Libertarian Republican Erik Prince is strongly considering a run against incumbent Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), according a report by the New York Times.
Barrasso is a fairly average Republican Senator, voting consistently with his party leadership, and is said to be close to Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY). Barrasso currently serves as the Chair of the Senate Environment Committee.
Prince has reportedly travelled to Wyoming with his family in order to seek residency there. Prince had previously resided in the state during the 1990s and early 2000s, according to public records.
Prince is a former Navy SEAL and a successful businessman, having made his considerable fortune in the private security industry, with his company Academi. Along with Bannon and Jared Kushner, he urged the Trump administration against increasing the presence of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, but his alternative proposal was quickly dismissed by the Secretary of Defense, James Mattis, and the National Security Advisor, H.R. McMaster, both of whom previously served as generals in the U.S. military. He also was involved in attempts by the United Arab Emirates to mediate in the currently tenuous relationship between the United States and Russia, which Prince seeks to improve.
He is expected to receive the backing of former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon as well as billionaire megadonor Rebekah Mercer and her father, Robert, all of whom are urging him to run. Prince’s sister, Betsy DeVos, is the serving Secretary of Education in the Trump administration, and Prince has reportedly signalled his intent to run to DeVos. DeVos’s husband, Dick, is another prominent Republican megadonor.
In 2012, Prince supported libertarian icon Ron Paul’s unsuccessful presidential run, and self-describes as libertarian. He had previously backed Pat Buchanan, a prominent paleoconservative, for President in 1992. He also worked as an intern in the George H.W. Bush administration, which he subsequently criticized for its abandonment of conservative principles in favor of big government policies.