- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 11, 2014

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - Liz Cheney fell behind U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi in fundraising and spent more money than she raised over the last three-months of her campaign as her bid to unseat the three-term Republican faltered amid a public spat with her sister and difficulty gaining support among mainstream Republicans in Wyoming.

Cheney’s camp said Monday that the balance sheet reflected the winding down of her short-lived campaign.

Most mainstream Republicans had endorsed Enzi in the primary fight. Cheney was also left to fend off allegations that she was a carpetbagger after only moving to Wyoming in 2012.

As of Dec. 31, Cheney had only $612,000 available to Enzi’s $1.8 million, according to campaign finance documents due Jan. 31 to the Federal Election Commission.

Cheney announced Jan. 6 she was quitting her primary challenge against Enzi because of health issues in her family. She has a daughter with Type 1 diabetes.

Cheney said falling behind financially did not factor into her decision to quit. The year-end fundraising report shows that Cheney already was winding down her campaign, spokeswoman Kara Ahern said.

“The final report reflects the fact that we ended the campaign, stopped active fundraising and paid our outstanding bills in a single quarter,” Ahern said by email Monday. “The picture would have been different had the campaign continued. We had a full fundraising schedule confirmed into 2014.”

Enzi previously had been the one who was raising less than Cheney, elder daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney.

From July through September, Enzi raised $850,000 while Cheney, who announced her campaign July 17, brought in just over $1 million. Enzi maintained a cash-on-hand advantage, however, banking $1.2 million to Cheney’s $800,000 as of Sept. 30.

Over the last quarter of 2013, Cheney raised about $720,000 and spent about $900,000 - expenditures which included pricey television ads that highlighted her family’s old ties to Wyoming. Enzi raised nearly $1 million and spent almost $370,000 over that period.

Cheney was still actively campaigning as of Dec. 18, when she held a telephone “town hall” with supporters, according to her Facebook page.

“I’m running for this job because I believe deeply that Wyoming needs somebody in Washington who will defend Wyoming values,” she said during the half-hour call, a recording of which was posted on YouTube and her website.

Her disbursements over the remainder of 2013, after the call, totaled about $73,000. Her spending included $1,521 to the Ritz Carlton hotels in Los Angeles and Denver on Dec. 31 but didn’t include any obvious, active campaigning costs, such as printing T-shirts and yard signs.

She paid about $328,000 in debts in the fourth quarter and ended the year owing about $175,000.

Cheney’s campaign took a much-publicized turn for the worse in November, when her sister, Mary Cheney, who is married to a woman, criticized her for not fully endorsing gay marriage.

She meanwhile struggled to gain political traction in Wyoming. Her supporters included a handful of long-time friends of the Cheney family but the vast majority of Wyoming’s state legislators and other elected officials sided with Enzi.

Enzi spokeswoman Kristin Walker declined to comment on Cheney’s finances. Neither Cheney nor Ahern has said what Cheney intends to do with her remaining campaign funds.

Federal law prohibits leftover campaign cash from being used in any way not permitted during an active campaign. However, Cheney could choose to donate her money to other candidates and political action committees within the permissible limits.

Enzi is left with a huge sum to wield against his remaining challengers.

They include Charlie Hardy, a former priest, and Rex Wilde, who works for a road contracting company. Both are Democrats from Cheyenne. Republican Thomas Bleming, a self-described soldier of fortune from Lusk, also is running.


Follow Mead Gruver on Twitter at https://twitter.com/meadgruver

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