Wyoming GOP Senator Mike Enzi Won't Run Again, Opening Seat

(Bloomberg) -- Republican Senator Mike Enzi, chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, will not run for re-election in 2020, giving Wyoming an open Senate seat for the first time in more than a decade.

Enzi, first elected in 1996, announced on Saturday in his hometown of Gillette that he’ll not run for a fifth term. In a series of Twitter posts, the senator said he wants to focus on policy priorities for the remainder of his term and also spend time with his grandchildren, not run another campaign.

Enzi’s seat is likely to remain in Republican hands in a deep-red state won by Donald Trump by almost 46 percentage points. Potential replacements for Enzi could include Republican Representative Liz Cheney, who ran against him in the 2014 primary.

The sparsely populated western state has only one House seat; before Cheney it was represented by Cynthia Lummis, who has not run for office since leaving Washington but who at one point was talked about as a possible Secretary of the Interior.

Cheney, the elder daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney who’s now the third ranking House Republican, praised Enzi in a statement on Saturday.

“For more than four decades, Mike Enzi has devoted himself to serving our state and the country,” Cheney said in a statement on Saturday. “He never forgot where he came from and always put the interests of Wyoming first, constantly championing our Western way of life.”

Fellow Wyoming Senator John Barrasso said Enzi “never wavered in his commitment to God, family or Wyoming.”

Enzi’s voting record largely fell in line with his fellow Republicans including opposing abortion rights and restrictions on guns. In 2016, he proposed a “Penny Plan” to cut the federal budget 1 percent annually until it is balanced.

Enzi also serves on the Senate Finance Committee and chairs the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Subcommittee on Primary Health and Retirement Security. Before coming to Washington, Enzi served in both chambers of the Wyoming state legislature, and was mayor of his home town for two terms.

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