Political Dynasties Return

Never mind the U.S. Constitution's prohibition on American political royalty. Family dynasties still rule

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Illustration by Lincoln Agnew for TIME

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In addition to fulfilling this long tradition, Cheney will bring much of the deep-pocketed Bush-Cheney fundraising network to her race. Her father's longtime political director, Kara Ahern, is serving as Liz Cheney's spokeswoman. And then there is the former Vice President. "Obviously, I'm a strong supporter of hers," the senior Cheney told Time.

Enzi, however, will prove a hard target. A Public Policy Polling survey of Wyoming Republicans conducted July 19--21 found Cheney trailing Enzi 26% to 54% in a primary matchup. Only 36% of the state's Republicans believe she is a Wyomingite, and 40% say it would be more appropriate for her to run in Virginia. Cheney could even jeopardize the GOP's control of the seat; she is the only Republican who trails a possible Democratic challenger, former governor David Freudenthal, 42% to 45%.

Enzi, 69, has worked his way up through state politics for nearly 40 years. But to Cheney, this is a liability. "For too long we have allowed career politicians to compromise on critical issues that have had dangerous effects for our nation, and it's time we sent them home," she wrote in a fundraising e-mail to supporters, without mentioning Enzi by name. She has yet to discover whether the Cheney name may have been tarnished, even within Republican circles, by her father's eight years in the Bush White House. "I think there were a good number of people here who weren't such a big fan of that Administration, and because of her name she may be called to defend it," said Charles Curley, chairman of the Hot Springs County Republican Party.

In the end, Cheney will have to win on the ground in a state that has long favored retail politics, especially within the Republican Party. "Our voters expect you to know their names, their wives' names, their kids' names," explained Susan Thomas, a veteran of 19 statewide Wyoming races, a member of the state GOP's executive committee and the wife of the late Senator Craig Thomas. "She's incredibly smart, but who is she personally? That's what Wyoming wants to know. Is she commonsense? What are her values?"

In other words, the name will take her only so far.

In a previous version of this article, we said that if reelected, Mike Enzi would be Wyoming's first ever four term Senator. In fact, Joseph C. O'Mahoney, who served starting in 1934, was the state's first four term senator.

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