SHERIDAN — Less than a year remains until the election for a variety of statewide offices — including governor, secretary of state, treasurer, auditor and superintendent of public instruction — and two of Wyoming’s three seats in U.S. Congress.
Yoder resident Jason Senteney is challenging incumbent Rep. Cynthia Lummis for her Republican seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Liz Cheney, daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, is challenging three-term incumbent Sen. Mike Enzi for his Republican seat in the U.S. Senate. For that contested position, campaigning has already begun to heat up, and both candidates recently announced local representatives for their campaign teams in Sheridan County.
Cheney’s leadership team in Sheridan County will be headed by Ptolemy Data Systems President and Chief Executive Officer Ryan Mulholland, who was listed as the only team member in a recent press release.
Enzi’s Sheridan County campaign team will be co-chaired by attorney Harlan Rasmussen, of Attorneys at Law of Wyoming, and his wife, Sharon. Additional team members include Mary Kay Love, Marilyn and Bob Koester, Ky and Tom Dixon, Rosemary Schunk, Ed and Nina Loring, Steve and Edre Maier, Bernice Marshall, Ed Neeriemer, John and Virginia Patton, Seymour Thickman, Rex and Nickie Arney, Wendy and Ed Gnehm, and Rosie and Bob Berger.
Just as the two Senate candidates are different, their campaigns are likely to be diverse, as well.
“We probably will be outspent, but we won’t be outworked,” Harlan Rasmussen said.
As of Sept. 30, Enzi’s campaign had raised $1,183,516, according to Federal Election Commission statistics. Most of the funds have come from other committee contributions and , with approximately $287,000 coming from individual donations.
Cheney had raised $1,027,569 by Sept. 30, with a majority ($993,226) of the funds coming from individual contributions. Cheney has contributed nearly $34,000 of her own funds to the campaign, according to Federal Election Commission statistics.
Mulholland said he chose to represent Cheney because he feels Washington politics have run counter to Wyoming interests for many years and aggressive change is needed.
“In Wyoming, our Senate seats are the ‘great equalizer.’ We have as much voice in the Senate as any other State in the Union — making it ever more important that our representatives in the Senate aggressively work to defend Wyoming and the interests of her people,” Mulholland said.
Mulholland said he disagrees with Enzi’s nice-guy approach of crafting legislation across the aisle.
“Senator Enzi has said that he reached across the aisle to Ted Kennedy ‘to get things done.’ He says he agrees with 80 percent of what the Democrats stand for, and that he doesn’t let the 20 percent of what they disagree on to get in the way of making a deal. I respectfully disagree,” Mulholland said. “There is a radical leftist agenda in Washington, and we need someone who will stand up to it. I, and many others, do not find 80 percent common ground with Ted Kennedy.”
Rasmussen said he and his wife have been friends with Enzi and his wife Diana since high school. They have followed Enzi’s political career for decades and support him for two main reasons: his long history of effective legislation and his foundational philosophy of minimal government.
“He is an effective legislator,” Rasmussen said, noting that Enzi likely has more presidential signature pens that he’s received as a sponsor on bills than any other senator.
Rasmussen also said he appreciates Enzi’s efforts to read the fine print and anticipate what legislation may mean for the American people.
“We need people like Sen. Enzi looking at details and finding out through working with the Democratic Party what is good legislation and what isn’t,” Rasmussen said.
Key issues Rasmussen believes Enzi will work on during the campaign months are the Affordable Care Act and the national debt. He said Enzi has proposed bite-sized plans to address both issues. Enzi has introduced legislation with a 10-step process to address healthcare and a “Penny Plan” to address the national debt in separate bills that will allow debate on individual issues rather than trying to argue one big piece of legislation.
“You don’t get good legislation when you say ‘take it or leave it.’ It should be done on a smaller, incremental level,” Rasmussen said.
Mulholland said Cheney will likely focus on the “war on coal,” protecting agriculture, defending against the damaging effects of Obamacare and reducing government intrusion in the lives of Americans and Wyomingites.
“Liz has dedicated herself to focusing on these critical issues and aggressively working to course correct,” Mulholland said.
Mulholland said Cheney will be aggressive and up-front in her fights by working to roll back the authority of federal agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency.
Both Rasmussen and Mulholland said there is no fundraising goal for their candidates in Sheridan County.
Rasmussen said Enzi will campaign much as he has in the past with ice cream socials, town meetings and knocking on as many doors as he can, emphasizing his years of experience and his longstanding Wyoming ties.
Mulholland said Cheney will also try to make numerous local appearances through meet and greets where people can meet Liz, hear her message and ask her their tough questions. He said Cheney knows it is important to ask each person individually for their vote.
To learn more about Enzi and Cheney, check out the candidate’s websites at: enzi.senate.gov and cheneyforwyoming.com. Both candidates also have Facebook pages. Mulholland said anyone wishing to join the Cheney team locally can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.