SHERIDAN — U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney announced Thursday she would seek re-election to the U.S. House in November, ending months of speculation as to whether she would make a run for the state’s open U.S. Senate seat.
Cheney, who is currently the third ranking Republican in the U.S. House, was critical of her Democratic colleagues in the House in a statement provided by a spokesman from her office and said she decided to stay put to work to curb the influence of the House’s Democratic majority.
“I believe I can have the biggest impact for the people of Wyoming by remaining in leadership in the House of Representatives and working to take our Republican majority back,” Cheney said in the statement.
Cheney has served two terms as Wyoming’s sole U.S. Representative and risen through the ranks of House leadership during that tenure. Speculation as to whether she would try to use that momentum to win a U.S. Senate seat began when longtime Wyoming Senator Mike Enzi announced his retirement last spring. Former Wyoming U.S Representative Cynthia Lummis, who announced her campaign for U.S. Senate last summer and was poised to be Cheney’s chief rival if the congresswoman made a bid for Senate, applauded Cheney’s decision Thursday.
“Congressman (sic) Cheney has been a great spokeswoman and leader for the Republican Party in DC,” Lummis said in a statement. “Her role as House Republican Conference Chair is one she truly excels in and I think her future knows no bounds.”
Early polling suggested Cheney would have had an advantage in a hypothetical race with Lummis; a poll from the GOP firm the Tarrance Group leaked to Breitbart News in July suggested Cheney was polling 22% higher than Lummis among Wyoming voters.
Several potential candidates for both the state’s House and Senate seats have waited for Cheney’s decision because of her perceived strength as a candidate. With her announcement, the races for Wyoming’s Congressional seats may rapidly begin to take shape.
A spokesman for Cheney’s office said she would hold a press conference later in the day Thursday.