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Cheney keeping options open on possible Senate run in 2020

May 13, 2019
FILE - In this Tuesday, April 2, 2019 file photo Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., arrives for a House Armed Services Committee budget hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. Cheney, isn't ruling out running for U.S. Senate but says she has no announcement to make. She says she's focused on her work in the U.S. House rather than possibly succeeding Republican U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi. Wyoming's senior senator plans to retire at the end of his fourth term in 2021. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik,File)
FILE - In this Tuesday, April 2, 2019 file photo Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., arrives for a House Armed Services Committee budget hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. Cheney, isn't ruling out running for U.S. Senate but says she has no announcement to make. She says she's focused on her work in the U.S. House rather than possibly succeeding Republican U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi. Wyoming's senior senator plans to retire at the end of his fourth term in 2021. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik,File)

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney says she is keeping her options open about whether to seek Sen. Mike Enzi’s seat when he retires next year.

The Republican daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, who won a House seat in 2016, failed to gain traction when she tried to challenge Enzi for his seat in 2014.

“He’s going to be in the Senate for another 18 months,” she said at a news conference in Washington last week. “I look forward to continuing doing work on behalf of the people of Wyoming.”

Cheney, who has quickly risen to chair the Republican caucus, the third-highest Republican leadership position in the U.S. House, calls Enzi a friend and “tremendous mentor.”

She didn’t rule out a Senate run during questions at the news conference or in follow-up inquiries.

Enzi at his retirement announcement in Gillette on May 4 said Cheney and Republican U.S. Sen. John Barrasso will have long careers ahead in their current jobs.

“I’m leaving the Senate and House in good hands since John and Liz are in leadership. I can see a future when Rep. Cheney will be the speaker of the House and Sen. Barrasso will be the Senate majority leader,” Enzi said.

Enzi isn’t looking to weigh in on the Senate race, spokeswoman Rachel Vliem said by email.

Other possible 2020 candidates for the Senate seat include former Republican Gov. Matt Mead, former Republican U.S. Rep. Cynthia Lummis and GOP donor Foster Friess.

Mead has been largely out of public view after serving two terms and leaving office in January. He owns a ranch in the mountains of southeastern Wyoming.

Lummis also hasn’t been active in public life since deciding not to seek reelection in 2016. Her decision cleared a path for Cheney to dominate a primary with eight Republican challengers and win the general election with 62 percent against a little-known Democrat.

Friess, a multimillionaire investor known for funding Republican candidates nationwide, made his first political run in 2018 at 78. The Jackson Hole resident finished second in a six-way Republican gubernatorial primary with 25 percent of the vote.

Mead, Lummis and Friess didn’t respond to messages seeking comment.

Dave Dodson, a Jackson Hole businessman who ran as an independent and then as a Republican against Barrasso in 2018, said he’s neither ruling out nor considering another Senate run right now. Barrasso beat Dodson 65% to 28%.

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Alan Fram contributed to this report from Washington.

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Follow Mead Gruver at https://twitter.com/meadgruver

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