Alex Wong / Getty)

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) gives a concession speech to supporters during a primary night event on August 16, 2022 in Jackson, Wyoming. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

The data comes as Cheney was the eighth out of ten pro-impeachment House Republicans to exit Congress. The 2021 House impeachment vote of Trump was one of the most career-wrecking show of hands in congressional history.

The Associated Press

A billboard outside Cheyenne, Wyoming, on July 19, 2022. (AP Photo/Thomas Peipert)

In the Senate, five pro-impeachment senators remain. Just one is up for reelection in 2022 — establishment Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), who is being challenged by Trump-endorsed Kelly Tshibaka.

With partial results reporting, the Alaska primary race may also have a huge turnout. With 68 percent reporting, nearly 142,000 votes have been cast. In 2016, when Murkowski last ran for reelection in a presidential year, 310,735 votes were cast in the primary race.

Election cycles in presidential years typically receive larger turnouts than non-presidential years. For instance, 109,750 votes were cast in the 2010 non-presidential primary cycle in the race between Murkowski and Joe Miller, who won the primary by 6 votes but lost the general election. The state had 487,456 registered voters in 2010, which grew to 586,318 in 2022.

In Tuesday’s primary in Alaska, Murkowski bested Tshibaka by a small margin. Both candidates advanced to the general election under the Alaskan election rules that benefit the incumbent.

Follow Wendell Husebø on Twitter @WendellHusebø. He is the author of Politics of Slave Morality.

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