2014 elections

Wyoming now has four major political parties. That’s according to the Secretary of State’s office. The Libertarian and Constitution parties received more than ten percent of the vote in the Secretary of State race during the 2014 midterms, which means they are now considered major parties by the Wyoming Government.

Hugovk / Flickr

Tuesday’s voter turnout in Wyoming was significantly lower than average. Preliminary data from the Secretary of State’s office shows that just 65% of registered voters and 38% of all voting age adults came to the polls.

Peggy Nighswonger, with the Secretary of State’s office, said voters appear to be fed up with the constant conflict between the two dominant parties.

"Some people are a little bit disillusioned with the parties. We do have quite a few more registered voters on our rolls that are unaffiliated than we used to," she said.

The Wyoming Republican Party's sweeping victories on Election night left the chairman of the Wyoming Democrats disappointed. 

Ana Cuprill says she is especially disappointed that Mike Ceballos lost his bid for State Superintendent. She says Ceballos would have had the ability to bring the State Department of Education, the legislature, and the Governor’s office together.

“He’s just that kind of guy and it will be interesting to see if we have to continue with another four years of not being able to work together with the Department of Education.

Charlie Hardy

Facing an incumbent like Senator Mike Enzi, who has been in the U.S. Senate since 1997, is a daunting task. But Democrat Charlie Hardy says he took on the challenge to give better representation to those people in Wyoming without the money or connections to represent themselves, like children, the elderly and working families.

Hardy says these people also have a harder time voting and that could be why in Tuesday’s election, Enzi retained his seat with over 70 percent of the vote.  Hardy is thankful for the voters who did turn out for him, though.

The race for Wyoming’s schools chief was expected to be a close one, but it wasn't. Republican Jillian Balow defeated Democrat Mike Ceballos in the race for State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tuesday night with more than 60 percent of the vote.

Despite his party affiliation, Ceballos earned credibility in deep-red Wyoming with his business leadership experience. He racked up a string of key endorsements, and outspent Balow during the campaign, but Ceballos says he didn’t make his case to enough people.

Irina Zhorov

Wyoming Democrats had high hopes of gaining some legislative seats on election day, but in the end, they gained only one in the House.

Democratic newcomers Charles Pelkey in Laramie, JoAnn Dayton in Rock Springs, and Andy Schwartz in Jackson picked up Republican seats, but that was trumped by losses of previously held Democratic seats in Fremont and Laramie County. 

Tuesday night, incumbent U.S. Senator Mike Enzi handily won his race against Democratic challenger Charlie Hardy, taking over 70 percent of the vote. Enzi has served in the U.S. Senate since 1997 and worked on numerous committees including Finance and Homeland Security. While he is considered one of the most conservative senators in office, he’s also given for credit for working across the aisle on many issues. Enzi says he’s signed over 100 bills into law during his tenure in office.

Angus Thuermer / WyoFile

Voters roundly defeated a proposed Constitutional Amendment that would have allowed non-residents to serve on the University of Wyoming’s Board of Trustees.

The Wyoming Constitution specifies that anyone serving on the Board of Trustees should be eligible to vote in the state. The amendment would have allowed the Governor to appoint up to two non-residents to the 13-person Board. 

In Tuesday’s election, U.S. Representative Cynthia Lummis won her fourth term in office, beating out Democrat Richard Grayson with almost 70 percent of the vote. She says Wyoming people were clear in their message that they prefer stronger state control.

"I’m looking forward to working with a Republican Senate to keep government at the federal level focused on what it was designed to do," she says. "Which is protect our borders and provide for the defense of this nation. And allow states to function in the areas of air, land, water, wildlife."

Governor Mead handily beat Democratic Challenger Pete Gosar. A strong economy generally favors the incumbent, and Mead undercut one of Gosar’s main criticisms when he came out in favor of Medicaid expansion earlier this year. Governor Mead says this term he wants to expand Medicaid in Wyoming.

“We are going to present an expansion plan to the Legislature for their consideration,” he says. “It's going to be a better plan than we had last year going into session.”

During an election season, people often doubt how much their votes count. But according to a new study by WalletHub.com, voters in Wyoming have more influence than any other voters in the country. Spokesperson Jill Gonzalez says that’s because Wyoming has the lowest population of any state and rural states with low populations still have the same number of senators as other more urban states.

While Wyoming residents strongly oppose the Affordable Care Act, residents are supportive of expanding Medicaid to provide health care to those who cannot afford it. A University of Wyoming election year survey conducted in mid - August found that only 24 percent of state residents approve of the Affordable Care Act, while 70 percent oppose it.  

University of Wyoming Political Scientist Jim King says people have a different opinion about Medicaid expansion.

Wyoming Public Radio's Bob Beck joins Morning Edition Host Caroline Ballard to help analyze the races and issues at stake in tomorrow's elections.

A political action committee representing Wyoming teachers announced Monday it has pulled its endorsement of Jillian Balow the Republican candidate for Wyoming Superintendent of Public Instruction.

The Wyoming Education Association’s Political Action Committee for Education—known as WEA-PACE—endorsed both Balow and her Democratic opponent Mike Ceballos before this year’s primaries.

But Balow’s rhetoric about organized labor in a recent fundraising letter caused concern among the group of educators. In the letter, Balow criticized her opponent for receiving union support.  

Kim Via Flickr

The Wyoming League of Women Voters is now providing survey results that will help voters decide about whether to retain judges when they go to the polls next Tuesday.

The problem in the past has been that judges who are up for retention aren’t allowed to campaign like other elected officials.

Leigh Paterson

Climate change is a controversial topic in this election cycle, especially when it comes to teaching it in school.  So far only 12 states have adopted a new set of science education standards that include the human impacts on global warming  - and Wyoming is not one of them.

Natalia Macker, who is running to represent District 22 in the Wyoming State House, said something shocking during our recent interview:

Senator Mike Enzi (R)

U.S. Senator Mike Enzi is facing Charlie Hardy in the upcoming General Election.  In his time in office Senator Enzi has been a key player on issues such as No Child Left Behind and the Affordable Care Act. We begin our conversation by discussing the ACA.

GOP Disappointed In Haynes

Oct 23, 2014

The Wyoming Republican Party says it is disappointed that Taylor Haynes has decided to run for governor as a write-in candidate despite losing in the GOP primary election. State Party Chairman Tammy Hooper says that Haynes signed a unity pledge saying he would support all the Republican candidates in the general election.

During a debate last night in Riverton, Democratic candidate for Governor Pete Gosar said that governor Matt Mead has lacked leadership. Gosar pointed to the failure to expand Medicaid among other things.

“We have gambled with our economy on one commodities price, the price of oil. And as we benefited as it went up it is now at 80 dollars and looking to go further south. I hope that the governor has a plan. I look at education policy,  under this governor’s term we have stopped teaching science in our schools.”

Candidates for State Superintendent of Public Instruction agree on several issues, but Democrat Mike Ceballos says his experience as a CEO of QWEST gives him the edge, while Republican Jillian Balow says her background as a classroom teacher makes her the best choice. 

One key difference is over the Common Core education standards which were adopted by Wyoming, but are now under fire. Ceballos says he’s a strong supporter of the standards, but charges that Balow has waffled.

Wyoming Governor Matt Mead is seeking his second term in office and one of the things he is touting is growth in business and the state’s overall economy. Democratic challenger Pete Gosar admits that on paper the economy looks good, but he says it lacks diversity and says if you aren’t working in the energy sector…things might not be so great. Bob Beck spoke with both candidates about the economy and has this report.

Charlie Hardy

The Democratic Candidate for U.S. Senate says the first words out of his mouth were Mommy, Daddy, and eminent domain. Charlie Hardy says he’s always had an interest in politics and in helping the poor. He did this as a former Roman Catholic Priest and he wants to do this as the next U.S. Senator. He speaks with Bob Beck.

gosarforgovernor.com

Wyoming Governor Matt Mead says it’s the duty of the state attorney general to continue to defend state law in the court that says marriage can only occur between one man and one woman. But his Democratic opponent Pete Gosar says the state should drop the case and allow gay marriage to occur in Wyoming.

"I think there are no differences in citizens in our constitution and in the U.S. constitution and what’s afforded to one, must be afforded to all."

Mike Ceballos is trying to make a major career change. After leading the massive telecommunications firm Qwest, Ceballos returned to College to get his doctorate and now is the Democratic candidate for State Superintendent of Public Instruction. Ceballos has served on the Governor’s P-16 council which is intended to improved education in the state.

Goshen County representative Matt Teeters lost his legislative seat in Tuesday’s primary election. His challenger, Cheri Steinmetz, says she won because Teeters didn’t recognize how important constitutional rights are to his constituents.

“One of the biggest issues for our country is people want to make sure that their constitutional rights are protected. They see a lot of overreach at the federal level, and some at the state level as well.”

In Tuesday's legislative primaries, four incumbents lost their seats including House Education Chairman Matt Teeters of Goshen County.  

Teeters made headlines in the last budget session when he added a footnote to the budget that blocked the State Board of Education from reviewing the Next Generation Science Standards. He was easily defeated by Cheri Steinmetz who grabbed 59 percent of the vote.  

Mead Wins GOP Primary

Aug 20, 2014

Wyoming Governor Matt Mead overcame strong challenges from Superintendent Cindy Hill and Doctor Taylor Haynes to win the Republican primary. 

Mead won the race despite upsetting the Republican base over his support of legislation that removed State Superintendent Cindy Hill as the supervisor of the Department of Education. Mead says it helped to be able to travel the state and meet with people.

To have a chance in small groups, one and one, and some large groups, take questions and have people hear firsthand from me. I thought that was extremely helpful.”

Senator Mike Enzi (R)

After winning Tuesday's primary, incumbent Republican US Senator Mike Enzi will face off against Democrat Charlie Hardy in the November general election.

The Republican race was once expected to be tight, with Enzi facing a challenge from Liz Cheney, but Enzi won in a landslide after Cheney dropped out earlier this year. His four lesser-known challengers collectively took less than 20 percent of the vote. Going into the general election, Enzi says he won't be campaigning against Democrat Charlie Hardy, but instead promoting his record.

via Pinedale Online

Incumbent Mark Gordon clinched the Republican nomination for Wyoming State Treasurer in yesterday’s primary by a wide margin. He beat out challenger Ron Redo.

Gordon was appointed Wyoming’s State Treasurer in 2012 after the death of former Treasurer Joe Meyer. Gordon says for the last two years he was obligated to carry out the promises of his predecessor.

“But now that, you know, I have a reasonably good chance of proceeding on into office it really feels a lot more like me and I’m more on the line,” said Gordon. “And that’s a good thing, I like that challenge.

Ed Murray for Wyoming (campaign)

Last night Ed Murray emerged with the GOP nomination for Secretary of State after running a close race against Ed Buchanan.

Buchanan was in the lead from when the polls closed at 7pm until almost 11, when results from Laramie County, the state’s largest, tipped the race decisively towards Ed Murray.

“I felt it was going to be a close race from the get go,” said Murray from Cheyenne. “We worked hard every day in anticipation that it would be close.

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