Cynthia Lummis, a Bull-Coaxing Conservative, Heads to the Senate

And her campaign website bragged about an A+ rating from the National Rifle Association.


“She’s going to be a conservative voice and she’s tenacious, as you would expect from someone who is elected from Wyoming,” says Senator John Barrasso, a Republican and the state’s senior senator, who serves on Senator Mitch McConnell’s leadership team.

Ms. Lummis, 66, is returning to Washington after having served four terms in the House. She decided not to seek a fifth after her husband, Alvin Wiederspahn, died in 2014. She said she needed to tend to the family’s ranch — a nearly 20,000-acre property where steer are branded with the phrase “4-Z.”

Her family, descended from German immigrants, has lived in Wyoming since before it was a state. In 1976, she was crowned Miss Frontier.

“I’m a Wyoming girl. My great-grandfather came to Wyoming in 1868, the year after the railroad did,” she says. “He started a hardware store and eventually bought out his hardware partner who also had a ranch. That’s how we got in the ranching business, and we’ve been in the ranching business ever since.”

Ms. Lummis always had a strong interest in politics. As a senior at the University of Wyoming, she interned at the State Senate and “fell in love,” she says. At age 24 in 1978, she became the youngest member of the State Legislature in Wyoming history. From there, she obtained a law degree, was hired as the governor’s general counsel, became director of the Wyoming Office of State Lands and Investments, and was eventually elected state treasurer.

All the while, she worked on the family ranch, which buys and sells thousands of steer annually.

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