Sunday, October 12, 2014

Race of the Day- Wyoming U.S. Senate

23 Days Until Election Day

(and Happy 102nd Birthday, two days late here.. to my Grandmother!)

Status: Republican Incumbent
2012 Presidential Result: Red State (West)

Outlook: Safe Republican

Before I offer revised predictions and before I start looking at the U.S. House races, the final Race of the Day takes us to Wyoming, where the general election is no contest. The Republican primary was not much of one either, and might have been a blowout even if a challenger to the incumbent stayed in the race. However, it sure generated a lot of attention for a while.

Republican Mike Enzi was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1996 and heading into the 2014 cycle, he was considered a possible candidate for retirement. One ambitious Republican who was considering that possibility was Liz Cheney (who used to also use her married name of Perry), a former State Department official and Fox News contributor, who of course is also the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney. Having grown up in Wyoming, while her father was the state's Congressman, Liz Cheney moved her family back to the state from Virginia. For years, she had been talked about as a likely future candidate for Congress, and had decided that Wyoming would be easier to get elected to than in Virginia. When Enzi announced that he would seek reelection, and thus the state's U.S. House seat would also not be vacant, Cheney decided to challenge him in a primary. This sent some political shockwaves through the usually tight-knight Wyoming GOP. Enzi had claimed that Cheney had promised him that she was not going to run against him, while Cheney denied ever saying that and speculated that the then 69 year old Enzi might have confused her with a conversation he might have had with the state's GOP Congresswoman, who like Cheney, is also a blonde.

 The National Republican Senate Committee was quick to point out that they supported Enzi as the incumbent, and many other Senators, followed suit. To the disappointment of the Cheney campaign, most Wyoming political figures, including decades-long friends of her family, also endorsed Enzi. That was said to upset the candidate's mother, Lynne, who reportedly confronted and had some awkward conversations with figures such as former Senator Alan Simpson. While some national conservative figures did offer support for Cheney, who they felt would be more conservative than the incumbent, it appeared her candidacy had put her in somewhat of a bad light at home. There was also an instance when Cheney's sister Mary, to whom she had always been very close, publicly upbraided her sister on Facebook for an apparent change to a more conservative position on the issue of same sex marriage, which put her views as a candidate seemingly at odds with that of the rest of the family. Her parents weighed in to say that Liz was always in favor of traditional marriage.

The whole situation for Liz Cheney as a Senate candidate was clearly a mess (continuing a tradition of relatives of Presidents and Vice Presidents often struggling as candidates in their own rights) and polls showed Enzi with a massive advantage. She struggled to offer much of a rationale as to how she would be more conservative than the incumbent, although at this point it was clear that Democrats had conceded the general election. Just a few months after getting into the race, Liz Cheney announced in early 2014 that she was ending her campaign, citing some health issues with her children. While it already looked fairly positive, Enzi's path to six more years on Capitol Hill was now in the clear and he would easily win a primary over a collection of candidates, none of whom reached double digits. It remains to be seen if Liz Cheney might be able to rebound politically one day in Wyoming.

A bunch of Democrats also ran for the Senate nomination, including a perennial candidate who is said to be homeless, and another frequent candidate who is a New York City attorney. The nomination went though to Charlie Hardy, a former Catholic priest (who would go on to marry and divorce) and local Catholic education official. He finished solidly ahead of second place finisher Rex Wilde (which sounds like either a good name for a Wyoming politico or maybe an adult entertainment star), a contractor and losing candidate for Governor in 2010.

Enzi has nothing to worry about this fall from Hardy, and Cheney would not have either. The incumbent though has already managed to defeat his toughest competitor this cycle, without a ballot being cast.

Enzi campaign link:

Total Senate races predicted: 13 D (7 Safe, 2 Likely, 3 Leans, 1 Tossup), 23 R (11 Safe, 5 Likely, 4 Leans, 3 Tossup) 
Overall predicted thus far: 47 D, 53 R (net Republican gain of 8)


At 11:21 AM, Anonymous SECupp Fanatic said...

Thank you for doing these projections!

At 3:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday GrandMa!


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