CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — What had been shaping up as one of this year's most bitterly contested primaries came and went with barely a ripple on Tuesday as Wyoming U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi soundly beat four little-known Republican challengers in his pursuit of a fourth term.
Last summer, former Vice President Dick Cheney's elder daughter, Liz Cheney, launched what widely was expected to be a formidable primary challenge for Enzi, a fellow Republican.
Ultimately, the Fox News commentator and former State Department official found little mainstream support in the sparsely populated state to which she and her family moved in 2012. She dropped out in January, citing family health issues.
Enzi, meanwhile, raised even more campaign cash than usual: Just over $3 million to date. Almost half of that remained in the bank as of July 30.
The most prominent feature of Enzi's summertime campaign kept true to his low-key, folksy style: Ice cream socials in Wyoming's tranquil city parks.
Enzi, a 70-year-old former shoe salesman, said he's seeking another term because his seniority on several Senate committees serves Wyoming's interests. His priorities include simplifying the tax code.
All of Enzi's remaining challengers since Cheney had virtually zero name recognition either inside Wyoming or out. They included retired U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Bryan Miller of Sheridan, a self-employed business consultant and a former advance agent who helped plan visits around the country and abroad by presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.
Also seeking the Republican Senate nomination were self-described soldier of fortune Thomas Bleming of Lusk, oil company worker Arthur Bruce Clifton of Cheyenne and James Gregory of Jackson.
Enzi will face Charlie Hardy, a 75-year-old former Roman Catholic priest from Cheyenne, in the November election. Hardy has been campaigning around Wyoming in a donated bus and has done little active fundraising so far.