CHEYENNE, Wyo. -- Election Day is still about nine months away. But here in the Equality State, it seems as though everyone has started to form an opinion about the bitter Republican primary showdown between Sen. Mike Enzi and Liz Cheney.


Liz Cheney, left, during a campaign appearance in Casper, Wyo. in July; her sister, Mary Cheney, right, at the funeral for former president Gerald Ford in Washington in 2006. (AP file photos)

Three days' worth of conversations this week with voters, GOP strategists and current and former elected officials yielded some hard realities about the race on several fronts. Here are the five biggest ones:

1. As an issue, gay marriage doesn't really matter in this election. Even as the public spat between Liz Cheney and Mary Cheney has dominated local and national coverage (it was all over the front pages of the state's leading newspapers), the issue of same-sex marriage isn't that big a deal here. Both Liz Cheney and Enzi oppose it, leaving little room for disagreement on the matter. Moreover, the state has a distinct libertarian streak. Residents are wary of government intrusion into people's personal lives.

"Who cares?" said Republican Rich Moore, 66, of Cheyenne, when asked about the marriage debate and Liz Cheney's dispute with her sister.