January 6, 2014 at 6:18 pm EST | by Chris Johnson
Liz Cheney abandons U.S. Senate race
Liz Cheney, Republican Party, Wyoming, gay news, Washington Blade

Liz Cheney has dropped her bid for U.S. Senate. (Photo by Milonica; courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

Liz Cheney on Monday announced she is ending her campaign for a U.S. Senate seat in Wyoming.

In a statement provided to Politico, Cheney cites health issues as the reason she’s abandoning her efforts to win a Republican primary against incumbent U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.).

“My children and their futures were the motivation for our campaign and their health and well-being will always be my overriding priority,” Cheney said

Cheney’s campaign never gained much traction. Polls showed Enzi would crush Cheney in the primary by as much as 53 points.

But Cheney gained national attention when she declared on Fox News Sunday her opposition to same-sex marriage, despite the support for it from her prominent father, former Vice President Richard Cheney, and the marriage of Mary Cheney, her lesbian sister, to Heather Poe.

In a Facebook post, Mary Cheney responded, “Liz – this isn’t just an issue on which we disagree – you’re just wrong – and on the wrong side of history.” Weeks later, Mary Cheney would appear at a fundraiser for Freedom Indiana to speak out against a proposed state constitutional amendment in Indiana that would ban same-sex marriage.

The feud was seen as a microcosm for the way in which the Republican Party would handle the issue same-sex marriage in the aftermath of victories for marriage equality at the Supreme Court and the ballot and growing support among the American public.

Gregory Angelo, executive director of the Log Cabin Republicans, said Liz Cheney missed an opportunity by not differentiating herself from her opponent, such as by staking out a position in favor of same-sex marriage.

“Liz faced an uphill battle from the start,” Angelo said. “She had an opportunity to represent a new generation of Republican voices on marriage equality and other issues, but instead her campaign and policy positions were a near replica of her rival’s. She didn’t give voters in Wyoming a single reason why she would be better — or even different — from Senator Enzi, so her decision today wasn’t only unsurprising, but prudent.”

Dan Pinello, a political scientist at the City University of New York, said Liz Cheney’s feud with her sister didn’t help the campaign, but he doubted that the elder Cheney would have fared better if she had endorsed marriage equality.

“I seriously doubt that Liz Cheney’s embrace of marriage equality would have helped in a Republican primary in Wyoming, especially after what’s happened in Utah, scaring the party’s base to its core,” Pinello said.

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

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