Conservative mega-donor Foster Friess is weighing a 2018 primary challenge against Republican establishment incumbent Sen. John Barrasso in Wyoming’s U.S. Senate race.
Robert Costa reports in the Washington Post:
“Normally, over the years, I’ve dismissed these urgings,” Friess said in an email to The Washington Post. “But due to the stature of the people requesting, I sense a responsibility to prayerfully explore the possibility.”
Friess added that he is partly motivated by his concerns about the nation’s health-care system and his desire to see health-care providers “publish prices.” Those concerns, he said in the email, “might be enhanced by a position in the Senate.”
Friess, 77, did not specify who has encouraged him to run, but a person close to former White House chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon said the two men have had conversations in recent days.
Bannon, who chairs Breitbart News, is a close ally of wealthy hedge-fund executive Robert Mercer and his daughter Rebekah, who are focused on funding a slate of primary challengers. Bannon and the Mercers see Friess as a potential high-profile recruit to their cause to upend the Republican establishment in Congress.
News of Friess’ potential Senate run comes on the heels of reports that former Navy SEAL officer and CEO of Blackwater Erik Prince is also considering a bid for Barrasso’s Wyoming Senate seat. Prince, like Friess, also reportedly received encouragement from former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon to challenge Barrasso, who is a member of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s Republican leadership team.