Republicans close to the Cheney family said one of her teenage daughters had been diagnosed with diabetes, ABC News said. People familiar with the campaign in Wyoming and Washington said Cheney decided to withdraw from the race during the holidays and alerted her advisers in recent days.
Former Sen. Alan Simpson, a Wyoming Republican and longtime friend of the Cheney family, told ABC News that when he talked to Liz Cheney Monday, she said her withdrawal was a deeply personal family decision.
"She told us she was stepping away, that it was a mom thing," Simpson said. "Her children she felt needed her more -- and she needed them."
When she announced she was abandoning her challenge to centrist Sen. Mike Enzi, Cheney said, "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."
Campaign officials said Liz Cheney, daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, also was frustrated with her campaign's direction and her inability to make a dent in Enzi's campaign and fundraising efforts, ABC News said.
"She knew she wasn't on a path to winning," one knowledgeable GOP official told ABC News. "She knew she couldn't afford a big loss."
Cheney, 47, moved from Virginia to Wyoming in 2012. Her father had represented Wyoming in Congress as the state's at-large representative from 1979 to 1989.