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POLITICS: PennAve

On the Rise: Liz Cheney beefs up her conservative credentials

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Gay Marriage,Wyoming,2014 Elections,Campaigns,PennAve,Liz Cheney,Mike Enzi,On the Rise,Zack Colman,Dick Cheney

Wyoming Republican Senate candidate Liz Cheney might have incited a family feud, but she got a key endorsement of her conservative credentials when her dad, former Vice President Dick Cheney, backed her opposition to same-sex marriage — likely boosting her chances in the Equality State.

The former veep ultimately took Liz's side in a battle over the Senate candidate's marriage views, as she recently told "Fox News Sunday" that she has long opposed same-sex marriage.

"Listen, I love Mary very much. I love her family very much. This is just an issue in which we disagree," the Senate candidate said of her sister, Mary, who is a lesbian.

That comment irked Mary, who posted on Facebook that her sister is "just wrong — and on the wrong side of history." Mary's wife, Heather Poe, said that Liz had been supportive of their marriage, writing on Facebook, "To have her now say she doesn't support our right to marry is offensive to say the least."

But Dick Cheney and his wife, Lynne, defended Liz , saying she "has always believed in the traditional definition of marriage."

If there wasn't sibling rivalry before, there is now, as the Cheney parents are throwing their weight behind Liz's political future.

To be sure, Liz Cheney is still a long shot to beat incumbent Sen. Mike Enzi in the GOP primary. But she enters the holiday season in a better position with her conservative stance on same-sex marriage being more pronounced.

Still, the state's conservative voters have long questioned Liz's social views. Some thought her comments on Fox News were a convenient way to brandish her conservative bona fides. And she likely will need to do more than that to pose a real challenge to Enzi.

Before her remarks, a late October poll by the Wickers Group commissioned by a super PAC that opposes Cheney showed her trailing Enzi by a 52-point margin among likely Republican voters. That was a larger spread than in August, which gave Enzi a 40-point lead. Two polls in July, one leaning Democratic, the other Republican, both showed Enzi with about a 30-point lead.

Enzi hasn't faced a tough primary fight since being elected to the Senate in 1996. Despite his comfortable lead, the Cheneys are marshaling whatever influence they have to edge out the incumbent.

The decision to lend support to Liz's gay marriage views rather than stay out of the issue is the latest example. And it could go a ways to underscore the win-at-all-costs strategy that some political observers say Wyoming's most political family is willing to employ.

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