Liz Cheney weighing US House bid after 3 years in Wyoming

AP News
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Posted: Nov 13, 2015 6:49 PM
Liz Cheney weighing US House bid after 3 years in Wyoming

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — What was shaping up as a sleepy political year in Wyoming suddenly has Liz Cheney considering another campaign — one that could be more feasible now that she has lived in the state a few years and wouldn't be trying to unseat a popular incumbent.

Cheney, the oldest daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, is considering seeking the seat being vacated by Republican Rep. Cynthia Lummis.

Cheney praised Lummis and told The Associated Press she would confer with her family and others before making a decision on whether to seek the post.

Two years ago, Cheney got little traction when she tried to oust U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi, a fellow Republican.

Her campaign sparked widespread Republican enthusiasm — except in Wyoming, where few elected officials endorsed her.

Cheney's tactic of accusing Enzi of being too willing to compromise with Democrats didn't catch fire in the Cowboy State. Citing family health issues, she dropped out of the race seven months before the primary.

"There was no scandal involved," University of Wyoming political science professor Jim King said. "There were none of the things you associate with a senator getting beaten. And so that was always an uphill challenge for her."

Cheney launched her campaign only a year after her family had moved to Wyoming from Virginia. Though her parents' ties in Wyoming are substantial, many residents called her a carpetbagger.

Now, it's hard to claim Cheney and her family aren't reasonably well-established in Jackson Hole, an expensive resort community near Grand Teton National Park.

Still, she would be an unconventional candidate for the House job.

Lummis served in the state Legislature and was state treasurer for two terms before running for Congress. Enzi and Wyoming's other Republican senator, John Barrasso, also are statehouse veterans.

The only announced candidate for the House job so far is state Rep. Tim Stubson, a Republican attorney from Casper. With seven years in the state office, Stubson ranks third in the Wyoming House as speaker pro tem.

"I've spent my whole life trying to make this a place that's a better place to raise our families, make a living," Stubson said. "I think that puts me in a really good position to be the best and most effective voice for the people of Wyoming in Congress."

Cheney has not held public office before but has worked in the State Department and has wide recognition as a former Fox News commentator. Her connections could help, King said.

"She's tapped into some of those national level fundraising sources, whereas someone who has only been engaged in Wyoming politics would not have done that," King said.

Republicans have a deep pool of candidates for Wyoming's lone U.S. House seat compared to Democrats.

Lummis easily won re-election in 2010, 2012 and 2014. Her Democratic opponent last year was an Arizona resident who didn't campaign aside from homemade sock-puppet ads on YouTube.

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Associated Press writer Ben Neary contributed to this report.