Norquist, a powerful GOP kingmaker, says he doesn't know yet where Cheney stands on the issues, but is unhappy with Enzi for his help pushing an Internet sales tax bill through the Senate. If Cheney signs the ATR's "No new taxes" pledge and opposes the bill, Norquist says his organization could back her.
But like other outside groups focused on economic issues, Norquist said he had no idea where Cheney fell on the issues most important to him. Cheney, a former Fox News commentator and State Department official who's former Vice President Dick Cheney's daughter, has been vocal about her hawkish foreign policy views, but her views aren't well-known on other issues.
"I do not have a position on Internet sales tax from Cheney's daughter, nor do we have a pledge from her. Enzi has taken the pledge, but we're obviously not excited about his position on the Internet sales tax," he said. "We're interested in her views on Internet sales taxes and whether or not she's willing to protect Wyoming voters against any and all new taxes. Then we can speak intelligently as to the differences between the two."
Norquist said there was "disappointment" over Enzi's strong support of the Internet sales tax, and that once he has a clear idea where Cheney stands, the group will start "putting out material" on the race and may get involved with an endorsement, though he didn't commit to either candidate. The organization spent more than $16 million on races during the 2012 election cycle.
"If she's not going to come in on overall taxes, Enzi has. If she does, he's come in on overall taxes but supported something that's problematic. The Internet sales tax is a teeny, teeny tax, but it's a massive knock in the hole in the wall of allowing one state to collect taxes in another state," he said.
Still, Norquist made it clear the group wouldn't pick sides until it knew more about Cheney — and indicated her decision to challenge Enzi caught him off guard, saying he hadn't even heard she'd moved to Wyoming from her longtime home state of Virginia.
"I thought she was going to run in Virginia. That's the last I'd heard, that she was going to do that."