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Hageman says Trump endorsement 'propelled' her to victory. What about other Western races?

Representative Harriet Hageman speaks to a group of people from behind a podium and in front of her campaign signs.
Courtesy of Hageman for Wyoming

Former President Donald Trump has been giving out plenty of endorsements this primary season. According to the aggregation website Ballotpedia, he’s issued 235 endorsements as of Aug. 17 and has a record of 183-17 in the primaries.

In Wyoming this week, attorney Harriet Hageman convincingly beat incumbent Liz Cheney in the state’s Republican congressional primary. Hageman took all but two counties – left-leaning Teton and Albany – and easily carried population centers like Casper and Cheyenne.

Hageman was quick to thank Trump during her speech after Cheney called her to concede.

“Wyoming only has one congressional representative, and we have to make it count,” she said. “His clear and unwavering support from the very beginning propelled us to victory tonight.”

For many voters on the ground, their motivation to turn out had to do with Cheney’s vote to impeach Trump and her role as vice chair of the House Select Committee investigating Trump's involvement in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

“We are no longer going to tolerate representatives who don't represent us,” Hageman said.

Just 16 percent of Hageman voters believe Joe Biden’s election was legitimate, according to a recent poll.

Trump-backed candidates have also performed well in several states in the Mountain West. In Arizona, those candidates swept nominations for governor, senator, state senator, and state representative. In Nevada, a Trump-backed election denier won a primary for the Senate. And in Utah, Idaho, and Montana, several incumbents fended off challengers with the help of the former president.

So, where hasn’t a Trump endorsement worked out? The Idaho governor’s race was a notable failure, as Janice McGeachin was unable to unseat Brad Little in the GOP primary.

In Wyoming, Trump also dipped his toes in a race for the state’s chief education officer. His preferred candidate, the incumbent, lost narrowly.

Many Western states will have general races that put Trump’s sway to the test in November. But as Hageman's victory shows, his name still carries quite a bit of weight among his loyalists.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Nevada Public Radio, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUNR in Nevada, the O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West in Montana, KUNC in Colorado, KUNM in New Mexico, with support from affiliate stations across the region. Funding for the Mountain West News Bureau is provided in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Will Walkey is a contributing journalist and former reporter for Wyoming Public Radio. Through 2023, Will was WPR's regional reporter with the Mountain West News Bureau. He first arrived in Wyoming in 2020, where he covered Teton County for KHOL 89.1 FM in Jackson. His work has aired on NPR and numerous member stations throughout the Rockies, and his story on elk feedgrounds in Western Wyoming won a regional Murrow award in 2021.
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