CHEYENNE – A Wyoming Republican who worked in the George H.W. Bush White House and who advised former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is exploring a run at federal office in the Equality State.
Bob Grady announced Friday he would start exploring a potential run for federal office since Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., is set to retire when his term expires in 2021. Grady has a long history with national and state Republicans, serving on Bush’s 1988 presidential campaign as senior policy adviser and speechwriter, and in the White House as a high-ranking official in the Office of Management and Budget.
The native New Jerseyan also was a close confidant of Christie during his tenure as governor, and was the former chairman of the New Jersey State Investment Council.
Since relocating to Wyoming with his wife, who is a native Wyomingite, Grady has worked in private equity, and served on volunteer boards, including as the immediate past chairman of the St. John’s Hospital Foundation and as a member of the Investment Committee of the Community Foundation of Jackson Hole. He also served as an economic adviser to former Gov. Matt Mead and was formerly the finance chairman of the Wyoming Republican Party.
Grady said Enzi’s decision to retire led him to explore a potential run. But he didn’t know if that would be for that open U.S. Senate or an open House of Representatives seat if current Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., decides to run for Enzi’s seat.
“Our federal delegation has been so wonderful,” Grady said. “But because Sen. Enzi is retiring, some seat will be semi-open or open, and I’m at least going to begin the work of doing research and going across the state.”
Cheney isn’t the only Republican eyeing a potential run at Enzi’s seat. Former U.S. Rep. Cynthia Lummis has been weighing a potential run in 2020, and former gubernatorial candidate and Republican mega-donor Foster Friess could decide to take another shot at statewide office.
Grady said he’s been friends with Cheney since the 1980s, and goes back with Lummis at least two decades, as well. He praised both of them in glowing terms. While he hasn’t talked to either of them about their plans for the 2020 election, he said his first concern would be going across Wyoming to test the waters and make sure he was well versed in the issues facing Wyomingites on a daily basis.
Grady already has some heavy hitters getting behind a potential run for federal office. A press release announcing his exploration included contact information for the CEO of the high-powered Washington, D.C., political firm Jamestown Associates, the lead ad makers for President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, and Bill Stepien, the former director of political affairs for the Trump White House.
While he’s had a successful life in private business, Grady said he’s a strong believer in public service. He pointed to the influence of his dad, who served on the city council and mayor of the town Grady grew up in, and to President Bush’s belief that a successful life was a life in service to others.
Grady said his family was in a position for him to return to public life, and he said he was concerned about the policies being floated by Democrats.
“Some of the ideas floating around the country will cost us jobs, just as the policies under President Obama did for the energy industry,” Grady said. “The country is at a bit of a crossroads. Just look at the (Democratic Party) debates the last two nights and those proposals coming from them.”
Grady said there is no timeline for him to make a decision on whether he will run for any office. He first wanted to do outreach across Wyoming and talk to people about his background in government and in the private sector.