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June 03, 2014 7:33 am

Incumbents challenged in local elections

Written by CJ Baker

After a trickle at the start, the filing period for the primary election closed with a flood of candidates.

Nine Republicans have entered the battle for three Park County Commission seats, three law enforcement professionals will compete to be Park County sheriff, another three contenders are in the mix for Park County clerk and a trio of local legislators have drawn challengers in the Republican primary.

No local Democrats jumped into a race during the filing period, which closed Friday evening.

In the only non-partisan races that will appear on the primary ballot, Powell’s three city councilmen will be unopposed in their bids for re-election.

Park County races

Seats on the Park County Commission tend to be the most sought-after positions on the ballot and 2014 has proved no exception.

Incumbents Tim French, Loren Grosskopf and Joe Tilden are seeking to stay on the board, while challengers Dave Burke of Cody, Donna “Dee” Guelde of Meeteetse, Paul Lanchbury of rural Cody, Pat Slater of rural Powell, Gina Sowerwine of Wapiti and Jo Walker of Cody are looking to join the board.

The race for Park County sheriff also has become crowded. Incumbent Scott Steward faces two challengers who currently or used to work for him. They are former Powell-area deputy Roger Dunn and current Powell area deputy Bruce Olson.

Meanwhile, Park County Clerk Jerri Torczon’s bid for re-election is being opposed by two people with ties to the county: Tod Larson, the administrator of the Park County Detention Center, and Colleen Renner, the office manager for University of Wyoming Extension in Cody.

No one launched a challenge to incumbent Park County Assessor Pat Meyer, Attorney Bryan Skoric, Coroner Tim Power or Treasurer Barb Poley. Similarly, Park County Clerk of District Court First Deputy Patra Lindenthal was the only one to seek the office being vacated by her boss, long-time clerk Joyce Boyer.

State Legislature

It looked as though Park County’s representatives in the Wyoming Legislature might all go unchallenged in their bids for re-election, but a trio of contenders emerged on the final day.

Dan Laursen, a rural Powell resident and the former manager of the Heart Mountain Irrigation District, filed for the seat currently held by Rep. Dave Blevins, a Powell insurance agent; former Cody City Councilman Charles Cloud filed for a rematch with Rep. David Northrup, a Willwood farmer; and Tea Party organizer and business owner Bob Berry of Cody is challenging Rep. Sam Krone, a Park County deputy attorney in Cody.

State Sen. Ray Peterson — a Cowley Republican who represents the Powell area and northern Big Horn County — and Rep. Elaine Harvey — a Lovell Republican who represents the Garland area and northern Big Horn County — went unchallenged.

All of the incumbents and challengers are Republicans.

City of Powell

On the Powell City Council, the only people to declare their interest in three open seats were the three incumbent councilmen. Ward I Councilman Eric Paul, Ward II Councilman John Wetzel and Ward III Councilman Myron Heny each filed for re-election to the non-partisan posts.

It’s possible that additional candidates could still emerge for local races — either by being written in on the primary ballot, filing a petition to run as an independent candidate or running with a third party.

The primary election takes place Aug. 19.

The filing period for non-partisan special district positions — which appear only on the general election ballot — opens Aug. 6. Those races include positions on local school, college, fire and hospital boards.

1 Comment

  • Comment Link June 03, 2014 8:44 am posted by TB

    "No local Democrats jumped into a race during the filing period, which closed Friday evening." They wouldn't have a chance anyway in rino infested Park County.

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