Liz Cheney got to Senator Mike Enzi when she announced that she is running for the U.S. Senate seat Enzi has occupied since 1997 and said it's time for a new generation of leaders.
Enzi, who is 69, told CNN's Dana Bash he isn't too old:
"I'm absolutely not too old to be senator. I'd say I'm kinda in the median age for this body"
According to CNN, the median age of stood at 62 before 67-year-old Ed Markey was sworn in on Tuesday. Cheney is 46.
Cheney, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, says she is running because she is concerned about the direction of the country:
"I am running because I believe deeply in the values that have made our state and our nation great. I am running because I believe it is necessary for a new generation of leaders to step up to the plate. I am running because I know, as a mother and a patriot, we can no longer afford simply to go along to get along. We can’t continue business as usual in Washington. I am running because I know we are taxed more than enough already [emphasis added]"
Cheney made her announcement in a YouTube video:
Transcript of Cheney's announcement:
"Liz Cheney Announces Candidacy for U.S. Senate
Over the last several years, people across our great state have urged me to consider running for the Senate in 2014. As I have traveled to every corner of Wyoming, seeing old friends and meeting new, I have been honored to have the chance to speak with many of you about your concerns, fears and hopes for the future. I have listened carefully, and discussed the possibility of running for office at length with Phil and the kids. Today, I am launching my candidacy for the United States Senate.
We are blessed by our heritage in Wyoming – a heritage built on the values brought here by our forefathers and mothers. These were people like those in my own family who first came here in 1852 in search of religious freedom; people like my great grandfather and his brothers, who came as ranch hands and settled at Lysite in 1907; people like my grandmother who was raised in the Salt Creek oil fields and grew up to become Natrona County’s first female deputy sheriff. These men and women and thousands of others like them built our state on their hopes for freedom, their search for opportunity, their belief in independence and equality, and their dedication to the values of our founding documents. They understood the responsibility of neighbor to neighbor and of one generation to the next. Today, these values are under assault by a federal government grown far beyond anything the pioneers of our great state could ever have imagined – or would have tolerated.
The last four and a half years have been particularly devastating. Our national debt is nearing $17 trillion, with no end in sight, imposing an inexcusable burden on our children and grandchildren. We have watched as our taxpayer dollars are wasted on investments that go bankrupt, “stimulus” projects that never get off the ground, and federal government programs that don’t create jobs. Washington seems convinced that more government borrowing and spending are the solutions to every problem. They are dedicated to taking more money out of our pockets and massively expanding the government’s role in our lives.
President Obama has launched a war on our Second Amendment rights. He has launched a war on our religious freedom. He has used the IRS to launch a war on our freedom of speech and he has used the EPA to launch a war on Wyoming’s ranchers, farmers, and energy industry. He is working to nationalize one-sixth of the economy with job-killing Obamacare. He has so effectively diminished our strength abroad that there is no longer a question about whether this was his intent. He is working to pre-emptively disarm America, while rogue states like North Korea and Iran build nuclear weapons capabilities and stockpiles. He has held no one to account for the attack on our consulate and the murder of our diplomats in Benghazi. And he has refused, repeatedly, to be truthful with the American people. At the same time, the president and his allies in Congress are working to implant his liberal philosophy so deeply into our body politic that we will be dealing with its effects long after he is gone from office.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
We can get our nation back on track. Instead of cutting deals with the president’s liberal allies, we should be opposing them every step of the way. We can stop President Obama policies, including those that are hurting Wyoming most. We can roll back the power of the federal government. We can lower taxes. We can stop the infringement of the EPA and other federal agencies on Wyoming agriculture and energy producers. We can give the private sector the freedom and incentives it needs to grow and create jobs. We can become energy independent, and we can usher in an economic renaissance with policies that take full advantage of our tremendous energy reserves. We can elect leaders who are worthy of commanding our men and women in uniform. This is our state and our country, and we don’t need to accept what Washington, DC has been doing to us.
We can prevail by remembering what we stand for as conservatives: limited government, low taxes, a strong national defense, opportunity for all, the inviolability of our Constitution, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, the right to keep and bear arms, the importance of the family as the fundamental building block in our society, and the value of every human life. We know the United States is the exceptional nation and we know the men and women who wear her uniform are the greatest fighting force, and the greatest force for good, the world has ever known.
To prevail, we must start now. President Obama and his liberal allies will try to stop us every step of the way. But if we are passive, if we fail to take up this challenge, if we fail to defend our nation against these destructive policies, our very freedoms will be at risk.
I am running because I believe deeply in the values that have made our state and our nation great. I am running because I believe it is necessary for a new generation of leaders to step up to the plate. I am running because I know, as a mother and a patriot, we can no longer afford simply to go along to get along. We can’t continue business as usual in Washington. I am running because I know we are taxed more than enough already. I am running because I know Wyoming needs a strong voice in Washington, someone who knows how to get things done, and isn’t afraid to fight for what’s right. I will never compromise when our freedom is at stake.
Every victorious movement in history has required the full participation of men and women of courage, conviction and principle. In the face of these challenges and with a clear-eyed view of the better and brighter future that is possible for us all, I hope you will join me in this fight."
Cheney practiced law and held several positions in President George H.W. Bush’s administration. As Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, she was the second-ranking official in the state department bureau responsible for U.S. policy in the Middle East. After Obama became president she founded Keep America Safe, a non-profit organization dedicated to keeping the United States secure from terrorist threats.
This campaign is not like recent Republican primary campaigns where a Conservative challenger takes on a more moderate incumbent. As the Washington Post's Chris Cillizza and Sean Sullivan point out Enzi is not lacking in Conservative ratings:
Enzi was the 8th most conservative senator in 2012, according to National Journal’s vote ratings and has a 93 lifetime rating from the American Conservative Union. (Enzi’s Heritage Action score is a slightly less robust 67, the lowest of the state’s three federal representatives.)
The primary campaign won't be a cake walk. Enzi announced he would seek reelection Tuesday. He was quickly backed by the other two members of Wyoming's congressional delegation Republicans Sen. John Barrasso and Rep. Cynthia Lummis and the National Republican Senatorial Committee. Sen. Rand Paul has said that he would support Enzi. Paul's support is payback for Dick Cheney's endorsement of Paul's primary opponent in 2010, suggesting Paul would be dangerous for national security.
Cheney has Republican establishment support as well:
Former Republican National Committee Finance Chairman Mel Sembler, who served as ambassador to Italy, told POLITICO he’s all-in for the former vice president’s daughter. Republican strategist Mary Matalin cautioned the powers-that-be in Washington not to try and undermine the younger Cheney’s campaign in an email:
"The so-called ‘Establishment’ should let the voters decide."
Wyoming Republican National Committeewoman Marti Halverson pledged to stay neutral in the race and said she hopes that the national committees, including the RNC and NRSC, follow suit.Cheney has also been endorsed by my RedState's Erick Erickson:
I'm pleased to endorse Liz Cheney for the United States Senate.— Erick Erickson (@EWErickson) July 16, 2013
Finally it should be noted that a sleeper reelection Senate campaign just turned into a very high profile and expensive primary race.