(WASHINGTON) — After Liz Cheney announced Tuesday that she is mounting a primary challenge to Wyoming’s incumbent Republican Sen. Mike Enzi next summer, the Cowboy State’s at-large representative in the U.S. House of Representatives said the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney has shown “bad form” in launching her campaign.
Rep. Cynthia Lummis, a two-term Republican lawmaker, called Cheney “the shiny new pony” in Wyoming politics, but slammed Cheney for a lack of etiquette in making her intentions known to her opponent, Sen. Mike Enzi.
“I don’t think she’s going about it the right way,” Lummis, R-Wyo., told a scrum of reporters in the Speaker’s Lobby during votes on Tuesday night. “In the instance where you have the three-term sitting U.S. senator who has done nothing to merit a primary challenge and you challenge that person without the courtesy of calling them just before you make the announcement, it’s just not the best way to start a campaign.
“There’s a great history of intraparty decorum in Wyoming, especially when it comes to these higher-profile offices, and certainly that decorum has been broken here,” she added. “I think it’s problematic. I think it’s bad form.”
Lummis called Enzi “a principled conservative” and a “uniting force” in Congress, noting that he is well-positioned to take over the chairmanship at the Senate Finance Committee if Republicans are able to seize the majority in the upper chamber.
“He and his family are just quintessential Wyoming advocates and I am in complete support for his candidacy for reelection,” she said, adding that she doubted Cheney could beat Enzi in a primary. “Sen. Enzi has a track record of Wyoming involvement and advocacy, and she does not.”
Lummis said she would have “absolutely” run for Senate had Enzi decided not to seek reelection. She implied that Cheney is a carpetbagger for seeking office in a state where she has not lived the majority of her life.
“She’s skipping everyone over,” Lummis said. “It is a very unique strategy to live your entire life elsewhere and then come to a state a year before you’re going to announce that you’re running for that state’s highest office.”
Cheney, 46, moved to Wyoming last year with her intentions set on running for public office. She was born in Madison, Wis., and attended high school in McLean, Va.
Asked whether the campaign could fracture the Republican Party in Wyoming, Lummis said she is not surprised that Cheney entered the race, but admitted that she preferred Enzi run unopposed.
“I don’t know that anybody can out-conservative Mike Enzi. He’s got an extremely conservative voting record, but also, interestingly, a record of working across the aisle and getting significant legislation passed,” Lummis said. “He’s not a show horse. He’s just a work horse and I just think the Wyoming voters are tremendously proud of him, and I think they’ll reelect him.”
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Evan Perez and Pamela Brown, CNN
Scott Stuntz, Teton Valley News
Jeremy Diamond, CNN