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Monday | October 14, 2002

Wyoming upset in the making

A couple of weeks ago I predicted Wyoming would elect a Democratic governor. While the state is still overwhelmingly Republican ("home" of Dick Cheney), the current governor's race is not about Democrats and Republicans, about it's coal bed methane interests vs. ranchers. Quite predictably, the GOP has aligned itself with the energy interests, while the Democrats are solidly behind the ranchers (a traditionally strong GOP group).

Well, the folks at Campaigns and Elections Magazine also see a competitive race:

Eli Bebout (R) favored over Dave Freudenthal (D), 40 to 39 (50.6 percent chance).

REPUBLICAN SEAT AT SERIOUS RISK Republican Gov. Jim Geringer is term-limited and his party is in a real fight to retain the mansion. Although this state is a strong GOP enclave in presidential politics, it has a periodic history of electing Democratic governors. The Republican nominee is an ex-Democrat former state House Speaker Eli Bebout an oil and gas executive and Air Force veteran. The Democrat is Dave Freudenthal, a former U.S. Attorney appointed by Pres. Clinton and a former state planning coordinator.

The Washington Post also touches briefly on the race (scroll down past the Colorado stuff).
... the returns will be watched nationally. A Freudenthal victory would not have the same symbolic impact as Democrat Ron Kirk winning a Senate seat in Texas. The vice president has only sometimes claimed a Wyoming address and, until 1994, the Democrats had a virtual lock on the governor's office.

But the Democratic Governors Association considers the Wyoming race one of the best chances this year to plant a blue flag in what is otherwise, on television broadcasters' maps, a sea of red. Democrats hold the governor's office in only seven states west of the Mississippi: California, Oregon, Missouri, Washington, Iowa, Hawaii and Alaska.

The national media has generally ignored this race, and why shouldn't they? Wyoming has the smallest population of any state in the union (smaller even than D.C.), and thus would seem uninmportant. However, as the WP notes, it would provide Dems with a moral victory, planting a blue flag amidsts a sea of red. And, hopefully, a Dem victory would be just a part of a national sweep. I would love to see GOP spinsters trying to explain how they could lose "even Wyoming".

Posted October 14, 2002 08:18 AM | Comments (1)





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