Liz Cheney’s Senate Campaign Struggled From the Start

One top Republican moneyman: “Her candidacy is not helpful to our party.”

National Journal
Tom DeFrank
Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
Tom DeFrank
Jan. 6, 2014, 6:24 a.m.

Liz Cheney’s Sen­ate can­did­acy was star-crossed from the start, for­cing fel­low Re­pub­lic­ans in­to an un­pleas­ant and po­lar­iz­ing fight that ul­ti­mately caused more dam­age to the fam­ily brand than it aided her polit­ic­al fu­ture.

It’s nev­er easy to con­front a three-term in­cum­bent as con­ser­vat­ive as you are, but Cheney cre­ated un­ne­ces­sary bag­gage along the way, be­gin­ning in the early days of her cam­paign when she de­scribed 69-year-old Sen. Mike En­zi as “con­fused.”

For many Re­pub­lic­ans, even some en­thu­si­ast­ic boost­ers, that struck a tone of mean­ness that per­sisted be­low the radar of her can­did­acy.

Her fath­er was a mus­cu­lar sur­rog­ate. “Liz will win this race,” an ex­uber­ant Dick Cheney told a long­time as­so­ci­ate in Novem­ber. “Re­mem­ber I said that when she does.”

Dick Cheney was an ag­gress­ive fun­draiser for his daugh­ter, put­ting the arm on many old com­rades and or­gan­iz­ing fun­draisers in Dal­las, where he once lived, and sev­er­al oth­er cit­ies.

Re­pub­lic­an in­siders said fun­drais­ing was good, but not suf­fi­cient to knock off a three-term sen­at­or. Some Cheney as­so­ci­ates turned down his so­li­cit­a­tions be­cause they had nev­er con­trib­uted to any­one chal­len­ging a GOP in­cum­bent and wer­en’t about to start now.

Oth­ers were of­fen­ded by what they con­sidered Liz Cheney’s na­ked am­bi­tion. “Her ra­tionale seems to be noth­ing more than this: Someone else has something I want, and I want it now,” a long­time Dick Cheney as­so­ci­ate told Na­tion­al Journ­al. “That’s not a can­did­acy that will ap­peal to many Re­pub­lic­ans, even in Wyom­ing.”

A prom­in­ent Re­pub­lic­an money­man per­son­ally fond of Dick Cheney said he openly dis­cour­aged friends who asked for ad­vice on wheth­er to con­trib­ute to Liz’s cam­paign. “The best course is to be po­lite and do as little as pos­sible and hope you aren’t asked,” he said, hardly a ringing en­dorse­ment.

“Every­one loves Dick and doesn’t want to of­fend him, but her can­did­acy is not help­ful to our party.”

Liz’s nasty pub­lic feud with her sis­ter Mary over gay mar­riage not only of­fen­ded some seni­or Re­pub­lic­an eld­ers try­ing to po­s­i­tion the party in the na­tion­al mid­stream. It also com­plic­ated fun­drais­ing in places like New York, where some wealthy GOP fun­draisers sym­path­et­ic to gay rights sat on their wal­lets.

An un­ex­pec­ted Achilles’ heel: En­zi is a seni­or mem­ber of the Sen­ate Fin­ance Com­mit­tee, the primary hunt­ing ground for lob­by­ists in search of tax breaks for their cor­por­a­tions and trade groups. Many of those lob­by­ists, and their cor­por­ate polit­ic­al ac­tion com­mit­tees, stuck with En­zi out of sheer polit­ic­al prag­mat­ism.

The end res­ult was that her cam­paign nev­er gained much trac­tion. But the pre­ma­ture end of her can­did­acy hardly dampens her zeal for pub­lic of­fice — or her in­nate am­bi­tion.

“Liz is a rising star in Wyom­ing and na­tion­al polit­ics and we look for­ward to her re­turn when the time is right for her and for her fam­ily,” the Wyom­ing Re­pub­lic­an party wrote in a state­ment.

What We're Following See More »
WILL THEY MAKE THE INFRASTRUCTURE PACKAGE?
2,000 High-Risk Dams in Need of Repair
2 hours ago
THE DETAILS

If President Trump gets his wish and Congress delivers him a $1 trillion infrastructure package to sign, engineers will be clamoring to get a number of dams a piece of that pie. "Nearly 2,000 state-regulated high-hazard dams in the United States were listed as being in need of repair in 2015, according to the Association of State Dam Safety Officials. A dam is considered “high hazard” based on the potential for the loss of life as a result of failure. By 2020, 70 percent of the dams in the United States will be more than 50 years old, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers."

Source:
PLEDGES OBAMACARE REPEAL
Pence: White House Is in the “Promise-Keeping Business”
2 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"Over at the White House, I like to say we're in the promise-keeping business these days." That was Vice President Pence's message to CPAC on Thursday night. Specifically, he pledged to repeal and replace Obamacare, and reform the immigration system.

Source:
HAD ATTRACTED A CROWD TODAY
Alt-Right Leader Spencer Removed from CPAC
17 hours ago
WHY WE CARE
SAYS LEFT WILL GO INTO “MELTDOWN”
Cruz Predicts Another SCOTUS Vacancy “This Summer”
21 hours ago
THE LATEST
THE QUESTION
How Many Signatures Has the Petition for Trump’s Tax Returns Received?
23 hours ago
THE ANSWER

More than 1 million, setting a record. More than 100,000 signatures triggers an official White House response.

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login