Liz Cheney: 'I have decided to discontinue my campaign'
By: Alexander Burns and James Hohmann and Tal Kopan
January 6, 2014 12:22 AM EST
Liz Cheney is ending her campaign for Senate in Wyoming, the Republican announced in a statement early Monday morning.
Citing health concerns in her family, Cheney said the issues arising prompted her to end her GOP primary challenge to Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.).
“Serious health issues have recently arisen in our family, and under the circumstances, I have decided to discontinue my campaign. My children and their futures were the motivation for our campaign and their health and well-being will always be my overriding priority,” Cheney said in the statement.
Cheney pledged to keep working for her political values despite ending the campaign.
“Phil and I want to thank the thousands of people in Wyoming and all across the country who have supported my campaign. As a mother and a patriot, I know that the work of defending freedom and protecting liberty must continue for each generation. Though this campaign stops today, my commitment to keep fighting with you and your families for the fundamental values that have made this nation and Wyoming great will never stop.”
Late Sunday night, as news that Cheney was likely to drop out of the race swirled, two GOP sources said that a recent incident involving a member of Cheney’s immediate family prompted her to reconsider the race, among other factors.
Cheney announced a primary challenge to Enzi last July and raised more than $1 million for her campaign, largely from elite Republicans close to her father, former Vice President Dick Cheney. She has consistently trailed Enzi in public polls.
Before the campaign’s conclusion was confirmed, Cheney finance chairwoman Margaret Parry was noncommittal in a short phone call.
“That’s a very personal issue, and I think that you need to get a hold of Liz Cheney,” she said.
Republicans — including some Cheney supporters — privately expressed surprise at Cheney’s move, though she is also said to have been discouraged by Enzi’s persistent polling lead and apparent determination to buck pressure to retire.
CNN first reported the news of Cheney’s plans.
The departure of Cheney, 47, from the race would clear the way for Enzi, 69, to handily win a fourth term. Wyoming has not elected a Democrat to the Senate since 1970.
The younger Cheney never got much traction. The Wyoming GOP establishment, including the two other members of the congressional delegation and former Sen. Alan Simpson, quickly coalesced behind Enzi. A first-time candidate, she even clashed with local Wyoming newspapers.
Since July, she has struggled with a series of setbacks.
A public spat with her openly lesbian sister, Mary, over same-sex marriage dominated national headlines for several days in November. Mary Cheney and her wife, Heather Poe, criticized the candidate on Facebook, saying she had applauded their union in the past.
This prompted Dick and Lynne Cheney to release a public statement saying that Liz Cheney “has always believed in the traditional definition of marriage.”
Cheney has also been beset by criticism that she is a carpetbagger.
She became a Wyoming resident in only 2012. Her husband Phil Perry — who has continued to practice law in Washington, D.C. — was registered to vote in both Virginia and Wyoming for the past nine months, until just before Christmas. The candidate herself was fined $220 in August for purchasing an instate fishing license when she was not yet eligible. She received the license just 72 days after closing on her home, but the law requires 365 days of residency.