CHEYENNE, WY - JULY 17: Wyoming Senate candidate Liz Cheney holds a news conference at the Little America Hotel and Resort in Cheyenne, Wyoming on July 17, 2013. Cheney, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, will run against longtime incumbent Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY). Cheney launched her campaign yesterday following Enzi's announcement that he will run for a fourth term. (Photo by Marc Piscotty/Getty Images)
Liz Cheney to abandon Senate bid
02:48 - Source: CNN

Story highlights

Cheney releases a statement citing "serious health issues" in her family

Wyoming Sen. Mike Enzi first won the Senate seat in 1996

The contest caused bitter feelings in the Republican Party and the Cheney family

Enzi and Cheney speak by phone; he says he respects her decision

New York CNN  — 

Liz Cheney, whose upstart bid to unseat Wyoming Sen. Mike Enzi sparked warfare in the Republican Party and within her own family, is dropping out of the primary race, she said on Monday.

“Serious health issues have recently arisen in our family, and under the circumstances, I have decided to discontinue my campaign,” the eldest daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney said in a written statement.

Cheney, 47, began telling associates of her decision over the weekend, CNN reported Sunday night.

She was not specific about the health issues involved in her decision. But CNN has learned from multiple sources close to the family that they involve at least one of her children.

“Though this campaign stops today, my commitment to keep fighting with you and your families for the fundamental values that have made this nation and Wyoming great will never stop,” she added.

Cheney called Enzi, 69, about her decision to bow out.

“I talked to her first thing this morning. It was very nice that she called me,” he told CNN on Capitol Hill, adding that he respects Cheney’s decision and that “she and her family are in our prayers.”

Asked if he was relieved that she was no longer in the race, he said he hasn’t “had a chance to reflect on that yet.”

Cheney’s surprising decision to jump into the race, an announcement made in a YouTube video last summer, roiled Republican politics in Wyoming, a state that her father represented in Congress for five terms in the 1970s and 80s.

Enzi is a low-key presence in Washington in the Senate. He was elected in 1996 and has amassed a conservative voting record with few blemishes.