After a slow start to the filing period, candidates are starting to join the races for Park County’s elected offices.
Five Republicans are bidding for a pair of seats on the Park County Commission, three people want to be Powell’s mayor and — for the first time since 1988 — Park County has two Democrats running for local legislative seats.
However, one legislative seat representing the Cody area continued to have no declared candidates as of Monday afternoon and none of the six seats representing Park County had more than one candidate running from each party.
Candidates have until 5 p.m. Friday to file.
The most popular race to date has been for the two available seats on the Park County Commission.
Republicans to have declared for the office by Monday were:
• Incumbent Commissioner Lee Livingston, who’s also a Wapiti-based outfitter
• Jake Fulkerson, owner of an appraisal business and chairman of the Cody school board
• John Marsh, a building contractor who’s in the process of moving from Powell to Meeteetse
• Boone Tidwell, a bail bondsman and South Fork resident
• Richard George, a Heart Mountain/Cody area farmer and the Wyoming Republican Party’s National Committeeman-elect
The other incumbent commissioner up for election — Cody Republican Bucky Hall — has decided not to seek a fourth four-year term.
Three candidates are bidding to serve as Powell’s mayor for the next four years: current Mayor Don Hillman is seeking re-election while James Andrews, the owner of The Red Zone bar, and local resident Amber Yager-Wall are each opposing him.
Meanwhile, current Powell city council members Jim Hillberry, Floyd Young and Lesli Spencer have all filed for re-election in wards 1, 2 and 3, respectively.
Over in Cody, Mayor Nancy Tia Brown has said she won’t seek a third term and two candidates have filed to replace her: Matt Hall and Tim Lamb.
No one has filed for House District 24, which Rep. Sam Krone, R-Cody, currently represents. After being fired from his job as a deputy Park County prosecutor for a series of inappropriate text messages, Krone told the Cody Enterprise in March that he planned to talk with voters before deciding whether to seek re-election.
In House District 25, Rep. Dan Laursen, R-Powell, is asking voters for another two years in office, while Democrat Shane Tillotson — who is a Powell carpenter — has also thrown his hat into the ring. It’s the first time since 1992 that a Powell Democrat has run for the Legislature.
Republican Philip Abromats, a Greybull attorney, has announced his candidacy for the open seat in House District 26. The position represents northern Big Horn County and the eastern edge of Park County, including Garland and Frannie. The seat is available as current Rep. Elaine Harvey, R-Lovell, has decided to end her legislative career.
House District 50 has two candidates: current Rep. David Northrup, a Powell area Republican and farmer, and Clark Democrat Mike Specht, who owns a private firefighting business.
Rep. Nathan Winters, R-Thermopolis, represents Meeteetse and is the only candidate for House District 28 so far.
Similarly, longtime state Sen. Hank Coe, R-Cody, is the only declared candidate in Senate District 18.
Interest in Republican and Democratic party leadership positions known as precinct committeemen and women has been low. As of Monday, 11 people had filed for 68 available positions in the Park County Republican Party and only two people had filed for 58 precinct slots in the Park County Democratic Party.
When and where to file
People wanting to run for the Legislature can file online with the Secretary of State’s Office, those wishing to run for the Park County Commission or as Republican or Democratic precinct committee people file at the courthouse in Cody and candidates for municipal office file at their city hall.
The primary election is Aug. 16.
Elections for non-partisan special districts — such as school, fire and hospital district boards — only appear on the general election ballot. The filing period for those offices opens on Aug. 10.