Wyoming GOP Unsure About Liz Cheney Senate Bid

Image: Wyoming GOP Unsure About Liz Cheney Senate Bid

Sunday, 07 Jul 2013 12:48 PM

By Audrey Hudson

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Liz Cheney is preparing for a Republican primary showdown for the Wyoming Senate seat but the former vice president's daughter may face a backlash from GOP supporters of the popular incumbent Sen. Michael B. Enzi.

"It wouldn't go over well here if she stepped over him," one of Enzi's supporters at a recent Newcastle town meeting told the New York Times.

The supporter asked that her name not be used in the Sunday report, fearing it would offend the former Vice President and Defense Secretary, Dick Cheney.

"We love her and her family, and we hope she has a place, but not his place," the supporter said. "She just moved back here, she didn’t even grow up here, and I don’t think she could beat him."

Cheney told reporters last year that she was moving with her husband and children from Virginia to Jackson Hole, Wyo., to be closer to her parents. Dick and Lynne Cheney also divide their time between homes in McLean, Va., and Maryland's Eastern Shore.

The 46-year-old Cheney brushed off political aspirations at the time, when speculation was growing that Enzi would not seek another term.

However, Enzi has since indicated he will seek a third term in next year's election, and with a 92 percent rating from the American Conservative Union, will be a tough opponent to beat.

The Times report suggested that the younger Cheney is nudging Enzi into retirement with her father's approval. The two men have been political friends since the 1970s when Cheney held the state's at-large congressional seat and Enzi served as mayor of Gillette.

Enzi referred to the former vice president as his "good friend" in an interview, and said that he expected the senior statesman would give him the courtesy of a phone call if his daughter decides to launch a primary challenge.

Enzi concedes that the younger Cheney has already called to tell him she is considering a run.

Former Wyoming Sen. Alan K. Simpson, a Republican, told the Times that a primary challenge would bring about "the destruction of the Republican Party of Wyoming."

"It’s a disaster — a divisive, ugly situation — and all it does is open the door for the Democrats for 20 years," Simpson said.

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