CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Republican mega-donor Foster Friess has decided not to run for an open U.S. Senate seat in Wyoming.
Doing so would shift focus away from his ongoing efforts to promote government spending transparency, school safety and other issues he feels are important, Friess said Monday.
“I believe my most significant opportunity to serve the people of Wyoming is by enlarging the efforts of Foster’s Outriders,” Friess said in a release, referring to his political and civic advocacy organization.
Friess, 79, is a wealthy investor and philanthropist from Jackson Hole who has donated millions to Republicans and conservative causes. He reached his decision after a “listening tour” of Wyoming that included stops in Casper and Cheyenne.
After decades as a behind-the-curtain force in politics, Friess finished second in a six-way Republican gubernatorial primary in 2018. Former State Treasurer Mark Gordon won with 33% and was elected governor by a wide margin that fall.
Friess’ decision continues to leave former U.S. Rep. Cynthia Lummis the only prominent Republican running to replace U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi, who plans to retire after four terms. Six other Republicans and Democrats are running, none with statewide name recognition.
Lummis announced her campaign last summer. Friess’ wealth, organization and connections would have been a formidable challenge for Lummis had he run.
In a statement, Lummis called Friess and his wife, Lynn, friends and wished them well.
“Foster Friess has been an incredible champion for conservative causes, including many important to the people of Wyoming,” Lummis said.
U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney ended months of speculation by announcing in January she wouldn’t run for Senate. Other Republicans who’ve ruled out a run include popular two-term Gov. Matt Mead, who left office in 2019.
Follow Mead Gruver at https://twitter.com/meadgruver