Liz Cheney has abruptly exited her race against Wyoming’s incumbent Republican senator, Michael Enzi, due to serious health concerns within her family. Cheney, 47, is the oldest daughter of Dick Cheney, former vice president of the United States, and worked as a lawyer in President George W. Bush’s State Department. She ended her first national campaign on Monday with a statement on Facebook.
Cheney and her husband have five children, to which she declared her primary commitment. No other details regarding the health issues and who they might be affecting have been made public, except for a statement that their 13-year-old daughter Grace’s juvenile diabetes is not an issue.
For his part, Enzi released a statement of support for Cheney’s decision. He vowed to keep the family in his prayers.
Liz Cheney’s abrupt exit from the Wyoming Republican Senate race due to serious family health concerns mirrors the controversy she has caused since her entry into the race. She declared her intentions to run against Enzi in the primary in a surprise webcast that also outlined her right-wing agenda and her strong criticism of President Barack Obama. Claiming that Enzi was not conservative enough, she vowed to stand with Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz as part of a “new generation” of Republicans. According to the National Journal, the 2012 voter ratings showed that Enzi was ranked to the right of most senators, with just seven voting more conservatively.
Cheney and her family relocated to Wyoming from Virginia in 2012, causing her ties to Wyoming to be immediately questioned even though her extended family has deep ties to the state, including her father’s six terms in the Wyoming House of Representatives. Cheney’s purchase of a Wyoming fishing license intended for Wyoming residents of at least one year provided her detractors with plenty of fuel. Reports also surfaced that Cheney was late by two months in paying her Wyoming property taxes.
A highly publicized conflict between Liz Cheney and her younger sister, Mary, a lesbian with a legal wife, occurred when Liz voiced a strong opposition to same-sex marriage. The position prompted Mary Cheney to publicly scold her sister in a Facebook post for her belief that read in part, “Liz — this isn’t just an issue on which we disagree — you’re just wrong — and on the wrong side of history.” In an attempt to repair Liz Cheney’s image, the sisters’ parents issued a public statement to say that although she may not believe in the right of her sister to marry a woman, Liz Cheney has always loved and respected Mary.
Another ugly, highly publicized dispute between a friend of the Cheney family, ex-senator Alan Simpson, who supported Enzi, and Liz’s mother, Lynne, was reported to have involved Simpson accusing Lynne of telling a “bald-faced lie.”
Despite support of Wyoming’s Tea Party and libertarian groups, Cheney’s campaign was never able to find its footing against Enzi, who has won three terms in the Senate with a conservative voting record. Her campaign intends to return to its contributors all remaining campaign donations after expenses have been paid. After exiting the Wyoming Republican Senate race due to serious family health concerns, any possible political future for Liz Cheney remains unknown.
By Jennifer Pfalz