News of Riverton, Lander and Fremont County, Wyoming, from the Ranger's award winning journalists.
Nov 7, 2012 - By Steven R. Peck
The quirks of the ballot gave the 2012 vote its own flavor and distinction
'Big man of the future'
The Ranger hosts an election night gathering for candidates and voters every election night, and another nice crowd stopped in Tuesday for conversation, snacks and election-watching. In recent years we've brought out a few bound volumes of old newspapers from elections past. They show the gradual overlapping of candidates and elected officials from one era to the next as time strides along.
On Tuesday, this headline on page one of The Ranger caught of lot of eyes: "Romney Looks Like GOP's Big Man of the Future."
The newspaper was from 1964. It was George Romney, not Mitt Romney, who was referred to in the accompanying news story. George Romney was the governor of Michigan at the time, and his party's nominee for president, U.S. Sen. Barry Goldwater of Arizona, had come out on the wrong end of one of history's biggest landslides at the hands of President Lyndon B. Johnson.
George Romney never became president. Neither will his son. Will we see another Romney in a prominent Republican position in the future?
What's in a name?
No matter how Tuesday's vote came out, it would have been safe to predict Moss as a winner in the Arapahoe school board election -- simply on the basis of mathematics. There were three candidates named Moss among the 11 on the School District 38 ballot, competing for three available spots.
However, none of the three candidates named Moss broke through in District 38. The three winners were Charlene Brown, Theodore Bell and John Goggles. Among the Mosses -- Skeeter, Maxine and Preston -- Skeeter got the most votes.
Who won the closest victory Tuesday on the local ballot? Results haven't been fully certified yet, but it looks to be Darla Keever in the Shoshoni Town Council race. There were two seats open, with four candidates on the ballot. Ken Cundall was the clear frontrunner with 148 votes, but Keever beat Marcus by just five votes, 109-104, for second place. Keever got 23.90 percent of the vote, Marcus 23.81.
Other squeakers: Also in Shoshoni, Wedge Fike squeezed into the final available school board slot. With eight candidates running for three available seats, Emily Jarvis and Kelly Gardner were clear winners for the first two. For the third, Fike defeated Gary Smith 272-265, a difference of seven votes and a victory margin of 14.64 percent to 14.26 percent.
The two closest head-to-head races were in House District 33, where incumbent Democrat Patrick Goggles edged Republican challenger Jim Allen by 26 votes out of 2,929 cast. The final tally was 1,473 for Goggles, 1,447 for Allen, with nine write-ins. Goggles 50.29 percent, Allen 49.40.
In Riverton City Council Ward 2, incumbent Todd Smith held out for a 29-vote win over former councilman Lee Martinez, 702 to 673. The 29-vote edge equated to 50.98 percent for Smith, 48.87 percent for Martinez.
And the optional 1 percent sales tax also was tight as a drum, passing by 335 votes countywide among 16,445 cast. That's a winning percentage of 51.02 percent to 48.89 percent.
Biggest vote-getter: human
The biggest vote-getter on the Fremont County ballot Tuesday was U.S. Sen. John Barrasso, finally elected to a full six-year term after being appointed to fill a vacancy in 2007 and winning a special election to finish out the unexpired term of the late Craig Thomas the following year. Barrasso got 12,366 votes on his way to an overwhelming victory statewide over Democrat Tim Chesnut.
Biggest vote-getter: non-human
Barrasso can claim the most votes among all the candidates, but the biggest vote total on the ballot came on the question of Constitutional Amendment B, which affirms the hunting, fishing and trapping heritage of our state. It collected 14,274 "yes" votes, or 88.42 percent of the total.
Four more years
All eyes were on the presidential campaign, and Wyoming delivered Republican Mitt Romney the second-largest percentage of votes in the nation -- 69.3 percent -- behind only Utah, whose large Mormon voters base and red-state reputation figured to weigh hugely for Romney. Utah voters gave Romney 72.8 percent of their ballots. President Obama won nationwide, however, with his biggest state percentage coming from his birth state, Hawaii (70.6 percent).
In Fremont County, Romney claimed 65.38 percent, Obama 31.49 percent.