Liz Cheney, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney whose surprise primary challenge to Wyoming Sen. Mike Enzi divided both the Republican Party and her family, has abruptly quit the race, citing unspecified family health concerns.
“Serious health issues have recently arisen in our family, and under the circumstances, I have decided to discontinue my campaign," Cheney said in a statement on Jan. 6. "My children and their futures were the motivation for our campaign and their health and well-being will always be my overriding priority."
Cheney's campaign has been stumbling from the start, and although her politically connected family helped boost her fundraising, Cheney remained far behind Enzi in the few polls done in Wyoming and was facing opposition from most of the Republican Party establishment, which came to Enzi's defense.
Cheney's campaign took a serious and unusually personal hit in December when Cheney's sister, Mary, and Mary's spouse, Heather Poe, publicly scolded Liz Cheney for taking a public stance against same-sex marriage, saying she was on “the wrong side of history.” Dick and Lynn Cheney responded with a statement that appeared to take Liz's side.
Despite a rocky start, Liz Cheney and her supporters indicated that she isn't giving up on the idea of following her father into public office.
"Though this campaign stops today,” Liz Cheney said, “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.”
Enzi said he has “tremendous respect for Liz's decision.”
GOP ADDS VIRGINIA, N.H. TO LIST OF SENATE TARGETS
The Republican National Committee has unleashed a series of new radio ads to target vulnerable Democratic senators on the issue of Obamacare — including in two states where there are no Republican challengers.
The ads are running in 40 media markets in a dozen states, including in New Hampshire, where Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen is seeking re-election, and Virginia, where Democratic Sen. Mark Warner is running for a second term.
Neither Virginia nor New Hampshire had been seriously considered to be in play, but a prominent Republican is now weighing a bid in each race: former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown in New Hampshire and former RNC Chairman Ed Gillespie in Virginia.
Brown and Gillespie have not yet committed to run, but RNC Chairman Reince Priebus suggested to reporters that he was optimistic both eventually would.
CLINTON PAC TOURING EARLY PRIMARY STATES
Three top aides with Ready for Hillary, the political action committee encouraging Hillary Clinton to run for president in 2016, traveled to New Hampshire this month and are planning a similar visit to Iowa.
The group is trying to build support for another Clinton run among key Democrats in both early-voting states, and its trip to New Hampshire was its first high-profile step in laying the foundation for a presidential run.
"We are holding a series of meetings with political leaders, labor leaders and prominent activists," said spokesman Seth Bringman, one of those traveling. "The purpose of the meetings is to learn from these leaders about how to best harness and mobilize the widespread enthusiasm among Hillary’s supporters in the state."
Joining Bringman were Ready for Hillary Deputy Director Alissa Ko and Craig Smith, a longtime Clinton ally and a senior adviser to the PAC. The group plans to visit Iowa in late January.