Our View: Leave this state out of Bannon's war
October 25, 2017
Many of our readers have likely heard about a couple of potential challengers to Sen. John Barrasso in the coming election year. While we’re in favor of residents seeking public office to serve their city, county or state; we cannot support what either of these potential challengers would bring to Wyoming.
For those unaware, reports have surfaced in the past few weeks regarding former presidential advisor and head of far-right news outlet Breitbart News, Steve Bannon, targeting Barrasso’s seat in Wyoming as part of what he’s calling a “season of war” against the GOP establishment in Washington. Barrasso is one of many GOP politicians Bannon claims is not loyal to President Donald Trump and the conservative agenda. Reports from Wyofile.com state Bannon has approached Erik Prince, a former Navy SEAL and founder of government contracting firm Blackwater USA. Prince, during in an interview with Breitbart, said he thinks Barrasso is a nice person, but believes Wyoming’s strong Republican voter base should be served by “the most rock-ribbed conservative” who will lead the charge on implementing conservative ideals and not “going along to get along.”
The issue we have Prince’s potential campaign is his focus isn’t on Wyoming’s residents, but on pushing a nationally-focused conservative agenda. This alone should give Wyoming voters some pause as the needs of the state may easily take a backseat to whatever issue is being championed by the right, regardless of its impact on Wyoming. Wyoming could easily become a soapbox for Prince and Bannon.
The second potential candidate, Foster Friess, has a residence in Teton County and is well known for his philanthropy, but also has some hurdles to clear should he decide to run. One of which being the issue that reportedly Bannon contacted him for a potential race.
Speaking with Wyofile.com, former Governor Dave Freudenthal said anyone wanting to run for office in Wyoming should be motivated by issues affecting the state, not because someone outside the state asked them to run. We agree with Freudenthal’s assessment and fear a campaign funded and influenced by outside interests would only be toxic for not just the political landscape in Wyoming, but the state as a whole. Someone not motivated by Wyoming’s unique challenges would not serve the state or its residents.
In the end, we think even the most rock-ribbed conservative should be motivated by what’s happening in their backyard, not issues trumpeted by those trying to push their influence in Washington, D.C.