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Entries in Wyoming (6)

Friday
Jul192013

Is Going Negative the Right Strategy for Liz Cheney? 

Tom Williams/Roll Call/Getty Images(CHENYENNE, Wyo.) -- This week Liz Cheney started her Wyoming Senate bid with what some might consider an insult. Cheney, a Republican, called her GOP rival, Sen. Mike Enzi, "just confused" at her very first campaign event.

She was referring to Enzi's contention that she had promised him not to run if he did.

An obviously surprised Enzi said after her announcement Tuesday, "I thought we were friends."

The dig is a clear hit at his age: Enzi is 69 while Cheney is 46. But in a Republican vs. Republican match-up, is it the right move to go mean at the starting line?

Ron Bonjean, a GOP strategist with family ties in the state, says it's the wrong move.

"Going after him and tearing him down will actually splash mud back onto Liz Cheney," Bonjean said in an interview with ABC News. "It's bad form and it's bad politics in a state like Wyoming to go after a senator with high approval ratings in a way that is tearing him down."

Bonjean added, "You want to engage the hug-the-opposition strategy."

By that, Bonjean means Cheney should have employed what some have called the "gold watch strategy," praising your fellow Republican and hoping they get the hint and move on to greener pastures.

Bonjean says she should have said something more like this, "'We love Senator Enzi, he's done a great job, but it's time for a new chapter. We appreciate his leadership and thank him for it, but it's time for him to move along so that there can be new leadership for the new problems we are facing.'"

Cheney's opening salvo was a sudden departure from her announcement video in which she did not specifically mention Enzi at all. Instead her main focus was on the president and how she would be a strong voice of opposition. She did manage a veiled shot at Enzi and his reputation for negotiating, saying, "Instead of cutting deals with the president's liberal allies, we should be opposing them every step of the way."

James King, chairman of the political science department at the University of Wyoming, pointed out that since Cheney is not challenging someone who is an "unpopular incumbent," she does need to "do something to distinguish herself" and that's exactly what she's doing.

"She has to make a contrast somehow and obviously she has decided on age and thinking that Wyoming wants someone more confrontational with the Obama administration," King said.

Cheney's attempt to point out the generational differences is not without precedent. Newark mayor Cory Booker announced his decision to run for the U.S. Senate seat in New Jersey before the 89-year-old Frank Lautenberg had announced his own intentions.

The move didn't immediately push Lautenberg out, but it did anger him. He told reporters that Booker deserved a "spanking" for his behavior. Lautenberg did eventually announce plans to retire and then in June passed away. Those hard feelings didn't go away; his family backed Democratic rival Rep. Frank Pallone earlier this month.

Other candidates have found different ways to try and nudge older incumbents out of a race. In 1996, Slate reported that Strom Thurmond's GOP Senate primary challenger in South Carolina, Elliot Close, aired an ad called "Legacy," praising the 95-year-old senator and aiming to give voters permission to vote Thurmond out in favor of a younger candidate. It didn't work, and Thurmond won.

Almost as soon as Cheney announced her intentions on Tuesday, the National Republican Senatorial Committee made it clear it would be backing Enzi, supporting the incumbent as it traditionally does and noting it would provide back up to Enzi if necessary.

Brian Walsh, former spokesperson for the NRSC and current GOP strategist, said Cheney has to be "very careful" when it comes to criticizing Enzi and using "code words" as she did this week.

"You have to be careful, especially in a small state where everyone knows each other," Walsh said. "Senator Enzi is still well-liked in Wyoming, and in a small state if the vast majority of voters have met and feel like they know him, it becomes much more personal."

Wyoming is the least populous state in the nation with about 576,000 residents. According to the Wyoming Secretary of State's office, as of this month there are 166,643 Republicans and 53,301 Democrats in the state; 36,491 voters are registered as unaffiliated or as Libertarian or Constitution Party members.

Wyoming also allows voters to change their party registration on Election Day, which would allow Democrats to cross over and vote for Enzi, possibly just to be able to vote against a member of the Cheney family.

Cheney, with the help of her famous father, will no doubt be a formidable fundraiser, a potential problem for Enzi who has admitted his weakness raising money. In the three previous races, where he has sailed to victory, he has only spent a total of $4.2 million.

But, in a state so spread out, with such small urban centers, money isn't everything and the University of Wyoming's King warned that blanketing the airwaves runs the risk of alienating voters or "overexposure."

"There is that risk if you become consistently and frequently negative you create in essence a sympathy vote," King said. "You can't go about advertising with a lot of money in Wyoming the same way you would in a lot of states."

Cheney moved to Wyoming last year and has been making the rounds at GOP dinners and fundraisers. Her father was the state's at-large congressman and her family has called the state home for generations, but she has spent most of her adulthood in Washington, D.C., and Northern Virginia. She was clearly hoping with her movements in the state and now with her candidacy that it would be enough to push Enzi into retirement.

But, it doesn't look as if Enzi will go quietly. Thursday he released a statement saying in clear terms that he intends to run for reelection.

"Wyoming people don't like long campaigns," Enzi said foreshadowing what is likely to be a bloody GOP primary fight. "When the time comes, I am confident the people of Wyoming will vote for my results, dedication, legislative experience and hard work for the state."

He also thanked supporters for the "many calls and emails my family and I have received in the last few days."

"So many people are telling us they remain committed to me and will do whatever they can to see that I can continue to faithfully represent them," he wrote, adding that he will "continue to do what is right," which includes treating "others as they expect to be treated."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jul132012

Dick Cheney Says Romney Best Suited to Handle 9/11-Like Attack

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images(WILSON, Wyo.) -- Former Vice President Dick Cheney sought to bolster Mitt Romney’s foreign policy credibility Thursday evening during a high-dollar fundraiser at which he said the presumptive GOP nominee would be best suited to handle a terrorist attack as severe as 9/11.

“There is one other credential that I care a lot about, and I have learned over the years in all those administrations that there is always, sooner or later, a crisis that’s totally unanticipated,” said Cheney.  “You can’t plan on it.  You don’t know what it’s going to be.  You go through the campaigns and study the history books and talk to the experts.  Sooner or later, there is going to be a big surprise -- usually a very unpleasant one.”

Cheney said that when he thinks about the kind of leader he wants to handle “life-and-death” decisions in that sort of situation, he thinks of Romney.

“Whether its 9/11 or the other kinds of difficulties or crises that arrive, they always do,” said Cheney.  “And that’s when you really find out what kind of leader your president is.  And I’m convinced that, in addition to all of these other qualifications that you all know about, when I think about the kind of individual I want in the Oval Office in that moment of crisis who has to make those key decisions, some of them life-and-death decisions, some of them decisions as the commander-in-chief who has the responsibility of sending our young men and women into harm’s way -- that man is Mitt Romney.”

The fundraiser, which was expected to raise more than $4 million, was co-hosted by Cheney and his wife, Lynne, who hosted a more exclusive dinner for the highest-dollar donors later in the evening at their nearby home.

Held at a country club in Wyoming where attendees were ushered between events in golf carts in the shadows of the Teton Mountains, Cheney’s remarks came just more than a week before Romney will set off on the first foreign trip of his candidacy.

This is the first event at which Cheney and Romney have appeared together, and it was closed to television cameras.

During the event, Romney did not mention Bain Capital on a day that political news was dominated by questions regarding when exactly he left the private equity firm and whether that date was accurately reported.  He instead mocked President Obama for saying that his biggest mistake during his presidency was not telling more stories about his vision for America.

“He was asked what his biggest mistake was in his three-and-a-half years.  I have a long list for him,” said Romney, referring to an interview Obama did on Thursday with CBS News’ Charlie Rose.  “I mean, I just went through a few related to his domestic policy, but his foreign policy mistakes may be even longer lasting in their negative impact on the country."

“What was his answer as to his biggest mistake?  Not telling stories to the American people about his vision,” said Romney.  “That was his biggest mistake.  Oh really?  Really?  Look, look, he’s out of touch, he’s out of excuses, he’s out of ideas and we’ve got to make sure in November we put him out of office.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jul122012

Romney, Supporters Headed to Fundraiser at Cheney’s Wyoming Retreat

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Mitt Romney is heading to Jackson Hole, Wyo., on Thursday for a fundraiser hosted by a former VP, Dick Cheney (and wife Lynn). It’s the first time Gov. Romney and the former vice president will appear together in public.

Like any fundraiser, there are different levels for donors and therefore access to the presumptive GOP nominee, as well as Cheney. The main event is at the beautiful Teton Pines Country Club, with its sweeping views of the Teton Mountains. The minimum donation for the general reception is $2,500 per person. For those who donate $50,000 or $100,000 per couple, they will not only get to have dinner with Cheney and Romney but are also invited to the host committee reception and will become a Founding Member of Romney Victory. For $5,000 each, an attendee is invited to a photo reception with the two. For those who’d like dinner, that’s $30,000 apiece, $60,000 per couple.

The Cheneys aren’t the only hosts: Cheney friends Dick and Maggie Scarlett and Allan and Frances Tessler. Dick Scarlett is chairman and CEO of United Bancorporation of Wyoming. Allan Tessler is the former CEO of Data Broadcasting Corporation as well as a venture capitalist. Cheney’s daughter Liz will also attend, as will Bob Grady, a venture capitalist and investment banker based in Jackson Hole.

Other notable attendees are Lynn Friess and Steve Friess, wife and son of former mutual fund manager Foster Friess, who bankrolled Rick Santorum’s superPAC during the primary, The Red, White, and Blue Fund. Despite being a Jackson Hole resident, the Friesses are not hosting the event and Foster cannot attend because he’s traveling to the East Coast, according to his spokesperson Matthew Taylor.

This should not be interpreted as not supporting the presumptive GOP nominee, though.  Taylor said the Friesses have maxed out the federal election contribution amount to the joint Romney-RNC Victory Fund, $75,000 each. That’s not all: Taylor also told ABC News Friess made a six-figure contribution to the pro-Romney superPAC Restore our Future last month. Taylor would not narrow down the amount from six figures. The Federal Election Committee filing will reveal the full amount later this month.

The Romney campaign beat the Obama campaign in fundraising for the second month in a row last month, besting them by $35 million. Romney raised $106 million in June to Obama’s $71 million; Obama has had a schedule filled with fundraisers as well as the countdown to November continues.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jul122012

Dick Cheney to Host Romney at Wyoming Fundraiser

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Mitt Romney is heading to Jackson Hole, Wyo., on Thursday for another high-dollar fundraiser.  But this isn’t just with Wall Street executives or those vying to be his running mate.

Instead, the fundraiser will be hosted by former Vice President Dick Cheney, and those coughing up $30,000 each to dine with Cheney and his wife, Lynn, at their Jackson Hole residence, according to the invitation.

The event is also hosted by Cheney's friends Dick and Maggie Scarlett, and Allan and Frances Tessler.  Dick Scarlett is chairman and CEO of United Bancorporation of Wyoming.  Allan Tessler is the former CEO of Data Broadcasting Corporation as well as a venture capitalist.  Cheney’s daughter Liz will also attend.

Sources familiar with the planning of the event said they originally expected 50 couples, but now have about 230 couples attending.  Although the fundraiser is completely different from Romney’s Utah confab earlier this month, this event is also attracting donors from all over the country who want to make a trip out of it.  The Grand Teton Music Festival, a classical music festival, is also going on in Jackson Hole.

Like most Romney and Republican National Committee joint fundraisers, there are different levels for donors and therefore access to the presumptive GOP nominee, as well as Cheney.  The main event is at the Teton Pines Country Club.  The minimum donation for the general reception is $2,500 per person.

For those who donate $50,000 or $100,000 per couple, they will not only get to have dinner with Cheney and Romney but will also be invited to the host committee reception and will become a Founding Member of Romney Victory.  For $5,000 each, an attendee is invited to a photo reception with the two.

Romney has not appeared in public with Cheney during the campaign nor with President George W. Bush.  He did meet with President H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush in Houston in March, and Mrs. Bush even recorded robo-calls for Romney during the primary.

Another notable attendee is Lynn Friess, wife of former mutual fund manager Foster Friess, who bankrolled Rick Santorum’s superPAC during the primary, The Red, White, and Blue Fund.  Despite being a Jackson Hole resident, the Friesses are not hosting the event and Foster cannot attend because he’s traveling to the East Coast, according to his spokesperson.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Feb292012

Mitt Romney Wins Wyoming Caucus Vote

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(CHEYENNE, Wyo.) -- Mitt Romney has won Wyoming’s presidential caucus vote, a series of county straw polls that took place over the last three weeks.

With 39 percent, Romney finished ahead of Rick Santorum (32 percent), Newt Gingrich (21 percent) and Ron Paul (8 percent). The Wyoming GOP released the final results Wednesday night.

Like Iowa’s presidential caucus vote, Wyoming’s is not binding and will in no way affect the state’s 29 delegates.

Wyoming’s caucuses, however, took place over the better part of a month: Counties were allowed to hold their precinct caucuses over a wide range of time, and the first county voted on Feb. 9. If Iowa’s caucuses rendered a snapshot of public sentiment in that state, Wyoming has supplied a pinhole exposure.

More media attention will likely be paid to Wyoming’s county conventions, held March 6-10, which will directly elect 12 delegates to the Republican National Convention, and to its April state convention, which will elect another 14 delegates. None of those delegates will be allocated (or “bound”) to any presidential candidate, though each will have to announce support for a particular candidate or “undecided.”

Only 2,108 total votes were cast in Wyoming’s precinct caucuses -- far fewer than were recorded in any state’s GOP primary or caucus so far. Nevada, the next smallest event, saw more than 30,000 Republican votes.

Also like in Iowa, the precinct caucuses served another function, besides recording a presidential-preference vote: electing delegates to Wyoming’s later conventions. If Romney’s win Wednesday night is any indication, he’ll receive more backing than his competitors from Wyoming’s unbound national delegates at the GOP convention in Tampa, Fla., this August.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Oct092010

Barrasso Criticizes Dems 'Broken Promises' in GOP Address

Photo Courtesy - Office of Sen. John Barrasso(WASHINGTON) -- Republican Sen. John Barrasso, of Wyoming, cited Friday’s worse-than-expected unemployment report as evidence that Democrats have broken their promises on job creation.

“48 states have lost jobs,” Barrasso said in the weekly GOP address. “Friday's job numbers confirm that far too many Americans are still looking for work.”

The jobs report was the final major economic indicator before the midterm elections.

 “If you are tired of Washington’s broken promises, you now have a choice,” he said. “More of the same or a new direction.”

Employers cut 95,000 jobs in September, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The private sector added 64,000 jobs, while the government sector shed 159,000 workers.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio







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