A former adviser to President George H.W. Bush will be exploring a potential campaign to fill the seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Mike Enzi, his campaign announced Friday.
Republican Robert Grady is also exploring a possible House run should Rep. Liz Cheney decide to seek the Senate seat, which has been rumored.
Grady, a former economic policy adviser to Gov. Matt Mead, joins a growing field of well-established names considering a 2020 Senate run, including Cynthia Lummis and GOP megadonor Foster Friess. Cheney’s name has also been floated, though she has not announced any plans to run.
A key adviser in the Mead administration, Grady also served as in the George H.W. Bush White House as a key policy adviser and served as the former president’s speechwriter on his 1988 campaign.
He is now a private equity executive based in Jackson.
“Senator Enzi has served the people of Wyoming with great skill and wonderful common sense for these past two decades, and all of us are grateful for his service,” Grady said in a statement. “His retirement now creates the certainty that there will be an open seat in Wyoming’s Congressional delegation. With the country at an important crossroads in 2020, and as a tax-cutting conservative, I look forward to visiting with friends from across the state to hear their concerns and listen to their hopes for Wyoming’s future as I explore pursuing this opportunity.”
His campaign was announced in a joint press release by staffers with high-profile public relations firms in Salt Lake City and Washington, D.C. The release also included contact information with an associate with Jamestown Associates, a powerful Washington consulting firm commonly associated with successful Republican campaigns.
The question of whether he decides to run, he told the Star-Tribune in an interview Friday, will be contingent on a number of factors, including which seats are actually available. If Cheney were to declare a run for the Senate, for example, Grady could conceivably choose to run for the House instead, while having still taken time to establish name recognition with voters around the state prior to announcing his campaign.
“I were to run, I’ll be taking in all factors: what the field looks like, what the state needs, what seats are open, there’s a number of things that go into it,” said Grady.
In recent years, Grady has stayed connected and has served on the periphery of numerous other political campaigns. In a 2015 interview with the Jackson Hole News&Guide, he said he has most recently been involved as an adviser to California governors Pete Wilson and Arnold Schwarzenegger, as well as “sort of a pro bono policy advisor” to his childhood friend, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, both as governor and in his recent bid for the presidency.
After the 2016 election, Grady was also floated by several sources in national press accounts as a candidate for a cabinet position in the Trump administration, later turning it down after his firm — Gryphon Investments — raised its largest-ever fund. However, Grady said he’s now ready to consider a return to public life.
“Well, I’ve gotten a little older, and you have to pick what’s right for the time in your life,” said Grady. “Then, I was working at a time where the firm I was with had raised a new fund, and I was very focused on that and certainly, it’s a better time now for me to take a pause, and explore running.”
In Jackson Hole, Grady has served on the boards of numerous charitable organizations and has been a key voice in promoting technology as a tool for economic diversification in the Cowboy State.
While it is too early in the conversation to discuss specific policy proposals, he said, Grady pointed to his legacy in state and national politics as an indicator of what to expect should he formally declare a bid for the Senate.
“As a general matter, if you look at my track record over a number of years, I’ve favored pro-growth policies: cutting taxes, keeping a lid on regulation, things that spur economic growth and job creation,” he said.
“I think the most important thing moving forward is creating jobs for the people of Wyoming,” he added. “I’m of the view that socialism is not a good thing, and I’ve been a conservative my whole life and will continue to advocate for the conservative agenda I’ve had my whole life.”