By Maeve Reston, CNN
Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney told Arizona voters on Wednesday that they will play a critical role in “ensuring the future functioning of our constitutional republic” — warning that election deniers like GOP gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake and Secretary of State nominee Mark Finchem could put the republic at risk.
The three-term GOP congresswoman, who lost to a Donald Trump-backed primary challenger earlier this year, cast the stakes of Arizona’s elections in national terms. “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,” she said at a McCain Institute event at Arizona State University’s campus in Tempe.
Cheney has vowed to do whatever is necessary to prevent candidates who repeat the former President’s lies about the 2020 election from winning in November.
She noted on Wednesday that she couldn’t think of an instance where she’d voted for a Democrat, but added that if she lived in Arizona now, “I absolutely would — for governor and for secretary of state,” following up on comments she made at the Texas Tribune Festival last month that she was willing to campaign for Democrats who are running against election deniers.
Lake and Finchem have placed Trump’s falsehoods about the 2020 election at the center of their campaigns in Arizona, and the former President is headed to the state — a crucial battleground that he lost in 2020 — to campaign for them on Sunday.
Answering a question on Wednesday as to what she thinks about as she sets about her future work to defend democracy, the vice chair of the House select committee probing January 6, 2021, said she spends a lot of time thinking about Arizona.
“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,” said Cheney.
“They’ve looked at all of that — the law, the facts and the rulings of the courts,” she said, referring to the 2020 election, “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 continued.
Cheney, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, said she was not willing to give up on the GOP.
“I’m not ready to say we’re going to allow Trump, and those who are at war with democracy, to hijack our party. I’m not ready to give up that fight,” she said.
But she called out members of her party on Wednesday, including Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, who has made plans to campaign with Lake, and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who campaigned for her on Wednesday.
“Glenn Youngkin should not come here and campaign for Kari Lake,” Cheney said. “Ted Cruz, who absolutely knows better, absolutely knows that what she’s advocating is unconstitutional. … And as Republicans, there have to be consequences. We have to make sure that people understand that we’re going to vote for those that we can trust and depend on to do the right thing and to uphold their oath.”
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