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On Aug. 17 citizens of Wyoming had the chance to take the first step in choosing the state’s next round of elected officials in the primary elections, which resulted in several close races on both the statewide and district levels.
It was the closest gubernatorial primary Wyoming has seen in nearly 25 years. Republican candidate Matt Mead of Cheyenne has family roots in Teton County, and he won in 14 of Wyoming’s 23 counties, gaining him the win even though Rita Meyer took the state’s two most populous counties, Laramie and Natrona, by significant margins.
While several primary election races were close, Wyoming’s secretary of state Max Maxfield says no recounts were necessary. State law requires a recount when the number of votes between the winning and losing candidate is less than one percent of the votes cast for the winning candidate.
The 714-vote difference between the chosen Mead and second-place candidate Rita Meyer is above that threshold, which would have required a difference of 303 votes or less for a recount.
In addition to the gubernatorial race, there was also a close contest for State Auditor on the Republican ticket between Cynthia Cloud and Bruce Brown. That race was also not within the one percent recount margin, with unofficial totals of Cloud at 47,356 votes – 51 percent – and Bruce Brown with 45,771 votes.
In House District 6 the race was separated by a narrow margin of 12 votes between Richard L. Canady and Richard. C. Grant Jr, but, based on the unofficial results, 11 or fewer votes would be needed to trigger a recount.
“If anything changes between the unofficial and the official results, we could see a recount in that district,” says Maxfield, who expected to see the results of the Converse County Canvassing Board by Friday, Aug. 20.
A total of 107,660 Wyoming citizens voted in the Republican primary, according to Maxfield’s office. The Democratic party saw 25,738 voters, while 3,589 voted as independents. Those numbered equaled 52 percent of registered Wyoming voters. Over the past five primaries Wyoming has averaged a 53 percent voter turnout.
Voter turnout in the last five general elections during presidential years has averaged 98 percent, while turnout in general elections in non-presidential elections averaged 62 percent.
Democratic candidate for Governor Leslie Peterson of Teton County won her party’s nomination with 48 percent of the votes, followed by Pete Gosar with 37 percent of votes.
Republican candidate for Governor Ron Micheli followed the top two candidates in third place with 26 percent of the vote, while candidate Colin Simpson gained 16 percent, only winning his home county, Park County. Alan Kousoulos, Tom Ubben and John Self followed, each with a statistical zero percent of votes.
Republican candidate for Superintendent of Public Instruction Cindy Hill was chosen to advance to the general election Nov. 2 with 49 percent of voters choosing her for the position. The incumbent Jim McBride followed with 25 percent of votes, with Trent Blankenship and Ted Adams rounding out the field with 15 and 11 percent of votes, respectively.
Incumbent Republican Cynthia Lummis was reelected for U.S. House District 1 with 83,924 votes and 83 percent of the vote. Evan Slafter, who garnered 17,122 votes, or 17 percent, opposed her.
Maxfield’s office said Aug. 19 that unofficial election results were still arriving from some counties, and that there was a possibility of write-in nominations. The statement said tallying was progressing slowly because of the high number of write-ins.
The Secretary of State’s office says that’s because many races had no major political party represented for the primaries, which includes 36 House seats and seven Senate seats that did not have a Democratic candidate. Five House seats and three Senate seats had no Republican candidate filed, and the State Auditor and State Treasurer had no Democratic candidates in the race.
According to Maxfield, to be considered a write-in candidate for a statewide or legislative race a candidate needs a minimum of 25 votes. “Based on the unofficial results that have been received, it appears there is a possibility of a write-in candidate getting the Democratic nomination in the following races: State Auditor and State Treasurer and House Districts 14, 25, 46, and 54,” says a statement from Maxfield’s office.
There was also a possibility of a Republican candidate getting the nomination in House Districts 44, 48, and Senate Districts 7, 9 and 13.
“The county clerks will now do the laborious work of listing each write-in by name. Once that information is received from each participating county, my office will collate the results and we will see if any one individual meets the requirement of 25 votes or greater. If so, the top write-in vote getter may be offered that nomination once the results are canvassed by the State Canvassing Board,” says Maxfield.
Meanwhile, Rita Meyer has endorsed Matt Mead for Wyoming Governor. “As I committed when I announced my candidacy, I will support Matt Mead for Wyoming Governor on Nov. 2 in any way that I can,” she said Aug. 18.
With 10 weeks left before the general election, Mead is said to have a clear advantage against Democratic opponent Leslie Petersen with a political climate currently favoring Republicans.
Christy Hemken is managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

“Common Sense, Common Ground,” leads off Democratic candidate for Wyoming Governor Leslie Petersen’s introduction on her website.
“Three of the last four Governors in Wyoming have been Democrats,” says Petersen. “People in Wyoming tend to vote for the person, rather than the party, and they are comfortable with a centrist Democrat in the Governor’s seat. I would hope to follow in the previous Democratic Governors’ footsteps as a centrist with an open door and transparent, responsive state government.”
Petersen was born in Lovell and grew up on what she describes as an old traditional dude ranch, the CM Ranch, near Dubois at the foot of Whiskey Mountain.
“I had great fun growing up on the dude ranch, and we were also in the hunting business, with two elk camps and a mountain sheep camp,” she explains. “I ran the ranch with my parents and ex-husband for many years. I had two little kids, and my mother and I would swap between the office and camp. I loved those times.”
After 35 years at Dubois, Petersen moved to Jackson in the mid-1970s, where she worked various jobs, including the Director of the Wyoming Environmental Institute.
“It was a very small, conservative environmental group concerned about the huge development that was about to take place in the Powder River Basin,” says Petersen. “We contracted with Arko Coal for one of the first Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) in the state on the Black Thunder Mine. We wanted to do the first EIS with Wyoming citizen involvement to make sure the results were fair, and Arko went along with us and was very progressive.”
In 1983 Petersen was appointed as a Teton County Commissioner and was elected after a year and a half, serving four more years. “That’s the best government experience I have, because county commissioners and city councils are where the rubber meets the road, in terms of interacting with your community,” she says.
Petersen has also served on the Wyoming Water Development Commission for eight years under Governor Sullivan, and she was Governor Herschler’s legislative liaison for two sessions.
“Governor Herschler needed additional help during the legislative session, so I was his go-between with the Republican legislature, and that was a good experience for what a Democratic governor needs to do to get things done,” she notes.
In 2008 Petersen was elected chair of the Wyoming Democratic Party. “When the filing period came this year, none of the Democrats we expected would run were going to do it, and the clock was ticking down,” says Petersen. “People are way better off with a choice, and it makes the discussion of issues much more relevant, so I filed late, at the end of May, and I’ve been on the road ever since.”
Of being a Democratic candidate in a Republican state, Petersen says, “People like checks and balances in the system, and it really is good for the state, otherwise we could see a situation where we have complete dominance by one party, and we should have at least one of the other party.”
“When I go out among the citizenry, I think the thing most people care and talk about is jobs and the economy,” says Petersen. “That’s at the core of what people are concerned about, and one of the Governor’s primary responsibilities is to make the economy strong.”
Of Wyoming’s budget, Petersen says, “I don’t feel the budget is out of control. I know the money we spent during the fat years was money we needed to spend, on the new prison at Torrington, deferred maintenance at the university, community colleges and regulatory staff at the Department of Environmental Quality and the Oil and Gas Commission. We poured money into towns, counties and cities during those fat years, and I’m particularly supportive of local funding. They know what they need, and they spend money efficiently and they don’t goof up because people pay too close attention. I’m pleased we were able to divert so much money into communities.”
“When they had to conserve in the last biennium, the Legislature was very responsible in cutting back. I’m fiscally conservative as an individual, and I think we need to be really cautious as a state,” comments Petersen. “I would like to see every agency demonstrate that what they’re doing is not just automatic – that it really needs to be done.”
“There’s a lot we need to sort out yet about wind energy, and most everybody supports having it. It’s a coming technology that will benefit Wyoming in the long run,” she says. “The Legislature has made some really good first steps, including that wind energy should pay taxes like any other industry, but giving them until 2011 to plan for it.”
Petersen says she approves of the one-year moratorium on the use of eminent domain for collector lines. “I hope that gives us time to work out issues with collector lines running across property, which will really affect views and operations a lot. I think landowners need to have more power in those negotiations than they often do with other energy industries.”
Regarding the western side of the state, Petersen says she supports the large conservation easements recently put in place in Sublette County.
“I’m proud that my husband wrote the first easement deal in Wyoming in the ‘70s when there wasn’t even a state law that allowed them yet,” she says. “What I love about easements is they’re a way of preserving the great ag values we have in this state in perpetuity. Some people are making the choice to protect priceless places and to preserve open space, wildlife and family farms and ranches, which contribute to stable towns and economies.”
“One thing I differ on from a lot of my friends is that I think we’re better off to modify our position on wolves in Wyoming, and get out of the lawsuit that can go on for year after year as wolf numbers continue to go up,” says Petersen. “If we pulled out of our lawsuit and modified our position to have trophy status statewide, then we could set hunting seasons and areas, and we already have a depredation fund to pay for livestock damages. I think it might cost us some money, but wolves are also bringing in a lot of tourist dollars.”
“I think we could manage them ourselves and do better with them that way than we can with the status quo,” she continues. “We’ve given that a good run, but I think maybe the time has come for us to move in that direction. If we don’t, I’m beginning to worry about the moose population, particularly. I think we can learn to live with them over time, if we can manage them ourselves.”
“I recognize what agriculture brings to this state, and I’m truly supportive and I want it to continue, and I would be supportive of the ag industry in every way I can if I’m elected,” says Petersen.
For more information on Leslie Petersen and her campaign for Wyoming Governor, visit Christy Hemken is managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Casper – “I have a great respect for how Wyoming people think,” said Cynthia Lummis, who on Feb. 25 officially announced her intentions to seek Wyoming’s lone seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. “We’re practical, we’re genuine, we want to roll up our sleeves and solve problems. I think that’s what’s needed in Washington right now.”
    Before making her official announcement at the Parkway Plaza and later that same day at the Cheyenne Frontier Days Museum in Cheyenne, Lummis stopped by the Roundup to discuss her campaign, agriculture and issues she believes to be important to the future of America.
    “I’ve spent almost 30 years in politics already,” said Lummis. “To me, having had the chance to work in all three branches of state government as well as with the Western Governors Association and to a lesser extent the National Governors Association, I saw what great innovators states are.”
    Lummis describes herself as a believer in states’ rights. Congress, she said, should address issues like energy, national security and healthcare, while leaving many issues for the states to address. “Allow the states to innovate on the issues in which Congress has no business at this point,” said Lummis.
    Water rights, noting the pending Wild and Scenic Designation on the Snake River as an example, are one area where Lummis said states rights should prevail. “Wyoming water rights and water law needs to be honored above all else,” she commented.
    While one might think Lummis has had her feet kicked up at the family ranch since finishing her last term as State Treasurer, nothing could be further from the truth. “I managed Wyoming’s Permanent Mineral Trust Fund when I was state treasurer,” she explained. “Around the world, lots of countries are creating permanent mineral trust funds with their excess revenues.” In addition to writing a chapter on permanent mineral trust funds (PMTF) for a book published by the World Bank, she’s been advising foreign nations on the formation of their own accounts.
    Formation of a PMTF is a move she’d like to see the U.S. make and is one of her goals if elected. “The U.S. is the largest debtor nation in the world. We have no savings. Americans are out of the habit of saving and in the habit of maxing out their credit cards,” said Lummis. “There’s just not a culture of saving in America anymore. One of my goals would be to reverse that, to use federal mineral royalty dollars to create a permanent mineral trust fund at the national level and use the proceeds to fund the programs at the Department of Interior that allow Americans to enjoy their own country.” Lummis lists national parks and monuments, national forests and the nation’s fish and wildlife as areas where the funds might be applied. “We’re taking a deplete-able resource and using the income from it to create renewable resource benefits for Americans,” said Lummis of the overarching goal. She’s hopeful such a move would be a first step in re-routing the nation back towards a savings culture.
    Diversification of the nation’s energy resources and a move toward energy independence is another item of top priority for Lummis. “Our dependence on foreign energy puts us at risk,” she explained. Noting traditional sources, wind, solar, biomass and the comeback of uranium resources, coupled with energy conservation, Lummis said she sees a better path for the nation to follow.
    She also supports Endangered Species Act reform. “More private landowner incentives are needed under the act with more flexibility,” she said. “One size does not fit all with regard to species recovery. The act needs to recognize the flexibility needed by those drafting habitat conservation plans.”
    Enforcement of the existing Packers and Stockyards Act (PSA), according to Lummis, would solve many of the problems now surrounding concentration among the nation’s meatpackers. “We can do a lot with issues if we could just enforce the law as it is and that’s true of the PSA.”
    When it comes to immigration, Lummis said, “We need immigrants, but we need them here legally, so securing the border is first and foremost. Stop the bleeding; stop the influx of illegal immigrants. And then we need an orderly process in enforcing our current immigration laws with regard to those that are already here. And, I don’t mean amnesty; I don’t mean a blanket pixy dust that says you’re legal. I mean an orderly process to bring about legal status for those who deserve it and deporting those who don’t. Employers in this country need to be more vigilant about who they hire.”
    “I’ve had my feet on the ground in corrals in this state,” said Lummis when asked why the agricultural community should support her quest for Congress. “I know who to call in agriculture for good advice and I will pick up the phone.”
    Already having attended Lincoln Day dinners and numerous gatherings across the state leading up to her official announcement, Lummis said she’d been asked on multiple occasions if she’s crazy to want to go to Washington as a freshman Congressman. She, on the contrary, sees exciting times for policy-making that will shape America’s future in a rapidly changing world.
    Cynthia Lummis’ campaign website is Jennifer Womack is managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Newcastle – “My platform is ‘local solutions for local issues,’ and I feel that extends to all the issues. The people at the local, most basic level know what’s best at that level and are able to come up with the best solutions – especially compared to someone at a desk that is far removed from the situation. If elected, I will work to implement those local solutions at the state level,” states Wyoming House of Representatives candidate Hans Hunt for District 2 in eastern Wyoming.
At 22 years old, Hunt says his energy and political drive are advantages in his campaign. “A lot of folks get into politics either after they retire or are at least well established with a steady income. They have both the time and the money to pursue politics in many cases. I’m doing it because it’s what I really want to do. I was planning to run in 2012, but when Ross Diercks announced he wasn’t running I decided to jump in, figuring it would be better to run now than go up against an incumbent in two years,” explains Hunt.
In addition to working on the family ranch and being involved in management decisions there for several years, Hunt has spent three summers working in oil and gas fields laying gas line, and another summer working for the highway department.
“Those jobs allowed me to see not just the inner workings of each respective industry, but also gave me the ability to weigh issues from multiple perspectives. I feel those and other experiences will give me the ability to make fair, balanced and better informed decisions on a variety of issues,” he says.
Hunt says eminent domain is an important issue to a lot of Wyoming residents, particularly those involved in wind energy development.
“I think eminent domain and wind power need to be completely re-thought. The idea that a company can blaze a trail from point A to point B across private property without any serious compensation to the landowner is something I disagree with.
“The fact that it is a single, one-time payment and from then on that land is a permanent right of way forever is a big concern to a lot of people. Even if a turbine is discontinued or taken down in the future, current wording would allow the energy company continued use of that land forever with that single payment. I don’t find that to be fair agreement for landowners neither do they from what I’m hearing,” says Hunt.
According to Hunt, water rights are also high on landowners’ lists of concerns. He says Wyoming should be careful not to give our water away. “Water is a hot commodity these days and we’ve been stretched enough in other areas. I feel we should get the full value out of our water or find a means of storing it for our state during dry years,” notes Hunt.
Hunt feels education is an area that’s doing well in Wyoming, especially when compared to other states. However, he says the PAWS testing method is a huge problem. “I feel converting back to a pen and paper test would be advantageous to our school system. It’s simpler, and far more accurate. It may take longer but you know it hasn’t been messed up by some machine when it’s over,” he says.
Another issue people are asking about is the state lottery. “I’ve heard people speak for and against it and have conducted a lot of research on this issue.
“There is no doubt it would create a lot of income for the state and there is the argument it would potentially lower taxes. Wyoming is one of only seven states that doesn’t currently have a state lottery, and I personally believe we should keep it that way. Kansas statistics show that most of the income derived from their lottery comes from the poorest counties, and that the people with the lowest incomes are spending more on the lottery than any other income class. That being said, I feel that, especially with the economy the way it is, people should save their money instead of investing in a state lottery,” explains Hunt.
If elected, Hunt will take off his spring semester of college to focus on his duties as District 2 Representative. He says that while that sets back obtaining his college degree, the overall experience of campaigning and serving, if elected, are worth it.
“Our 10th Amendment rights state any powers not specifically given to the federal government are reserved for the state. That right has been trampled over, especially by the current administration. It’s time to stand up and fight back for those 10th Amendment rights at the state level, and it’s time to take similar action at the local level,” concludes Hunt.
For more information on Hans Hunt’s campaign, email him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Heather Hamilton is editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Casper – With the August Primary Election behind them, Wyoming’s successful political candidates are turning their eye toward the November General Election.
    The bid by four Republican candidates for a slot on the November ballot to be Wyoming’s lone Representative in the U.S. House proved to be this election’s most widely watched race. U.S. Congresswoman Barbara Cubin decided earlier this year not to seek re-election. Cynthia Lummis won the race with 33,143 votes compared to Mark Gordon’s 26,824, Bill Winney’s 8,537 and Michael Holland’s 3,153.
    “We’re very pleased about the outcome,” said Lummis during an Aug. 20 visit to the Roundup offices in Casper. “We attribute it to our volunteers. It was a very grassroots campaign. People in agriculture played a big role in our victory all across the state. Going into the General we think that’s going to be a big issue – the difference between urban versus rural values. We believe that an advantage in representing Wyoming is having grown up here, attending the University of Wyoming, soaking Wyoming into your soul. That’s an advantage that we think the Lummis Campaign has over the Trauner Campaign. Mr. Trauner was born and raised in New York and lives in Wilson, Wyo. in Teton County, which has a different approach than the rest of the state.”
    Lummis continued, “I’ve been fortunate to be positioned in the way I was raised to understand Wyoming pretty well. I’m gratified with the support and want to thank people in Wyoming agriculture.”
     “I congratulate and welcome Cynthia Lummis to this debate,” said Democratic candidate Gary Trauner in a prepared statement released Aug. 20, “and congratulate Mark Gordon on his hard-fought campaign and desire to bring meaningful change to Wyoming.”
    Trauner finished by noting that he vigorously disagrees with Sen. McCain’s proposal to renegotiate Western water rights. “I’ll stand up to anyone who doesn’t put Wyoming’s interests first, and I hope Cynthia uses this opportunity to join me in standing up for Wyoming ranchers and farmers.”
    Liberatarian candidate W. David Herbert, who received 185 votes in Tuesday’s election, will also appear on the November ballot.
    “We’re hitting the ground running,” said Lummis. “The sprint to the finish in this Primary has given us some momentum to keep moving forward. There will be no hiatus and it will be a seamless effort to get us to November.”
    Chris Rothfuss, a University of Wyoming professor, will appear on the Democratic ticket against U.S. Senator Mike Enzi this November. U.S. Senator John Barrasso will face Democratic opponent and Gillette attorney Nick Carter, who narrowly beat Keith Goodenough 12,310 votes to 12,006.
    In races for the Wyoming Legislature, incumbent Charles Scott beat opponent Tom Walters in a 1,253 to 804 vote in Senate District 30. Frank Peasley of Wheatland won the Republican bid in House District 3 against Randy Stevenson and Kirby Wilson. Peasley will face Democrat Terry Jones in the November election.
    According to the Wyoming Secretary of State’s Office, 104,635 people voted in the recent election.
    Jennifer Womack is managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..