Alan Simpson slams Liz Cheney

"It’s hard for all of us who know the Cheneys to see the things she’s doing to win this race"

Published November 19, 2013 7:45PM (EST)

Alan Simpson     (AP/Evan Vucci)
Alan Simpson (AP/Evan Vucci)

Former Wyoming Sen. Alan Simpson made clear on Monday that when it comes to the ongoing feud between the Cheney sisters, he's on team Mary.

“You’re not even destroying friendships -- you’re destroying family relationships just because of this race,” Simpson said to NBC, discussing Liz Cheney's flailing campaign for one of Wyoming's two Senate seats. “It’s hard for all of us who know the Cheneys to see the things she’s doing to win this race. It’s almost like, ‘I will do anything to win this race,’ because I cannot ever believe that there would be a breach between she and Mary.”

The two Cheney sisters are in the midst of a public feud over Liz's professed opposition to same-sex marriage. Mary Cheney and her partner, Heather Poe, have both criticized Liz strongly through their Facebook accounts. Mary went so far as to write, "Liz — this isn’t just an issue on which we disagree — you’re just wrong — and on the wrong side of history.”

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To Simpson, it’s another sad turn in Cowboy State politics that’s forced longtime friends of the Cheneys, including him, to choose sides in a short campaign that’s already put politics above all else – even family.

The former senator was at the center of one of the early controversies in the Cheney campaign. After learning Simpson and his wife, Ann, were backing Mike Enzi, Lynne Cheney confronted them about their loyalties after Simpson attempted to remove his signature from a football that he worried could be used to raise money for Liz’s campaign.  According to Simpson, Lynne exploded at him, telling him to “shut your mouth” in talking about supporting Enzi.

Lynne Cheney denied the incident ever happened after Simpson’s daughter posted the account on Facebook. But the former senator told his side of the story in a letter to the Cody Enterprise, saying he hoped the incident wouldn’t affect his longtime friendship with Dick Cheney.

“That twisted comment is one damn bald-faced lie and I have had a belly full of it! I have never been called a liar before and it sure as hell won’t work this time,” Simpson wrote of Lynne Cheney’s denial of the incident.

By Elias Isquith

Elias Isquith is a former Salon staff writer.

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Alan Simpson Election 2013 Liz Cheney Mary Cheney Nbc News Senate Wyoming