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Liz Cheney drops Senate campaign, cites health issues

U.S. Senate candidate Liz Cheney speaks to voters during a Republican and Tea Party gathering in Emblem, Wyoming August 24, 2013. REUTERS/Ru
U.S. Senate candidate Liz Cheney speaks to voters during a Republican and Tea Party gathering in Emblem, Wyoming August 24, 2013. REUTERS/Ru

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Republican Liz Cheney, the eldest daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, ended her U.S. Senate bid in Wyoming on Monday, citing serious family health issues.

Cheney, a lawyer who worked in the U.S. State Department during the administration of President George W. Bush, was seeking to unseat incumbent Republican Senator Mike Enzi in a primary election in August.

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

She did not elaborate on the health problems. Cheney and her husband, Philip Perry, have five children.

CNN reported the decision on Sunday night, citing unidentified sources, while Politico obtained her statement early Monday.

Enzi said he respected Cheney's decision to put her family first.

"We have tremendous respect for Liz's decision," he said in a statement. "She and her entire family are in our thoughts and prayers."

Cheney's entry onto the political stage in the conservative state has been bumpy. Cheney, 47, who spent much of her youth and adult life in Virginia, had her Wyoming credentials challenged in spite of her family's deep roots in the state.

Last summer, she committed a political gaffe in a state where hunting and fishing are taken seriously when she mistakenly bought the wrong fishing license after living in Wyoming for just a few months.

State law requires a year of residency before applying for such a license, which is less expensive than licenses for visitors or newcomers.

Her candidacy was further complicated by a family spat after she asserted her opposition to same-sex marriage. Her younger sister, Mary Cheney, a lesbian who last year married longtime partner Heather Poe, publicly chastised her for taking a stance that is "dead wrong."

Last November, the former vice president entered the fray, saying in a joint statement with his wife, Lynne, that Liz Cheney "has always believed in the traditional definition of marriage" and has also "always treated her sister and her sister's family with love and respect."

Cheney has long said he supports extending marriage rights to same-sex couples.

(Reporting by Doina Chiacu and Edith Honan; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and James Dalgleish)

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