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Friday, February 14, 2014

Wyoming History In The Making: Enzi out raised Cheney in the last quarter.

A recent article in the Casper Star Tribune reveals that Mike Enzi's campaign raised more money than Liz Cheney's in the last quarter, prior to her dropping out of the race.  And not only is that the case, but her campaign was, by that time, deficit spending.  Of those contributing in the last quarter, only 48 were from Wyoming, while over 400 were from out of state.  Enzi did take PAC money, while Cheney, who said she would not, did not.

This is the second of a recent set of articles I've read in which analyst looked at Cheney's campaign as to why it seemingly failed.  The most surprising one was in The New Republic.  Typically these articles never really seem to grasp Wyoming politics and come to what seem to me to be erroneous conclusions.  TNR's author seemed to think that Cheney had put Enzi in a bad spot by expecting, the author maintained, Enzi not to run and that Cheney would simply be an inevitable choice.  Once he ran, Wyomingites, the author maintained, were offended by the cheekiness of the assumption.  The most recent article in the Tribune quotes some analyst stating that the Cheney funding misfortunes were not a factor in her dropping out.  I suspect neither of those points were correct.

Rather, what I think is obvious from inside the State is that Cheney never seriously had a chance, but failed to recognize that. Enzi is a popular politician.  Moreover, there was never any real reason to feel that Cheney had any widespread support.  This is not to say that she lacked support completely, that would not be true, but it was never widespread.

She seems to have overestimated what the Cheney family name would mean, which perhaps is not surprising but shows a level of disconnect with the State.  Wyomingites can be enthusiastic about some candidates, but generally they tend to focus in on their effectiveness or perceived effectiveness and often don't really have any genuine love for the candidates themselves. For that reason, I suspect that Dick Cheney's place in the State is a little more subtle than outsiders, including Liz Cheney who really basically amounts to an outsider, suspect.  Dick Cheney rose to the House from Wyoming under fairly unique circumstances and ultimately that worked out very well for him, but it might not mean that people ever held him up personally as somebody that they hugely admired.  That he was successful was something that people admired, but I don't know that people ever strongly thought of him as a "native son" as outside pundits like to portray.  With Liz Cheney her long residence outside of the State, her being a Virginia lawyer married to another Virginia lawyer, and her need to demonstrate that she had roots in the state, which had to be demonstrated through her mother rather than her father (Dick Cheney is not from Wyoming, but Nebraska, coming here as a teenager) tended to point that out.

My suspicion is that once the tale of the tape started to come in funding wise, and it became obvious that Enzi was out pollling her and was going to continue to do so, she made the wise choice and dropped out, but in a manner that keeps her options over, should her political fortunes later look a bit better.

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