One factor in the race was a write-in campaign by conservative Taylor Haynes. Unofficially, 16,059 write-in votes were cast statewide, 8.5 percent of the total, and presumably most of them were cast for Haynes. However, given the close Republican …
Republican Matt Mead won an easy victory Tuesday over Leslie Petersen in the race for Wyoming governor.Mead, who will be only the second Republican to serve as governor since 1975, received 123,764 votes, approximately 66 percent of the total cast, according to unofficial results posted by the Wyoming Secretary of State's office Wednesday. Democratic opponent Leslie Petersen received only 43,336 votes (23 percent), and Libertarian Mike Wheeler 5,360 votes, less than 3 percent.
One factor in the race was a write-in campaign by conservative Taylor Haynes. Unofficially, 16,059 write-in votes were cast statewide, 8.5 percent of the total, and presumably most of them were cast for Haynes. However, given the close Republican primary in August, some of those votes may have gone to other Republican candidates as well.
The results of the write-in voting were not available on Wednesday. At the formal request of Haynes, county clerks around the state were tallying how many of the write-ins were cast for him.
In Park County, Mead polled 8,312 votes, 72 percent of the total. Petersen received 1,813, 16 percent of the total and Wheeler 290 votes, or 2.6 percent.
Write-ins accounted for 9.5 percent of the votes cast in Park County, making it one of four counties that received more than 1,000 write-in votes in the race.
In Campbell County, 2,965 write-in votes were cast, and Laramie County, where Haynes lives, write-ins totaled 2,363. Natrona County voters cast 1,487 write-in votes and Park County 1,063. The four counties accounted for more than half of the write-in votes cast.
Mead, a former U.S. Attorney who operates farming and ranching enterprises in southeast Wyoming, won a majority in every county. He won the Republican primary over three other candidates with less than 30 percent of the vote, but finished first or second in that voting in nearly every county.
This will be the first elective office for Mead, who is the grandson of former Wyoming governor and senator Cliff Hansen, and whose mother, Mary Mead, ran unsuccessfully for the office in 1990. He will be only the second Republican governor since 1975, when Ed Herschler took office for the first of his three terms.
Democrat Mike Sullivan succeeded Herschler for two terms before Republican Jim Geringer broke the string and served for eight years. Democrats regained the office in 2003 with Dave Freudenthal, who has served for the past eight years.
In an interview with the Tribune during the campaign, Mead said Wyoming should focus on the resources it has, developing minerals in a balanced way, continuing to promote tourism and expanding the role of agriculture. He believes Wyoming has advantages that can attract high-tech industries. He also said he would consider joining a multi-state court challenge to the national health care plan passed by the current Congress. He acknowledged that health care is an issue in Wyoming, but said an incremental approach to resolving those issues on the state level would be preferable to a national program.