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Cheney bails

Liz Cheney will abandon her bid to represent Wyoming in the Senate, she said in a statement.
Wyoming Senate candidate Liz Cheney answers a question from a reporter at a news conference, July 17, 2013.
Wyoming Senate candidate Liz Cheney answers a question from a reporter at a news conference, July 17, 2013.

Liz Cheney is abandoning her bid to represent Wyoming in the Senate. 

"Serious health issues have recently arisen in our family, and under the circumstances, I have decided to discontinue my campaign," Cheney said in a statement. "My children and their futures were the motivation for our campaign and their health and well-being will always be my overriding priority."

It’s unclear whether Cheney is referring to a specific illness within her family.

Cheney ran a shaky but headline-making campaign against well-liked, three-term incumbent Sen. Mike Enzi whose strong conservative record left few footholds for Cheney to gain ground.

Instead, the media dogged her on her family name and gay marriage. When outside groups began advertising against Cheney as a supporter of gay marriage, the eldest daughter of Dick Cheney reaffirmed her opposition to same-sex marriage, only to earn the public ire and condemnation of the former vice president’s youngest daughter, who is gay. 

Mary Cheney and her wife Heather Poe condemned what they saw as Liz Cheney’s hypocrisy, criticizing her for witnessing and privately supporting their marriage while publicly opposing it.

Her critics also portrayed her as a carpetbagger—Liz Cheney had relocated from the Washington suburbs to Wyoming in 2012. Compounding this, she also bought the wrong fishing license—stating she’d been a resident for a decade—in a state where such a faux pas tipped her hand as an outsider.

While polling in the small state of Wyoming is historically unreliable, Cheney trailed in many polls. In one commission poll by a PAC that opposed Cheney, she trailed by 53 points. Still, the Cheney campaign told reporters in November that internal polling showed Cheney gaining.

In her statement, Cheney thanked her supporters.

“Phil and I want to thank the thousands of people in Wyoming and all across the country who have supported my campaign. As a mother and a patriot, I know that the work of defending freedom and protecting liberty must continue for each generation," she wrote. “Though this campaign stops today, my commitment to keep fighting with you and your families for the fundamental values that have made this nation and Wyoming great will never stop.”