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Flirting with a Senate run, Foster Friess to kick off 'listening tour' of Wyoming
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Flirting with a Senate run, Foster Friess to kick off 'listening tour' of Wyoming

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Foster Friess

Foster Friess speaks to supporters while conceding the GOP nomination for Wyoming governor to Mark Gordon on Aug. 21, 2018, in Casper.

Cynthia Lummis could have some company in her bid for the U.S. Senate this summer.

After hinting heavily at the prospect of a U.S. Senate run throughout the second half of 2019, GOP financier Foster Friess — who finished second in the 2018 Republican primaries in a bid for the governor’s seat — announced he will crisscross the state on a “listening tour” to gather Wyoming residents’ thoughts on what he “can bring to the table in representing the needs of our citizens.”

The announcement comes one day after Rep. Liz Cheney — who was heavily weighing a Senate bid of her own — announced her intention to run for reelection instead.

Friess, who has remained active as a pundit on Fox Business and with his conservative advocacy group, Foster’s Outriders, boasts considerable credentials in national conservative politics, both as a commentator as well as a benefactor for influential groups like Turning Point USA and the conservative news site The Daily Caller.

Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney will not run for Senate

In 2018, he led a surprise, self-funded campaign for the governorship, storming to second place after millions of dollars spent and a meteoric rise through the polls only to fall short to eventual winner Mark Gordon.

In a statement Friday, Friess — who has refrained from making a concrete commitment to a Senate run — appeared to be taking the prospect seriously, as he seemed to draw a direct contrast between himself and fellow conservative Lummis, who has served most of her life in public office.

“I’ll be asking Wyoming voters what they are looking for in their next Senator,” he said in his statement. “Do they want a businessman and political outsider willing to disrupt the status quo in Washington?”

Cynthia Lummis bets Senate campaign on alignment with President Trump

Since Cheney dropped out of the conversation for U.S. Senate, Lummis — who has focused her campaign on border security and close ties to President Donald Trump — has already garnered significant amounts of support from the conservative establishment, netting several endorsements from influential groups like the Club For Growth and the Senate Conservatives Fund, both of whom have already solicited their members to donate to Lummis’ campaign.

However, Friess, whom Trump endorsed in the 2018 election, could be formidable, maintaining a sizable national support network and a near-unparalleled capacity to finance his own campaign.

With the Aug. 18 primary far off and with experience entering races late — he entered 2018’s contest in April, months after his peers — Friess has plenty of time to feel out the competition.

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Politics Reporter

Nick Reynolds covers state politics and policy. A native of Central New York, he has spent his career covering governments big and small, and several Congressional campaigns. He graduated from the State University of New York at Brockport in 2015.

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