Former representative Cynthia Lummis announced a bid for the Senate on Thursday in Wyoming, becoming the first Republican to get into the race and creating a potential clash with her successor in the House, Rep. Liz Cheney.
Lummis, also a two-term former state treasurer, was first elected to the House in 2008 and retired after the 2016 election. She was the only woman to sit in the House Freedom Conservative Caucus. of the group's creation in 2015.
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Cheney, meanwhile, quickly rose through the ranks of the GOP to become the third leader at the head of her new term, and also retains deep ties within the party as a daughter of the former vice president.
Lummis told reporters Thursday that she had spoken to Cheney before announcing her bid, and that the race to replace retired Sen. Mike Enzi would be a "real barn burner" if the two women faced each other in a primary school.
"She must make her decision. I did mine, "said Lummis. "It's the seat of Wyoming in the Senate. Nobody has dibs on it. "
Lummis is clearly challenging her former and future rival Cheney, whom she once ridiculed as the "brilliant new pony" of Wyoming politics for organizing a short-term primary against Enzi six years ago – a move that Lummis called it "mediocre form."
But Cheney does not sweat the Lummis' entry into the race, recently telling POLITICO that she would not base her decision on someone else's moves.
In a private survey conducted on behalf of an external group by the GOP company The Tarrance Group in late June, Cheney led Lummis, between 56% and 34% of GOP primary voters during a hypothetical confrontation, according to a polling note obtained by POLITICO.
Wyoming Gy lawmakers and consultants reject the persistent idea between the two women, they agree that a clash between Cheney and Lummis would be a ferocious confrontation that would certainly draw the portfolios of the GOP's big donors and divide the GOP House Conference where they served.
"Cynthia was an excellent MP, we worked closely together. Liz Cheney is an extraordinary member of the House and we work closely together, "said Barrasso. "I do not plan to be endorsed in the primary. But I'm going to make sure we have the seat. "
Lummis was a founding member of the hard-line Freedom caucus, who bent leadership to his liking and pulled the right when the GOP was in charge. But Cheney – a frequent presence on Fox News Channel – has earned a reputation on Capitol Hill as a fervent Conservative and has earned the applause of his colleagues at the helm of the party's messaging efforts.
Lummis sought to downplay the argument for Cheney's arrival in the upper house, saying Wyoming would have a senator off the list of leaders – Cheney and Barrasso are both not. 3 Republicans in their respective rooms. She also stated that she had been excluded from the GOP Whip Team in 2015 for a vote against the passage of the trade promotion authority for the Obama administration.
Lummis added that Wyoming would have a "dream team" with Cheney in the House and Barrasso and herself in the Senate.
"It also helps Wyoming to have someone who is not in leadership who can assume leadership when leadership behaves in a way that is not in. the best interest of Wyoming, "she said.
Lummis has already received at least one endorsement: Senator Rand Paul, who has had a long feud with the Cheney family – including supporting a Cheney's main opponent in 2016 – announced that he would support Lummis in the Senate race. .
"I'm a big fan of his. I will support it in the primary, "Paul told POLITICO.
But what matters most in Wyoming is that of President Donald Trump, who won Cowboy State by nearly 50 points in 2016.
Lummis said in her announcement that she would run side by side with Trump. But at an event at the White House on Thursday, Trump praised Cheney, saying she had "a pretty boundless future."
"I hear very positive things," Trump said.
Lummis said the main contrast between her and Cheney is foreign policy, describing herself as "libertarian" and "non-interventionist," while Cheney is known to be a defense hawk. This is one of the areas in which Lummis might try to align more closely with Trump.
And Cheney did not hesitate to speak when she does not agree with the Trump government on foreign policy. After the Iranian president withdrew last month by a strike against Iran, Cheney warned that it could be a "mistake" not to react to the destruction of an unmanned UAV.
"The lack of reaction to this kind of direct provocation that we have seen from Iranians, especially in recent weeks, could actually be a very serious mistake," Cheney told Hugh Hewitt, radio host. Conservative.
Some Republicans encouraged Cheney to run. But Cheney is also considered an asset for Republicans in the Lower House and a potential future speaker, and other Republicans have relied on her to stay in the House. Her decision may in part depend on whether she would have a larger platform as a senator or member of the leadership in the lower house.
Lummis, who retired in 2016 partly for family reasons, said her "energy" and "desire" were back and that she was ready to "renew her commitment" for serve in Washington.
The deadline for applications is May and the main one in August. Other Republicans are considered potential candidates, including former Gov. Matt Mead and GOP donor Foster Friess.