CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Two strong incumbents, U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi and U.S. Rep. Cynthia Lummis, face perhaps their biggest challenges this election year as they compete with lesser-known challengers in Wyoming's Republican primary Tuesday.
Retired U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Bryan Miller, of Sheridan, is contesting Enzi's bid for a fourth term. Also seeking the Republican Senate nomination are self-described soldier of fortune Thomas Bleming of Lusk, oil company worker Arthur Bruce Clifton of Cheyenne and James Gregory of Jackson.
Enzi, 70, said he's running again because his seniority on several Senate committees serves Wyoming's interests. He has campaigned on priorities that include simplifying the tax code.
Enzi's most serious challenger had been Liz Cheney, the elder daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney. But Liz Cheney had difficulty getting mainstream Republicans to back her candidacy and, citing family health issues, dropped out of the race in January.
Miller, 48, a political newcomer like Cheney, is a former presidential advance agent for Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. He's now a self-employed business consultant. Miller said that if elected, he would push to give federal lawmakers greater power to review regulations enacted by federal agencies.
The Democratic U.S. Senate candidates are former Roman Catholic priest Charlie Hardy of Cheyenne, contracting company worker Rex Wilde of Cheyenne, Al Hamburg of Torrington, and William Bryk of Brooklyn, New York. In recent years, Bryk has entered several races in several states and is on Tuesday's primary ballot in Alaska as well. He registered for Wyoming's other Senate seat in 2012.
Hardy, the only candidate in the Democratic race to campaign extensively, said he's running because too many Wyoming families are living in poverty. He said he's been accepting contributions, but he hasn't been fundraising vigorously.
Lummis, who is seeking a fourth term, faces Jason Senteney, 36, a corrections officer and volunteer firefighter from Torrington who said he wants to speak for the working class.
Lummis, 59, said she needs to return to Washington so she can continue to protect Wyoming's interests against what she calls federal overreach on issues like endangered species and water.
Richard Grayson of Apache Junction, Arizona, is the only Democratic candidate for Wyoming's lone U.S. House seat and hasn't been campaigning in the state.