Cheney, 46, who moved from Virginia to Wyoming last year to assay a possible run, made her intentions known in a six-minute YouTube video released 30 minutes after Enzi declared his intentions to seek a fourth term.
The Republican lacerated President
Enzi, a family friend of the Cheneys, appeared caught off-guard. Speaking in Washington, he said he received no heads-up before the announcement. "She said that if I ran she wasn't going to run, but obviously that wasn't correct," Enzi told reporters in the Capitol. "I thought we were friends."
Enzi’s colleagues were quick to rally to the incumbent, vowing to place the party’s campaign machinery behind his reelection bid. Sen.
Senate Minority Leader
Cheney, the elder of two Cheney daughters, is "very talented and has a bright future," Barrasso said, but Enzi "is a tremendous senator" deserving of another term.
Enzi, who won office in 1996, has a history of easy reelections, though he conceded he has never been a strong fundraiser. Money shouldn't be a problem for Cheney, who has both nationwide name recognition and the benefit of the extensive political network her father, a former Wyoming congressman, built over the decades.
Cheney has long been an informal advisor to her father and an outspoken voice in conservative circles, especially on defense and foreign policy issues. During the administration of President
The contest, which promises to be a marquee race in 2014, is unlikely to affect the balance of power in the Senate. Wyoming is a staunchly Republican state, and the winner of the primary seems almost certain to win the general election.
"A bright, shiny object" was how Jennifer Duffy, an analyst with the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, described the contest: Interesting but ultimately a diversion from more important races.