Sen. Michael B. Enzi, R-Wyo., sought to tamp down the upbeat reception he received on the Senate floor Monday afternoon, emphasizing the severity of the medical situation that prompted Liz Cheney to drop her primary challenge in the Wyoming Senate race earlier in the day.
"Not many of them knew the reason that she was pulling out, so I asked for them to support her and her family with their prayers," the Wyoming Republican told reporters outside the chamber.
A few minutes earlier, a group of senators greeted Enzi on the floor with high-fives.
Enzi said Cheney, a daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, had called him Monday morning with the news.
"I was really pleased that she called me this morning, and it was a brief conversation," Enzi said. "One of her children is having a health problem, so I hope everybody will keep them in their prayers."
Enzi said the two did not discuss a possible endorsement in the race.
"I didn't ask. She didn't volunteer. I don't know," he said.
"I'd like for anybody to endorse me in the campaign — everybody to endorse me in the campaign, but you know she's got other things on her mind. This was critical enough that she pulled of a race, so I'm not pressing for anything at this point," Enzi said.
He added that he hoped the race would not affect his relationship with the former vice president, who once represented Wyoming in the House.
Enzi was also aware that other primary challengers could still jump into the contest, while dismissing the idea that Cheney's entry into the GOP primary could have created a split within the party.
"The filing deadline isn't until May," Enzi said. "A lot of people can still get in the race."
"The way that these primaries work and the way that elections work are people put their names forward and they go out and they talk to people and they try to get elected, and that isn't a fissure," said Enzi. "That's an effort at getting elected."
Democratic Sen. Charles E. Schumer of New York was among the people who passed by as Enzi was in the middle of talking with the assembled Senate reporters.
"Congratulations," Schumer said.