"Serious health issues have recently arisen in our family, and under the circumstances, I have decided to discontinue my campaign. My children and their futures were the motivation for our campaign and their health and well-being will always be my overriding priority," Cheney said in a statement this morning.
"As a mother and a patriot, I know that the work of defending freedom and protecting liberty must continue for each generation… 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.
The decision to abandon her Senate bid came nearly as abruptly as her decision to initially enter the contest last July, when she surprised party leaders in Wyoming and Washington by setting up a contentious primary fight against Sen. Mike Enzi, a well-respected three-term Republican. She sought to rally the support of her father's old political network in Wyoming, but struggled to introduce herself to Wyoming voters and to win over many Republican leaders, who sided with Enzi.
Her candidacy sparked controversy inside her own family when she declared her opposition to same-sex marriage. Her younger sister, Mary Cheney, who is lesbian, forcefully challenged Liz's position and suggested that she had changed her views. The fight even drew in their parents, the former vice president and his wife, Lynne, who said they were "pained" to see the private rift become so public, but they effectively sided with Liz.
Liz Cheney, who moved her family from Virginia to Wyoming more than a year ago, fought against perceptions that she was a political carpetbagger. She aired campaign commercials highlighting her family's deep roots to the state, but struggled to gain traction against Enzi.
But with the Republican primary eight months away, she and her campaign aides have argued that she had plenty of time to challenge Enzi.
Her decision to leave the race was first reported by CNN Sunday night.