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Continued: Liz Cheney quits uphill race to knock out 3-term GOP Sen. Enzi after high-profile campaign

  • Article by: DONNA CASSATA , Associated Press
  • Last update: January 6, 2014 - 5:50 PM

In the state, the Cheney campaign led to public spats that ensnared even longtime friends.

Former Sen. Alan Simpson drew a stinging family rebuke last year over his support for Enzi. Simpson said Lynne Cheney told him to "shut up" after he refused to sign a football for Cheney's 15-year-old granddaughter at a Wyoming fundraiser.

On Monday there were no harsh words as Simpson and his wife, Ann, called Liz Cheney.

"We had the most pleasing conversation for 15 minutes or so. We just said, 'I'm sure it was a tough one. We just know we care about you. We've cared about you since you were a little gal, and we're not going to let this destroy any friendship," Simpson said.

"I said, 'I love your old man. He and I did 45 years together and I'm not about to see that relationship (harmed)," Simpson said. "I said, 'your whole family's in our DNA,'"

Simpson said Liz Cheney decided at Christmas that "this is a mom thing," and she needed to be with her family. The primary is scheduled for Aug. 19 and Republicans are expected to easily hold the seat.

Despite Cheney's decision, Simpson and others said they believed she would return to politics.

"Liz is a rising star in Wyoming and national politics and we look forward to her return when the time is right for her and her family," said Tammy Hooper, chair of the Wyoming Republican Party.

This time, there were several hiccups.

Last summer, Teton County records revealed that Cheney and her husband, Philip Perry, were more than two months late paying property taxes on the $1.6 million home they'd bought in Jackson Hole in 2012.

She said the late payment resulted from a misunderstanding of the terms of closing on the home with views of the Teton Range.

The week after that, The Associated Press reported Cheney had bought a Wyoming resident fishing license despite having lived in the state for less than the required one-year minimum.

Cheney paid a $220 fine for the infraction, records showed.

Bob Loevy, a political science professor at Colorado College in Colorado Springs, recalled Cheney discussing her desire to run for elected office in Wyoming when she was a student of his in the mid-1980s.

"I know it was a longtime ambition of hers," Loevy said. "But, looking at it as a political scientist, she was attempting a very difficult thing. No matter how great your family's reputation may be, an incumbent senator is very difficult to beat in what is essentially a one-party area."

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Associated Press writers Ben Neary in Cheyenne, Wyo., and Nicholas Riccardi in Denver contributed to this report.

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