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Wyoming Races

Senate Outlook for 2008

Can Democrats Take Advantage of the Turf?

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Wyoming (1)

Outlook: Solid Republican


June 18, 2008 Update:

Only three candidates filed to run for this seat as of the filing deadline on May 30th and, lo and behold, one of the candidates was incumbent Sen. Mike Enzi. With Enzi’s filing, the outcome of this race is all but settled, as he should easily win reelection in this deep Red state. Still to be decided is which of the other two filers will be his general election opponent. Professor Chris Rothfuss will face felon and perennial candidate Al Hamburg in the August Democratic primary to determine who will win the mantle of “likely loser” in this race.

April 14, 2008 Update:

Will he or won’t he? That’s the question for Wyoming Republicans right now, as incumbent Senator Mike Enzi has not yet formalized his intentions to run for another term in Washington. Enzi is finishing up his second term in the Senate, and at 64 is only slightly older than the average Senator, but press reports allude to Enzi being frustrated, and possibly bowing out this time. That would be great news for Christopher Rothfuss, a professor at the University of Wyoming who has announced he’ll represent the Democrat’s attempt to unseat Enzi. Wyoming is a very Republican state, and if Enzi is still in it, he’ll hold on to this seat. Should he decide to retire though, an open seat with a last-second Republican candidate creates a whole new ballgame.


Background

As of now, incumbent Republican Mike Enzi will seek his third term unopposed. Even if he does pick up a challenger, it is doubtful that the entrenched incumbent will be giving up his post anytime soon. With 73% of the vote in 2002, Enzi’s command performance is a daunting deterrent to challengers. In addition, the recently-vacated seat of Senator Thomas opened an easier door to would-be Democratic opponents looking for a seat in the Senate.

Enzi has just $400,000 in cash-on-hand, a nod less to reelection ambivalence than reelection confidence. While such trifling finances would be insufficient for most other candidates, Enzi’s lack of competition and incumbency will most likely keep him safe in his spot for a third term. Those factors, coupled with the state’s Republican trend, (an overwhelming 69% of voters in Wyoming picked Bush in both 2000 and 2004) outweigh the fact that Wyoming is currently governed by a popular Democrat.

Candidates

Chris Rothfuss – Democrat – professor at the University of Wyoming
Website

Michael Enzi (I) – Republican – current Senator
Website

Al Hamburg – Democrat – perennial candidate and Army veteran