Monday, October 18, 2010

Wyoming Governor Race

Race of the Day

Wyoming Governor

October 18, 2010
15 Days Until Election Day

Status: Democrat Open
2008 Presidential Result: Red State (West)

Outlook: Safe Republican

The final Race of the Day for 2010 focused on the contest for Governor in Wyoming, a heavily Republican state, where a popular conservative Democrat has served as Governor for the past eight years.

In fact, the only real drama about the general election in the Cowboy State was whether Governor Dave Freudenthal would take legal action to challenge the state law limiting him to two terms. If Freudenthal were to be on the ballot for a third term, he might have been tough to beat. However, early this spring, the Governor made it official that he would be stepping aside, and that pretty much cleared the way for an expected Republican pickup of his office.

In the August primary, Democrat Leslie Petersen, a former Teton County Commissioner and state party chair, captured her party's nomination with 47 % of the vote in a five way contest. The Republican side on the ballot saw an even larger field and a closer result. By less than one percent, former U.S. Attorney Matt Mead outpolled the second place finisher, State Auditor Rita Meyer, who was also a veteran of both Desert Storm and the War in Afghanistan, and who had been endorsed by Sarah Palin. Capturing the political bronze medal, just three percentage points behind the winner Mead was another candidate with the same initials, former State Representative and former state Agriculture Director Rom Micheli. In fourth place, was perhaps the one time front-runner, and most moderate of the Republicans, State House Speaker Colin Simpson, the son of the colorful longtime U.S. Senator Alan Simpson.

Despite the political success of Freudenthal and a couple close U.S. House races in recent years, nobody really expected Petersen to give Mead or whomever would have won the Republican nomination much difficulty. The Republican is likely to win this race by over 20 points.

Mead campaign link:

2010 Governor race predictions: 7 D, 29 R, 1 I
Predicted Gubernatorial totals: 14 D, 35 R, 1 I

Check back on Wednesday for revised predictions and totals