Despite Wyoming’s friendly landscapes, welcoming hills and cozy downtowns, this state does not always take kindly to outsiders. Especially outsiders who tell them what is wrong with the state and how to fix it.
Liz Cheney recently announced her intentions to run against U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi in 2014.
Cheney, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, isn’t from Wyoming. She was born in Madison, Wis., graduated from McLean High School in Virginia and received her bachelor’s degree from Colorado College. She went on to earn her law degree from the University of Chicago Law School.
Cheney did not move to Wyoming until the fall of 2012, less than one year ago.
She also moved to Jackson — barely considered part of “real” Wyoming by many of the state’s other municipalities.
There is a word for people who move to an area just to run for office and it is not a nice one.
Challenging Enzi, too, will likely prove to be an unwise choice.
Enzi is a well-known — and well-liked — member of Wyoming’s U.S. Congressional delegation.
According to results released by the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling Tuesday, Enzi leads Cheney 54 percent to 26 percent among Republican primary voters. In addition, 66 percent of Republicans approve of Enzi’s job performance.
Polling also demonstrates the state’s unwillingness to accept Cheney as one of them. Thirty-six percent consider her to be a Wyomingite while 44 percent do not.
Enzi, too, has roots here. While he was born in Bremerton, Wash., he was raised in Thermopolis. He attended elementary school there and graduated from Sheridan High School before earning degrees from George Washington University and the University of Denver.
He also served in the Wyoming Air National Guard and now lives in Gillette.
While Cheney has never been elected to serve in public office, Enzi started out as mayor of Gillette in 1974. He was then elected to the state House of Representatives followed by the Wyoming Senate in the 1990s. He has served in the U.S. Senate since 1997, giving him a seniority that counts for something, unlike in the House. Cheney, if elected, would be kept on the back bench.
Cheney is even getting knocked down by her own party. The National Republican Senatorial Committee and Wyoming Republicans have both said they would support the incumbent. Former presidential candidate and Arizona Sen. John McCain has also announced his intentions to back Enzi.
While former Democratic Gov. Dave Freudenthal is well-respected in the state, his shot at winning in 2014 against Enzi is still slim. Enzi has a 54 to 31 percent advantage over Freudenthal in the latest polls.
Yet Freudenthal leads Cheney 45 to 42 percent in the early polling.
Cheney has a long road ahead, likely to a resounding defeat, in the 2014 elections.