Liz Cheney is poised to drop out of the Senate race in Wyoming, two Republican officials told ABC News, reaching a decision over the holidays that it was time to abandon her Republican primary challenge against Sen. Mike Enzi.
Cheney, the 47-year-old daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney who was making her first foray into politics as a candidate, is expected to make an announcement as early as today.
The decision to abandon her Senate bid came nearly as abruptly as her decision to initially enter the contest last July, when she surprised party leaders in Wyoming and Washington by setting up a contentious primary fight against Enzi, a well-respected three-term Republican. She sought to rally the support of her father's old political network in Wyoming, but struggled to introduce herself to Wyoming voters and to win over many Republican leaders, who sided with Enzi.
Her candidacy sparked controversy inside her own family when she declared her opposition to same-sex marriage. Her younger sister, Mary Cheney, who is lesbian, forcefully challenged Liz's position and suggested that she had changed her views. The fight even drew in their parents, the former vice president and his wife, Lynne, who said they were "pained" to see the private rift become so public, but they effectively sided with Liz.
Liz Cheney, who moved her family from Virginia to Wyoming more than a year ago, fought against perceptions that she was a political carpetbagger. She aired campaign commercials highlighting her family's deep roots to the state, but struggled to gain traction against Enzi.
But with the Republican primary eight months away, she and her campaign aides have argued that she had plenty of time to challenge Enzi. The officials, who spoke to ABC News on condition of anonymity to avoid upstaging her announcement, said she began notifying her close supporters and strategists over the weekend of her decision.
A spokeswoman for the Cheney campaign did not immediately respond for comment. Her decision to leave the race was first reported by CNN.
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