Barron: Wyoming’s Red Tsunami

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CHEYENNE — I don’t know about you, but I’m going to miss some of the recent election campaigns.

In particular, I will miss the voicemail pleas of Republican Gov. Scott Abbott of Texas urging me to tune in to his next rally.

Scott called me more than once with this intriguing invitation which I didn’t accept.

The misdirection of Scott’s campaign message is representative of the mixed bag that surfaced on election night in national races.

The expected red tide has not developed in these races for Governor and Congress elsewhere.

National political pundits attributed the altered results to a wave of young Democratic voters.

In Wyoming, however, the red tide grew and swallowed up a few more legislative seats.

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When it was over, Republicans could boast a super super majority on state government and representation in Washington.

If you believe in a two-party political system, like me, this is not good news.

The lopsided victory will mean an escalation of fighting within the Wyoming Republican Party with its leadership determined to oust members who do not embrace their hard-right agenda.

Democrats recorded victories in just two counties, Albany and Teton, which remained in the blue field.

The Dems even lost their last legislative seat in Sweetwater County, which was once a strong Democratic stronghold.

Even libertarian and independent candidates lost their seats because of the GOP tsunami.

Either way, the Wyoming House will once again have two Zwonitzers – Dan and his father Dave Zwonitzer.

The former Zwonitzer previously served the House, but ran for Senate District 6 in 2016 and lost the Republican primary by five votes to Sen. Anthony Bouchard.

He was elected this year to House District 43 in Cheyenne.

The highest number of write-in votes was cast in the House District election, a seat won by House Majority Leader Ogden Driskill of Devils’ Tower, who was unopposed in the general election.

A total of 1,579 write-in votes were cast for the seat, reportedly on behalf of Roger Connett who lost the GOP primary election to Driskill.

Driskill, who is likely to be the next Senate president, surveyed 4,785 people.

As for the constitutional amendments on the ballot, voters passed the one that gives local governments the ability to invest in the stock market.

I was surprised it passed given today’s volatile stock market and opposition from the county commissioners’ organization.

Voters have made it clear that they do not want former judges to sit on the courts.

The vote was 115,812 against raising the retirement age from 70 to 75 while 74,633 votes were in favour.

Odd. Wyoming has had a number of seasoned and well-equipped judges to serve beyond 70 years.

Some want to continue while others are ready to quit.

A few of the retired judges continue to serve as judges on an as-needed basis. They are definitely an asset.

Finally, we have local school board elections which are supposed to be non-partisan but are politicized. in Laramie County, the GOP went so far as to endorse some candidates running for Cheyenne school board positions.

Like so many school board meetings, those in Cheyenne have been disrupted by some parents and others who want to control the agenda and ban certain books.

Banning books is always a red flag that should be taken very seriously by all citizens.

It should be noted that all these electoral records are unofficial. And they will be until they are certified by the State Canvassing Board.

At least it’s all over, including the weird robocalls from the Governor of Texas.

Joan Barron is a former Capitol Bureau reporter. Contact her at 307-632-2534 or [email protected]

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