At-large Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wilson/Jackson) yesterday made her long-awaited statement about whether she will enter the state’s open Senate race this year. The Congresswoman announced to the Republican Conference members that she will remain in the House and in her leadership position. Rep. Cheney is chair of the House Republican Conference, the third position in minority leadership.
This means that former Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R), who has been running for the Senate seat since soon after incumbent Mike Enzi (R) announced his retirement, is at least the short-term leader. The Cheney announcement is likely to encourage other potential candidates, and many of those who might have been thinking about running for the House if she had entered the Senate race, to enter the contest to succeed Sen. Enzi. Republicans are in the driver’s seat as Wyoming was President Trump’s strongest state in 2016, and he will again lead the ticket here in 2020.
While he had not been seriously mentioned as a US Senate candidate for incumbent Mike Enzi’s (R) open seat race next year, former two-term Gov. Matt Mead (R), who was ineligible to seek a third term in 2018, stated definitively late last week that he will not run for the Senate.
Retired investment company owner Foster Friess, who placed second in the 2018 Republican gubernatorial primary, reiterated that he has not ruled out running for Senate. Ex-Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R) is an active candidate, and most political observers believe that at-large Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wilson/Jackson) will enter the race before candidate filing closes at the end of May in preparation for the August 18th Republican primary.
Montana State University-Billings’ Political Science Department leaders conducted a poll of the Big Sky Country and included a small sampling segment for Wyoming. The poll was conducted during the Oct 7-12 period, and resumed on 10/14 and 16. The total sample, however, was only 111 individuals in the Equality State, which means the study should be considered a single night track.
Since Wyoming voters are not routinely polled, any data gives us at least a glimpse into how the race may unfold particularly if one candidate enjoys a large lead. Such is the case here, as Montana State finds at-large Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wilson/Jackson) standing strong in the Republican primary against former US Representative and declared candidate Cynthia Lummis. MSU sees a 37-17% spread in Ms. Cheney’s favor, well beyond even a large polling margin of error, which of course, is present in this poll. Ms. Cheney has not announced her intentions regarding the Senate race, but political insiders expect her to declare after the first of the year. Sen. Mike Enzi (R) is retiring, thus creating the open seat.
The Tarrance Group released their late June poll of the budding Wyoming open Senate race (6/22-24; 502 WY likely Republican primary voters). In a hypothetical Republican primary contest between Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wilson/Jackson Hole) and ex-US Rep. Cynthia Lummis, the current at-large Congresswoman would lead the former at-large Congresswoman and state Treasurer, 56-34%. While Ms. Cheney has not indicated that she will run for the Senate, Ms. Lummis appears to be making moves to construct a new campaign.
Regardless of what at-large Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wilson/Jackson) might do regarding retiring Sen. Mike Enzi’s (R) Senate seat, it appears that former Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R) is moving forward. Yesterday, the ex-Congresswoman took the step of changing the name of the federal campaign committee she still has from her days in the House. Instead of “Lummis for Congress,” her campaign committee is now called, “Lummis for Wyoming.”
Cynthia Lummis served both as Wyoming State Treasurer and as a member of Congress for eight years in each office. She also was elected to the Wyoming House and Senate prior to running for statewide office. She officially retired from the House at the beginning of 2017, choosing not to seek a fifth term in the 2016 election.
Mega GOP donor Foster Friess, who finished second in the 2018 open Wyoming Governor’s primary losing 33-26% to now-Gov. Mark Gordon (R), is quoted as saying he is considering entering the open US Senate race now that incumbent Sen. Mike Enzi (R) is retiring. All political eyes, however, are still on at-large Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wilson/Jackson) to see if she will announce for the Senate.
Four-term Senator Mike Enzi (R) announced on Saturday that he will not seek re-election next year. This becomes the fourth open Senate seat of the 2020 election cycle, three of which are Republican-held. Most of the action will come in the Republican primary from one of the GOP’s best states. At-large Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wilson) is the name most often mentioned as a possible candidate. Former Gov. Matt Mead (R) is also a possibility, as well as several statewide office holders.
Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso defeated self-funding Republican primary challenger Dave Dodson in a landslide 67-28% result last night, and becomes the prohibitive favorite to win a third term in November.
In the close Governor’s primary, state Treasurer Mark Gordon defeated billionaire mutual fund founder and national Republican donor Foster Friess, and attorney Harriet Hageman, 32-26-21%, to capture the open GOP nomination. Mr. Gordon will now oppose former state Rep. Mary Throne (D-Cheyenne), who was an easy winner in the Democratic primary. Republican Gov. Matt Mead is ineligible to seek a third term.
At-large freshman Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wilson/Jackson Hole) also had little trouble winning her primary, and has clear sailing to clinch a second term in November.
In Alaska, former state Sen. Mike Dunleavy easily defeated former Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell to win the Republican gubernatorial nomination. He now enters into a three-way general election that features Independent Gov. Bill Walker and former US Senator Mark Begich, who was unopposed for the Democratic nomination. Early polling suggests that Gov. Walker is in danger of losing the general election, as he trails both major party nominees.
The Dean of the House, Rep. Don Young (R-Ft. Yukon) serving his 23rd term, was re-nominated in a landslide result last night with 71% of the vote. Democratic education reform activist Alyse Galvin will oppose him in the general election.
A new poll University of Wyoming poll for Wyoming Public Media and the Wyoming PBS outlet (6/18-20; 596 WY Republican voters) finds that any of the candidates can still win the August 21st GOP primary to succeed term-limited Governor Matt Mead (R). State Treasurer Mark Gordon places first with 19% of the vote, followed by businessman Sam Galeotos who polls 14%, while attorney Harriet Hageman follows with 11%, and retired physician and former gubernatorial candidate Taylor Haynes has 10 percent. Billionaire investor Foster Friess is next with 7%, and businessman Bill Dahlin follows with just 1% preference.
It had been rumored for months that GOP mega-donor Foster Friess, founder of the Delaware-based Brandywine mutual fund family, would initiate a Republican primary challenge to Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso. While Mr. Friess never denied considering running for the Senate, even while referring to Sen. Barrasso as one of his “heroes”, it didn’t appear that he was making any discernible moves to launch a campaign. On Friday, however, Mr. Friess announced that he will challenge the Senator in the August 21st Republican primary. Mr. Friess, now a long-time resident of Wyoming, will have little trouble amassing campaign resources as he can easily self-fund a major campaign. It is doubtful that he can deny Sen. Barrasso re-nomination, but Mr. Friess can certainly make the primary campaign an expensive one.
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