WY Senate: Liz Cheney to abandon primary challenge to Mike Enzi

Liz Cheney

Liz Cheney was never really ever to get her campaign against Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY) off the ground. Despite her credentials as the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney and endorsements prominent neoconservatives, she made constant missteps that hurt her standing with Republican primary voters.

The New York Times reported early this morning that Cheney will end her primary bid against Enzi, delivering a blow to a Republican establishment hoping to reassert itself in the 2014 election:

Liz Cheney intends to withdraw from the Wyoming Republican Senate primary, according to two sources familiar with her plans, bringing an abrupt end to her unsteady challenge to the incumbent, Michael B. Enzi.

Ms. Cheney, 47, the former vice president’s elder daughter, is expected to drop out of the race this week, citing family reasons. She did not respond to emails and phone calls late Sunday.
Having relocated from suburban Washington to the Jackson Hole area in 2012, she faced relentless questions about her residency and why she would move to the state her father once represented in Congress and almost immediately begin running for office against an incumbent. Longtime friends of the Cheney family in Wyoming, including former Senator Alan K. Simpson, fretted publicly about such a divisive primary. His open expressions of concern prompted a private rebuke from Liz Cheney’s mother, Lynne, who told him to “shut up,” according to Mr. Simpson.

The perception of Liz Cheney as a carpetbagger was compounded when it was revealed this summer in the Wyoming news media that she had sought a fishing license — a rite of passage in the state — by claiming on her application to be a 10-year resident.

This campaign has taken a tremendous toll on Cheney family after the very public spat between the candidate, Liz, and her sister, Mary, over the issue of gay marriage. Moreover, what little polling there was in the Wyoming Republican Senate primary found Cheney trailing in a big way.

For example, a survey released in July by Public Policy Polling showed Enzi with a 28-point lead over Cheney. If that wasn’t bad enough, a poll conducted in November by The Wickers Group found Enzi up by 52 points.

The biggest problem that Cheney had, outside of the perception Wyoming Republicans had of her, was that no one really understood why she was running. She didn’t really explain the differences between herself and Enzi, who is relatively popular among voters in the state, and she was a throwback to the unpopular Bush-era Republican Party.

While he isn’t the most conservative Republican in Washington, Enzi has been decent on fiscal issues. The Wyoming senator has a lifetime score of 82% from FreedomWorks and 86% from the Club for Growth.

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