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May 29, 2012 7:54 am

EDITORIAL: Campaign season heating up locally

Written by Tessa Schweigert

Still time to file for municipal, county and state offices

You can count on an interesting primary election in Park County this year.

Based on the way races already are shaping up, this August’s election promises to be among the most interesting in years.

Longtime incumbents are facing new challengers — multiple challengers in some cases.

Legislators Pat Childers and Hank Coe, both R-Cody, are being challenged for the first time in five terms.

Coe faces his first opponent in 20 years in Bob Berry, also a Republican. Childers is being challenged by three candidates so far — David Northrup of Powell, Charles Cloud of Cody and T.D. Ball of Cody. All are Republicans.

In House District 25, which covers all of Powell, several candidates have stepped up to fill the seat. Rep. Dave Bonner is not seeking a third term, and Powell Republicans Dave Blevins, Steve Walker and Billy A. Greaham all had filed as of press time Friday. In addition, local Tea Party leader David Kellett, who ran for District 25 in 2010, announced on KODI last week he will seek the seat again.

For local legislative races, Rep. Sam Krone, R-Cody, of House District 24 is the only one who doesn’t face a challenger yet.

Powell City Council races are mostly uncontested so far. Incumbents Floyd Young, Jim Hillberry and Eric Paul do not face opponents yet in their bids for another term.

Councilman Don Hillman is the only candidate who has filed to be Powell’s next mayor.

As expected, the Park County Commission race is heating up with multiple candidates seeking two available seats. So far, the race has drawn seven candidates.

It’s encouraging to see new faces taking an active role in government, and challengers certainly keep incumbents on their toes. While we see admirable qualities and strong experience in many of the incumbents, a good challenge is what a democracy is all about.

Notably absent from all these races so far are any Democratic candidates.

The Cowboy State, with its small population and smaller campaign budgets, is one of the best places to get involved.

As Secretary of State Max Maxfield said earlier this month, “The great thing about Wyoming is that we have grassroots elections, so there are tremendous opportunities for individuals to participate in government.”

Just a few days remain to file for county, municipal, state and national offices. The filing period for the primary election closes June 1. After that, candidates still can run unaffiliated or a long-shot write-in campaign. August’s primary election will determine which Republican and Democrat candidates advance to the general election in November.

In August, residents will get the chance to file for governing boards, such as the school, college, fire and hospital districts.

The leaders whom voters elect this year will make instrumental decisions that affect us all for years to come. If you’ve considered serving in public office, now’s your chance to get involved.

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