If Republican Liz Cheney decides to give a second run for office in Wyoming a try, she will have to overcome some hard feelings from her first bid two years ago.
As short as her first campaign was, it had serious implications, including emboldening Sen. Michael B. Enzi, who had considered retirement; splitting her family over her comments about gay marriage; and "ticking off" the state's political leaders, a Republican operative who works with campaigns in Wyoming said.
Rep. Cynthia M. Lummis on Thursday announced she would retire at the end of this term, creating an open race for the at-large seat that represents the state. Cheney was non-committal in an email to The Associated Press Thursday, writing that she will "look at running and will be discussing this with my family and others around the state as I make my decision in the coming weeks."
With her well-known name and her access to a nationwide Republican network through her father, former Vice President Dick Cheney, Liz Cheney is the "900-pound gorilla," the operative said, but added that if she does run, "she is going to have some serious opposition."
Already, another Republican, state House Speaker Pro Tem Tim Stubson, said he will run , joining Republican Jason Senteney, an ex-Marine who announced his own campaign for the job in May, well before Lummis' announcement that she would not seek a fifth term.
In the wings are a number of other potential candidates, including Wyoming Secretary of State Ed Murray; state Treasurer Mark Gordon; state House Majority Leader Rosie Berger; Taylor Haynes, a Republican doctor who led an unsuccessful challenge to Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead in 2014; and Rita Meyer, the former state auditor and a 2010 candidate for governor.
Cheney, a Republican political commentator, moved to Jackson Hole, Wyo., in 2012 ahead of her Senate campaign. When she entered the race, Lummis called Cheney's challenge to Enzi — which Enzi claimed came after she told him she would only run for his seat if he were to retire — “bad form .” Cheney disputes Enzi's account.
Lummis likened Cheney's move from Virginia to Wyoming to when Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton moved to New York to run for a Senate seat in 2000, adding at the time, “Liz Cheney cannot pull this off in Wyoming and I'm disappointed that she's decided to try.”
Cheney's first campaign for public office against Enzi lasted five months and ended with her dropping out, citing “serious health issues ” in her family. But she trailed Enzi in the race by as much as 52 points , a gap that had been widening each time another public poll was conducted.