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UPDATED 2:00 p.m.: Cheney drops out of Senate race, mends wounds with Al Simpson

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Liz Cheney

Liz Cheney speaks during a campaign appearance in Casper on July 17, 2013. Cheney has withdrawn her GOP primary challenge to incumbent U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi citing family health issues. 

Liz Cheney dropped out of the Senate primary race against Sen. Mike Enzi today because of family health issues, according to a campaign spokeswoman.

News of Cheney's decision broke late Sunday night in a handful of media reports, including the Casper Star-Tribune's on Today's official announcement in a 3:54 a.m. media release from the Cheney campaign came less than six months after the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney announced she was running to unseat the three-term senator to represent Wyoming in Congress.

“Serious health issues have recently arisen in our family, and under the circumstances, I have decided to discontinue my campaign," Cheney said in the prepared statement. "My children and their futures were the motivation for our campaign and their health and well-being will always be my overriding priority.”

One of Cheney’s five children has type 1 diabetes, according to Cheney campaign spokeswoman Kara Ahern. Cheney recently canceled campaign events including one last month in Uinta County.

Cheney’s Senate run sparked controversy among the GOP ranks in Wyoming and forced conservatives to choose between an establishment-backed senator in Enzi and the daughter of the former vice president.

“The Wyoming Republican Party wishes the best to Liz Cheney and her family as they deal with difficult family health issues,” Tammy Hooper, chairman of the Wyoming Republican Party, said in a media release. “Liz has been a stalwart supporter of our party, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for our candidates and county parties.”

Cheney’s announcement to run against Enzi sparked a feud between her family and former Wyoming Sen. Al Simpson.

Simpson and the former vice president worked and campaigned in national politics in the 1970s and 1980s, but when Simpson began stumping for Enzi it caused a blowup between the two families.

But in the wake of Cheney’s announcement, the two families will begin to rebuild their longtime friendship, Simpson said.

“It was a beautiful friendship and I am sure it will be restored,” he said.

Simpson spoke to Cheney on Monday. She told the former Senator she was dropping out because it was a “mom thing.”

Cheney’s premature departure from the campaign has many people wondering whether she will one day reappear in Wyoming politics.

The future looks very good for her, state Rep. and GOP national committeewoman Marti Halverson said.

“I hope we haven’t heard the last of her,” she said.

Cheney's decision to end her campaign leaves Enzi without a formidable challenger with eight months remaining until the Wyoming Republican primary election.

"We have tremendous respect for Liz’s decision," Enzi said in a media release. "She and her entire family are in our thoughts and prayers."


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