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KUNC is among the founding partners of the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration of public media stations that serve the Western states of Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.

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

Courtesy of Hageman for Wyoming
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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% 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.
Copyright 2022 Wyoming Public Radio. To see more, visit Wyoming Public Radio.

Will Walkey