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POLITICS: PennAve

Pro-Enzi super PAC launches to combat Liz Cheney

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Politics,Congress,Senate,Wyoming,Campaign Finance,David M. Drucker,Campaigns,PennAve,Mike Enzi

Supporters of Sen. Mike Enzi have launched a super PAC to bolster the Wyoming Republican’s re-election prospects as he fends off a GOP primary challenge from Liz Cheney, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney.

The name of the PAC, Wyoming’s Own, appears to take a subtle jab at Liz Cheney, who only recently relocated to the Equality State from Virginia in preparation for her 2014 Senate bid. The organization was founded by two Casper, Wyo., CPAs and long-time Wyoming Republican operatives: Bill Cubin, a former county GOP chairman whose mother, Barbara, represented the state in Congress, and Dick Bratton, who served as treasurer on her campaigns.

“I believe Sen. Enzi’s opponent can raise a lot of money and make this race possibly competitive. That’s why we’re doing this; we want to make sure that it’s not,” Cubin told the Washington Examiner Friday evening, in a telephone interview.

Liz Cheney’s fundraising is receiving an able assist from her father, who has a wealth of connections to Republican donors throughout the country courtesy of a political career that has spanned decades. This month the two Cheneys are scheduled to headline a fundraiser in Grand Rapids, Mich., capitalizing on relationships the former vice president has cultivated since the 1970s, when he served as President Gerald Ford’s chief of staff. Ford hailed from Grand Rapids.

Dick Cheney is a Wyoming native and represented the state in Congress for 10 years, culminating in 1989. He remains an icon and favorite son.

Reflecting the polite nature of Wyoming politics, Cubin declined to overtly criticize Liz Cheney, and suggested that Wyoming’s Own would focus its advertising on positive messages and advertising that “remind people why they like” Enzi, who is fairing well against his opponent in early polls. The third-term senator is well liked at home, and at least at the outset of the primary campaign, many Wyoming Republicans have said they don’t believe he deserves to be fired.

But Cubin signaled that his PAC was ready to hammer Cheney if the organization believes it would be helpful.

“We will do whatever needs to be done to make sure Mike Enzi gets re-elected,” Cubin said.

“We don’t necessarily oppose Liz Cheney,” he added. “She could be a good official in Wyoming if she takes enough time to get to know the people and the issues.”

Cubin said the PAC was still developing its strategy and team of Wyoming and Washington, D.C.-based advisers. He did not reveal a specific budget for Wyoming’s Own, but said it would spend whatever it raises and that he expects it to raise “a lot.” Wyoming is strong conservative territory, and the winner of the Enzi-Cheney primary should cruise to victory in the general election.

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