Robert Short, the 6’5” Converse County commissioner who hails originally from Glenrock but lives in Douglas, announced this week he is running for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate to replace the wildly popular Mike Enzi. Jumping into the race which could feature some high-spending campaigns might have shocked a few folks, but Short has never been one to shy away from taking risks.
We also have been heavily impressed with his reasoning skills and intellect over the years. His and his wife Janella’s six companies – all based in Glenrock – are thriving and sure to continue growing regardless of the outcome of this election.
And he’s smart. Really smart.
And funny – although some of his dry wit leaves some people scratching their heads at times.
He reminds us of another Wyoming politician who had those same characteristics. We hesitated to compare the two, but during an interview before the announcement Monday, Short brought up the similarly tall, smart and witty Al Simpson by noting he is a Simpson centrist.
For political observers in this state, that means something. For those out of touch with Simpson’s immense legacy, though, he is a hugely popular former U.S. senator who wielded tremendous respect and power in D.C. and at one point was considered for a vice presidential slot. (He turned down the offer, noting he had too many skeletons in his closet to survive the pressure. Those of us who knew him, though, knew he would not only have survived the campaign but probably would have thrived from the battle. He loved a good scrape.)
Simpson, a staunch Republican, could work and be friends with anyone on either side of the aisle as long that person was honorable and respectful in return. He was good friends with Ted Kennedy, and they worked well together on numerous important pieces of legislation to benefit the country. He was, and is even back home on the ranch outside Cody, a centrist politician who puts country above party.
The comparison of Simpson to Robert Short isn’t lost on us. Their common height is only the surface, cursory image. Their centrist philosophy, coupled with witty, sometimes biting, humor is much deeper - and more of a breath of fresh air than we are used to seeing in Washington or on the campaign trail.
For Short, we hope that translates well into the campaign, just like it did for Simpson. He has an uphill battle against money and name recognition, but in the end Simpson resonated with voters for many years.