Liz Cheney Quits Senate Race in Wyoming

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Jan. 6 2014 12:50 AM

Liz Cheney Quits Senate Race in Wyoming


Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images

John King and Peter Hamby scoop some news that will devastate every hack who hoped to expense Jackson Hole trips for "political reporting" this year. Liz Cheney, the former Fox News analyst with a knack for getting State Department jobs whenever her father was serving in a Bush administration, will drop her bid for U.S. Senate. King/Hamby sum up her five-month campaign of errors:

Her critics labeled her a carpetbagger, noting that she moved to Wyoming only in 2012 after relocating from Virginia. The issue flared in August after the Wyoming media reported that Cheney improperly received a fishing license despite not living in the state for at least a year, as the law requires.
Grabbing even more attention was her very public dispute with her sister, Mary, over the issue of same-sex marriage. Mary Cheney, who is a lesbian, took to Facebook in November to object to Liz's opposition to same-sex marriage, claiming that her sister has previously supported her relationship while saying something very different on the campaign trail.

It's tempting to think that the "carpetbagger" stuff was determinative, but it was really gay marriage and foreign policy that closed off any possible avenues of insurgent support for Cheney. The main anti-Cheney presence on the Wyoming airwaves was the American Principles Fund, a project of Sarah "daughter of Mike" Huckabee Sanders that reminded voters of how this outsider said one thing about marriage in Wyoming, and another on MSNBC. (Pronounce that call sign the way the cowboys pronounce "New York City?!" in the old salsa ads).

No "Tea Party" challenger (and actually, Cheney was never going to be one of those) has ever won without at least some backing from the religious right. Some have won as hawks, but that was earlier in the Obama era—in 2013 and 2014, Cheney's quaint support for drone warfare and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan put her in the minority of her party.

It's tragic, if you're inclined to see tragedy in the dashed hopes of political scions. Had Cheney just kept up her residence in northern Virginia—had she not moved to Wyoming in 2012—she'd have been well-positioned to run for the House seat held by retiring Rep. Frank Wolf. Instead, by managing to turn a 33-point poll deficit into a 51-point poll deficit simply by being herself, she's leaving behind nothing but a rich vein of liberal schadenfreude.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 


Frame Game

Hard Knocks

I was hit by a teacher in an East Texas public school. It taught me nothing.

Yes, Black Families Tend to Spank More. That Doesn’t Mean It’s Good for Black Kids.

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

If You’re Outraged by the NFL, Follow This Satirical Blowhard on Twitter

The Best Way to Organize Your Fridge


The GOP’s Focus on Fake Problems

Why candidates like Scott Walker are building campaigns on drug tests for the poor and voter ID laws.

Sports Nut

Giving Up on Goodell

How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.

Iran and the U.S. Are Allies Against ISIS but Aren’t Ready to Admit It Yet

Farewell! Emily Bazelon on What She Will Miss About Slate.

  News & Politics
Sept. 16 2014 4:08 PM More Than Scottish Pride Scotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself. 
Sept. 16 2014 4:16 PM The iPhone 6 Marks a Fresh Chance for Wireless Carriers to Kill Your Unlimited Data
The Eye
Sept. 16 2014 12:20 PM These Outdoor Cat Shelters Have More Style Than the Average Home
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus Video
Sept. 16 2014 2:06 PM A Farewell From Emily Bazelon The former senior editor talks about her very first Slate pitch and says goodbye to the magazine.
Brow Beat
Sept. 16 2014 5:07 PM One Comedy Group Has the Perfect Idea for Ken Burns’ Next Project
Future Tense
Sept. 16 2014 1:48 PM Why We Need a Federal Robotics Commission
  Health & Science
Sept. 16 2014 4:09 PM It’s All Connected What links creativity, conspiracy theories, and delusions? A phenomenon called apophenia.
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.