Saturday, October 13, 2018

Wyoming Governor- Race of the Day

24 Days Until Election Day

Wyoming Governor

Status: Republican Open
2016 Presidential Result: Red State (West)

Status: Safe Republican

At last, we have come to the end of the alphabet in terms of the 50 states, as well as the least populated among them. Wyoming also may lay claim to the title of most Republican in the Union as well. While it did not garner much attention, Republicans in August voted to nominate a candidate to replace the GOP's popular term-limited Matt Mead, over the choice preferred via Twitter by Donald Trump.

As the 2018 cycle began, Republican Secretary of State Ed Murray was considered the front-runner to replace Governor Mead. Accusations from the 1980s surfaced though of sexual assault in the 1980s. He denied the charges but would later announce he would not seek the Governorship or any office. Shortly thereafter, he resigned his state post altogether. For a good deal of time, attorney Harriet Hageman appeared to be the only credible Republican candidate for Governor, but it was expected that others would eventually enter the race.

Eventually five candidates would join Hageman in the field, while a seventh hopeful, a veterinarian and perennial failed candidate decided to run instead with the Constitution Party. State Treasurer Mark Gordon was looked on as the favorite. He had been appointed to the post by Mead but elected in his own right in 2014. Six years earlier, he was unsuccessful in a primary bid for the state's one Congressional district.

The race was shaken up though by the announcement of 78 year old first time candidate Foster Friess The businessman and philanthropist had over the past several years become one of the most prominent donors nationally in the Republican Party, often favoring conservative alternatives to party establishment figures. As the top benefactor to Rick Santorum in the 2012 primaries, he made headlines for politically incorrect and insensitive comments. He turned down entreaties by then White House official Steve Bannon to challenge Wyoming's GOP U.S. Senator in a primary, but did run for the open Governorship. Shortly before the primary. Donald Trump endorsed him and most thought that would deal the deal for Friess who due to his personal spending on the race had been locked in a tight battle in the polls with Gordon.

However, on Primary Day, the Wyoming establishment who had largely endorsed Gordon prevailed over Trump and many national conservative figures who lined up with Friess. In a divided field, Gordon beat Friess 33-25, with Hageman taking 21 percent and businessman Sam Galeotos finishing fourth with 12 percent. He had seen much of his support evaporate when Friess entered the race, but his presence in the contest may have prevented Friess from being nominated.

Many Republicans breathed a bit of a sigh of relief with the thought that Friess might have been a polarizing candidate who could have possibly put the Governorship at risk. After all, a Democrat had served for eight years before Mead was elected. The winner of the Democrats' primary with about two-thirds of the vote was Mary Throne, a State Representative who had served as Minority Leader. Her only major opponent was seemingly a pro-marijuana activist who had run before, but he finished behind Michael Allen Green, a little known businessman, beyond his having been the state's Congressional nominee back in 2000. Green finished in second place with 12 percent.

There do not seem to be any recent polls on this race and often all sorts of states, will look beyond national party preferences to consider another party for the Governorship, but there does not seem to be anything to suggest that with Wyoming being as Republican as it has been in recent years, that Gordon should not win easily.

2018 Gubernatorial Predictions:

16 D  (2 Safe, 3 Likely, 8 Leans, 3 Tossup) 
20 R  (3 Safe, 9 Likely, 6 Leans, 2 Tossup)

Predicted total- with updates to come next week:

23 D (7 holdovers, 2 Safe, 3 Likely, 8 Leans, 3 Tossup)
27 R (7 holdovers, 3 Safe, 9 Likely, 6 Leans, 2 Tossup)


At 6:10 PM, Blogger Steve Boudreaux said...

GOP Hold.


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