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Liz Cheney urges Arizona voters to reject GOP candidates for governor, secretary of state in November

CBS News poll shows tight races in Arizona
CBS News poll shows tight races in Arizona 03:34

Washington — Republican Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming said Wednesday during an appearance in Arizona that if she lived in the state, she would vote for the Democratic candidates for governor and secretary of state on the ballot in November, and urged voters there to reject the Republican nominees.

"For almost 40 years now, I've been voting Republican," Cheney said during an event hosted by the McCain Institute at Arizona State University.  "I don't know if I have ever voted for a Democrat, but if I lived in Arizona now, I absolutely would for governor and for secretary of state."

Cheney has been sounding the alarm about the future of American democracy in the months since the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol and has been the most vocal GOP critic of former President Donald Trump, signaling last month she would leave the Republican Party if he were the presidential nominee in 2024.

She was one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump for inciting the insurrection at the Capitol, and she is the vice chair of the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack.

The Wyoming congresswoman, who lost her primary to Trump-backed Harriet Hageman in August, stressed the importance of Arizona's elections this year, saying the outcome is "important for the nation and for the future functioning of our constitutional republic."

Cheney specifically highlighted Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake and GOP nominee for secretary of state Mark Finchem, who have spread Trump's baseless claim that the 2020 presidential election was stolen, as a risk to the nation's future.

"They both said that they will only honor the results of an election if they agree with it," she said, highlighting the recounts, audits and failed legal challenges that affirmed President Biden's win in Arizona. "They've looked at all of that — the law, the facts and the rulings of the courts, and they've said it doesn't matter to them."

Cheney continued: "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."

In an interview with CBS News on Wednesday, Finchem refused to say Mr. Biden was legitimately elected, but acknowledged he is the president. Finchem was among the crowd of Trump's supporters who marched to the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 and he was interviewed by the House select committee and Justice Department in their investigations.

Both Lake and Finchem have been endorsed by Trump, and the former president is holding a rally in Arizona on Sunday in support of Lake as well as the GOP nominee for Senate Blake Masters and the "entire Arizona Trump ticket," according to his political organization, Save America PAC.

Other Republicans, such as Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, have also rallied support for Lake, and Cheney criticized them for doing so.

"Glenn Youngkin should not come here and campaign for Kari Lake. Ted Cruz, who absolutely knows better, absolutely knows that what he's advocating is unconstitutional, that what she's saying is unconstitutional, they know it," she said. "And as Republicans, there have to be consequences and 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 uphold their oath."

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