Sabatos Crystal Ball

Wyoming Races

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Wyoming

Outlook: Solid Democratic


November 8, 2006 Update:

As the Crystal Ball predicted, Gov. Dave Freudenthal (D) won reelection over Ray Hunkins (R) with 70% of the vote.

Update:

Our very good contacts in the Equality State tell us that this race is all but over, and ironically the surprise is that a Democratic governor can not only get elected, but can win a second term. Governor Dave Freudenthal should win handily.


Background

Here’s a final, great example of why governorships are different. Wyoming is almost totally Republican, having given George W. Bush (and native son Dick Cheney) almost 70 percent in two presidential elections, and hosting a consistently all-GOP congressional delegation in recent times. Yet in 2002 the Cowboy State put a Democrat in the statehouse.

Governor Dave Freudenthal had served as the state’s U.S. attorney during the Clinton administration, but he was certainly not the favorite at the starting gate in 2002. The “time for a change” theme works even in near one-party states, at least for the governorship. Congress has become highly ideological, but governors deal more with nuts-and-bolts government, and ticket-splitting seems less “dangerous” for many voters casting ballots for the top state executive post (assuming the other-party nominee is not too liberal).

Given the state’s GOP character, a pro-Republican upset in 2006 cannot be dismissed out of hand. But early on, Freudenthal appears to be in good shape politically.

Candidates

Dave Freudenthal (I) – Democrat – current Governor and former U.S. Attorney for Wyoming
Website

Ray Hunkins – Republican – lawyer and rancher; former Marine and Special Assistant Attorney General
Website