Liz Cheney run for Wyoming Senate seat: Is she a lock to win? (+video)(Read article summary)
Liz Cheney, daughter of the former vice president, is launching a Senate candidacy. But Michael Enzi, a Republican, already occupies the seat she wants.
Surprise â€“ Liz Cheney is going to run for a Senate seat in Wyoming next year. Thatâ€™s where the Cheney family has roots, since dad Dick Cheney went to school there and was Wyomingâ€™s lone representative before he became George W. Bushâ€™s vice president.
But itâ€™s not like Cheney the daughter has spent years building a network in the state and saluting the crowd at Cheyenneâ€™s iconic Frontier Days. She just bought a house there last year after spending much of her recent life in the non-cowboy country of northern Virginia.
Plus, a Republican already occupies the seat Ms. Cheney wants, Sen. Michael Enzi. Heâ€™s in his third term and is Wyoming to the core: He grew up in Thermopolis and is a former mayor of Gillette.
So does Cheney have a chance to knock off Senator Enzi in the GOP primary?
Yes. Yes, she does. At this point, she might even be the favorite.
â€śCheney represents a major problem for Enzi,â€ť judge Washington Post political analysts Chris Cillizza and Sean Sullivan.
Money is one reason. Sheâ€™ll be able to raise all she needs to run in a thinly populated state where advertising is cheap. Her cash may come from out of state, because of the Cheney familyâ€™s national connections, but Enzi just wonâ€™t even be in the same league in terms of war chests. Heâ€™s clearly unprepared for a primary challenge, as at this point heâ€™s got under $500,000 in his political accounts.
Then thereâ€™s the Cheney name. Enzi is famous for Wyoming, so the advantage here isnâ€™t as clear as it seems from outside the state. But Mr. Cheney is still remembered by a significant portion of Wyoming voters as an alumnus, someone who rose from Casper to the highest level of US politics.
That counts for something.
Plus, it appears that Ms. Cheney will try to define Enzi as a go-along, someone whoâ€™s been content to work with party leadership and (gasp!) Democrats over the years. It remains to be seen how that plays in Wyoming as a whole, but itâ€™s sure to get lots of attention and support from the tea party wing of the GOP and others who think the partyâ€™s problem is that it does not fight hard enough.
â€śMike Enzi is a fine Republican, but he is not putting points on the board for conservatives.... We need less rudderless Republicans who shuffle around at the direction of their leadership and lobbyist friends,â€ť conservative pundit Erick Erickson wrote Tuesday at RedState.
Of course, Cheney will have to handle the carpetbagger issue if sheâ€™s going to win. Enzi probably will try to define her as someone whoâ€™s running only because of personal ambition. Itâ€™s not like Enzi is a Northeastern moderate, like New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R). Heâ€™s already one of the most conservative senators.
Enziâ€™s best course of action may be to charge that Cheney is â€śtoo extremeâ€ť for Wyoming. Sheâ€™s embraced her fatherâ€™s neoconservative foreign-policy views, which included advocacy for the Iraq war and other interventionist actions. Sheâ€™s charged that President Obama is â€śworking to preemptively disarm America.â€ť
According to Enzi, she broke her word when she entered the Senate race.
â€śShe said that if I ran she wasnâ€™t going to run, but obviously that isnâ€™t correct,â€ť Enzi said Tuesday.