Republicans dominate Legislative races. Democrats, minor parties lose seats

Maya Shimizu Harris with the Casper Star-Tribune, via the Wyoming News Exchange

CASPER – The Legislature will be even redder come January. 

Republicans swept several seats formerly held by lawmakers from other parties in Tuesday's election. And in some districts, Republican incumbents will be replaced by new lawmakers who are even farther to the right on the political spectrum. 

Democrats have lost at least a seat in the House of Representatives, and likely more. 

Rock Springs Democrat Chad Banks was defeated in House District 17 by Republican Joshua Larson. The last time a Republican won the House seat for that district was in 2012 when Stephen Watt beat Democrat JoAnn Dayton. (Dayton went on to be the district's representative from 2015 to 2020.) 

Riverton Democrat Rep. Andi LeBeau failed to defend her seat in House District 33, losing to Republican Sarah Penn by 10 points, or 210 votes. LeBeau is one of only two Native American lawmakers and the only member of the Northern Arapaho tribe in the Legislature. 

The election for House District 23 also hasn't been called yet, but Democrat Liz Storer is ahead of Republican Paul Vogelheim by 163 votes there, according to the latest update from the Secretary of State. Republican Bill Henderson and Democrat Liz Solis' race in House District 41 is also still a tossup, although Henderson is leading by 221 votes. There could be additional provisional ballots that still need to be counted for these races, although it's unlikely to make a difference in the outcome.  

The only non-incumbent Democrat who has won a legislative seat so far is Ken Chestek in House District 13. (That seat is held by outgoing Rep. Cathy Connolly, D-Laramie, who didn't run for reelection this year.) 

No independent or minor-party candidates won seats in the Legislature; the two seats in the Legislature held by an independent and a Libertarian went Republican in the general election. 

Republican Cody Wylie beat Libertarian incumbent Rep. Marshall Burt by 50 points, or roughly 1,200 votes. Burt was the only Libertarian in the Legislature. 

A Republican also took the only seat in the Legislature that had previously gone to an independent.

House District 22 Rep. Jim Roscoe, an independent, didn't run for reelection this year. But independent candidate Bob Strobel joined the contest against self-described moderate Republican Andrew Byron in that race. Strobel, however, ended up losing by roughly 14 points, or 554 votes. 

In House District 44, a district that has historically leaned blue but has gone back and forth between Democrats and Republicans in recent elections, turned farther right in the general election. Republican Tamara Trujillo, a political newcomer, ousted incumbent Rep. John Romero-Martinez, also a Republican, in the primary election. 

Trujillo has described herself as more conservative compared to the incumbent, who also happens to be her cousin. They mainly diverge on social spending, with Romero-Martinez being an ardent supporter of Medicaid expansion, for example, while Trujillo emphasizes fiscal conservatism. Trujillo beat Democrat Sara Burlingame, a previous representative of the district, by roughly 20 points in the general election. 

In Natrona County, several far-right candidates ousted more moderate conservative incumbents from the Legislature. 

Republicans Bill Allemand and Bob Ide ran unopposed in the general election. Allemand and Ide will take over the seats of Republican Reps. Pat Sweeny in House District 58 and Drew Perkins in Senate District 29, respectively.

Photos and video released in June show Ide, a Casper real estate investor, near the U.S. Capitol with Wyoming GOP Chairman Frank Eathorne on the day of the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol. The photos and video also show Eathorne on Capitol grounds. 

Jeanette Ward, another far-right Republican in Natrona County, beat out Democrat Robert Johnson by 50 points, or 760 votes. Ward will be the new representative for House District 57, which was previously under the purview of Rep. Chuck Gray. (Gray ran instead this year in Wyoming's secretary of state race and won.) 

Abby Angelos, a Republican candidate who also leans more right, will take over Speaker of the House Eric Barlow's old seat in House District 3. (Barlow successfully ran for a seat in Senate District 23 this year.) Tony Locke, a Republican who advertised himself as a "true conservative" and warned that "the government of Wyoming is not red at all," beat out Republican incumbent Rep. Joe MacGuire in the primary election for House District 35. Angelos and Locke were both unopposed in the general election.  


This story was published on Nov. 10, 2022.


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