Wyoming Sen. Mike Enzi, the subject of retirement speculation for months, will reveal his re-election decision this Saturday over a few pints of root beer:
The Wyoming Republican, 64, will make the announcement at 10 a.m. at city hall in his hometown of Gillette, where he served as mayor. He and wife Diana then will host an ice cream social with root beer floats.
Enzi’s silence about his political future has led to speculation that he may consider not running again. His relatively slower fundraising pace, plus his anger over decisions by Republican leaders to twice deny him a committee assignment that by seniority should have been his, led to questions about the prospect of his retirement.
Enzi will make the announcement in just one city, not launch his campaign with multiple stops around the state. When Enzi announced his first Senate campaign in April 1996 and his re-election bid in March 2002, he held events in Casper.
That could be taken as an indicator he might retire — but like the fundraising totals, is not a definitive sign, said Nathan Gonzales, political editor of the nonpartisan Rothenberg Political Report, which analyzes national races.
“It always seems to me that races start a little later in Wyoming, and someone like Sen. Enzi is probably not anxious to raise a lot of money he’s not going to need,” Gonzales said.
“Unless you’re his immediate family, you’re probably in the dark on this one,” he added.
There has also been some speculation that Enzi might take the unusual step of trading terms with Sen. John Barrasso, letting Barrasso run for a full six-year term, while Enzi would run to fill the remaining four years of the late Sen. Craig Thomas’ term. This move would allow Enzi to make his retirement in 2012 instead of 2014. We’ll see.