After her father, Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), announced that he will retire rather than seek re-election in 2018, Liz Cheney is kicking off her campaign to unseat Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.). Cheney, who was born in Wyoming, has never held elected office. But that hasn’t kept her from trying her hand at the notoriously elitist state’s politics: She has filed three times for the ballot since 2006, but all of her bids have failed.
Cheney is heavily bankrolled by her father’s money — but she also gets a substantial assist from her mother, former Vice President Dick Cheney. When she launched her campaign in late September, she received a surprising vote of confidence from Dick Cheney.
“Liz and I have had differences of opinion on some issues — as all of us do with family members — but she’s an outstanding person, and I’m confident she will make an outstanding senator,” he said in a statement.
The former vice president has also been an unofficial advisor to his daughter. In his last book, “In My Time,” Dick Cheney details his hectic life as a Vice President, with tales of wife Lynne and daughter Liz kicking back at a posh Manhattan hotel. Dick Cheney later boasted that he played golf with Mel Gibson, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Rossano Rubicondi. According to Dick Cheney, Mel Gibson “pitched me, somewhat maniacally, on a personal torture strategy.”
Cheney’s support also helped launch Liz Cheney to the national stage. She had to fight hard to get her name out there, and her career has been plagued by difficulties in politics — from her nomination to fill Wyoming’s 2nd congressional district to her failed nominations for a Wyoming state Senate seat and state representative.
Her comment about Cruz, not long after she launched her Senate campaign, took the campaign to a new level. She tweeted that, “I do not know @tedcruz and have very little in common with him.” But she added a qualifier, saying that he “has a reputation as a good, principled man.” She also called him “gentle and a good friend,” but not a “real man” who “doesn’t believe in women.”
The quote, published by Politico, has come under immense criticism. Cruz pushed back and said Cheney was “glib” and got into “grossly inappropriate personal attacks” against his father, father-in-law and himself. “Her family has distanced itself from her incredibly sexist rant.” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) responded to Cheney’s tweet by calling the comment “beneath the dignity of the office she is seeking,” while Stephen Drew, a Wyoming state senator, called Cheney’s statement a “shortcoming of feminism.”
“Any man who deserves to be held up as a beacon of respect and courage for women on the question of whether we should be treated with dignity and respect would object to these comments on several counts,” Drew said.
There’s no clear deadline for Cheney to withdraw from the Senate race or re-file petitions. If she doesn’t, she will likely have to take the campaign to the airwaves and move quickly to finish getting signatures. Her mother has stated that Cheney will fundraise herself for the first few months and eventually hire an experienced campaign manager and political team, according to Politico.