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 »
STARTS LEGAL FUND FOR WH STAFF
Trump to Begin Covering His Own Legal Bills
21 hours ago
THE DETAILS
DISCUSSED THE MATTER FOR A NEW BOOK
Steele Says Follow the Money
23 hours ago
STAFF PICKS

"Christopher Steele, the former British intelligence officer who wrote the explosive dossier alleging ties between Donald Trump and Russia," says in a new book by The Guardian's Luke Harding that "Trump's land and hotel deals with Russians needed to be examined. ... Steele did not go into further detail, Harding said, but seemed to be referring to a 2008 home sale to the Russian oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev. Richard Dearlove, who headed the UK foreign-intelligence unit MI6 between 1999 and 2004, said in April that Trump borrowed money from Russia for his business during the 2008 financial crisis."

Source:
BRITISH PUBLICIST CONNECTED TO TRUMP TOWER MEETING
Goldstone Ready to Meet with Mueller’s Team
23 hours ago
THE LATEST

"The British publicist who helped set up the fateful meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and a group of Russians at Trump Tower in June 2016 is ready to meet with Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller's office, according to several people familiar with the matter. Rob Goldstone has been living in Bangkok, Thailand, but has been communicating with Mueller's office through his lawyer, said a source close to Goldstone."

Source:
SPEAKING ON RUSSIAN STATE TV
Kislyak Says Trump Campaign Contacts Too Numerous to List
1 days ago
THE LATEST

"Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak said on Wednesday that it would take him more than 20 minutes to name all of the Trump officials he's met with or spoken to on the phone. ... Kislyak made the remarks in a sprawling interview with Russia-1, a popular state-owned Russian television channel."

Source:
“BLOWING A SURE THING”
Sabato Moves Alabama to “Lean Democrat”
1 days ago
WHY WE CARE
×
×

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