CHEYENNE, Wyo. — When Harriet Hageman first faced a raucous crowd for her election night party at the Cheyenne Frontier Days Event Center minutes after her primary win was all but confirmed, she captured the mood of the event with a simple, direct opening phrase.
“Today, Wyoming has spoken.”
Hageman, originally from Fort Laramie and endorsed by former President Donald Trump, defeated incumbent U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney in Wyoming’s Republican Primary on Tuesday in one of the most high-profile political races in the state’s history.
Cheney conceded shortly before 8:30 p.m., about an hour and a half after polls closed in Wyoming, once early returns showed the congresswoman far behind her main challenger. Though all results are unofficial until certified by local and state officials, a race update from the Secretary of State’s office shortly after 9:30 p.m. showed Hageman having received over two and a half times the votes as the incumbent.
The 59-year-old Hageman is now near-certain to win Wyoming’s at-large congressional seat against Democratic nominee Lynette Grey Bull, who won her party primary Tuesday, in November’s general election. No Democrat has represented Wyoming in the U.S. House of Representatives since Teno Roncalio held the role in 1978.
“Wyoming has spoken, and we have made it clear that we are taking our country back,” Hageman said in her victory speech Tuesday night to much applause from those in attendance. “Today, Wyoming has put the elites on notice. We are no longer going to tolerate representatives who don’t represent us.”
The comment was in obvious reference to Cheney, who was first voted to the seat in 2016 and soundly earned reelection in both 2018 and 2020. However, both of those occurred prior to what’s largely considered to be the reason many Republicans — both in-state and nationwide — began to side against her: the fallout from the events of Jan. 6, 2021.
Much of the national attention directed toward the race was due to Cheney’s noted opposition to Trump in the aftermath of the U.S. Capitol attack on that day, including her vote to impeach the former commander-in-chief and her participation in the Jan. 6 Select Committee, in which she acts as vice chair.
Hageman, an attorney who lost in the 2018 Republican gubernatorial primary, announced her candidacy for the seat this past September and was quickly endorsed by Trump, bolstering her support among some conservatives. She thanked Trump and several other Congressional supporters in her speech while continuing to blast Cheney’s tenure and the current administration of President Joe Biden.
“If we put you in power, you will be accountable to us, you will answer to us and you will do what is in our best interest,” Hageman said. “And if you don’t, we will fire you.
“The wreckage that we are seeing is not by accident, but by design. And it is imperative that we focus like a laser beam on blocking any further damage to our republic. When I’m representing you, I will not waste any time. I will fight every day to block the destruction of our country.”
Cheney had been distantly trailing Hageman in most local and national polls in the weeks leading up to Election Day. A University of Wyoming survey published five days before the primary had Hageman leading the incumbent by 29 percentage points with a four-point margin of error.
Now, with her path to Washington, D.C. likely solidified, Hageman in November should be the fourth consecutive Republican woman — following Barbara Cubin, Cynthia Lummis and Cheney — to be elected as Wyoming’s U.S. representative.
But this time around, many more eyeballs in Wyoming (and across America) will be eagerly awaiting her swearing-in ceremony.
“The encouragement and guidance throughout the state has been indescribable,” Hageman said. “It has been immeasurable, it has been so humbling. … I want to thank all of you who have been praying for our country, our state and our campaign.”