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Liz Cheney ends Wyoming Senate bid in latest Republican Party battle

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According to a statement on her campaign website today, January 6, Liz Cheney, daughter of former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, has ended her bid for U.S. Senate from Wyoming. Cheney’s withdrawal comes as a relief to Senator Mike Enzi, the Wyoming Republican incumbent who Cheney was challenging from the right. Enzi was one of a number of Republican U.S. Senators who are or were facing primary challenges from fellow Republicans aligned with the right wing Tea Party.

While Liz Cheney is citing unspecified “serious health issues” for pulling out of her Senate primary race, Cheney’s Senate bid faced an uphill battle from the start. First, Mike Enzi has a solid conservative record, receiving a score of more than 80 out of 100 by the American Conservative Union in February 2011. Cheney’s Wyoming credentials were also shaky, as she has been a longtime resident of the Washington, DC area. An extremely embarrassing and damaging example of Cheney’s carpetbagger status occurred in 2012 when Cheney applied for a Wyoming fishing license. Somehow, Cheney received the license early, having been listed on her application as a 10-year Wyoming resident, even though she did not meet Wyoming’s residency requirement and had just recently moved back to Wyoming. Liz Cheney blamed the incident on a clerk’s error, but Cheney was eventually fined for making a false claim on her fishing license application.

More recently, Cheney got into a family feud with her sister Mary, who is gay. Beginning last August, and seemingly to shore up her conservative credentials, Liz Cheney made public statements opposing same-sex marriage, and making clear her disagreement with her sister on the issue. Cheney’s statements, which appeared to conflict with her earlier positions, caused a rift in her family, and even threatened the goodwill of the Cheney family Thanksgiving dinner. Perhaps in part as a result of these missteps, polls showed Enzi far ahead of Cheney in the Wyoming Republican U.S. Senate primary race.

Republican Civil War Continues

While Mike Enzi may be breathing a sigh of relief at Liz Cheney's withdrawal, Enzi's Republican Party is still mired in a civil war that goes back at least as far as the bloody 2011-12 Republican Presidential primaries. The bashing of eventual Republican nominee Willard Mitt Romney by his rivals including Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum provided early fodder for eventual attacks on Romney by President Obama’s campaign team. This year, approximately seven other Republican incumbent U.S. Senators face primaries from the right. These primary challengers are attacking their Republican Senate incumbents on issues such as immigration reform and the Affordable Care Act a/k/a “Obamacare,” and the Republican Party civil war thus shows no sign of ending soon.

© 2014 Matthew Emmer -- All Rights Reserved

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