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Legislative hopefuls spent $113,000 in 2012 election

Nov 27, 2012 - By Christina George, Staff Writer

Candidates for Wyoming Legislature seats representing Fremont County combined to spend more than $113,000 in the 2012 election campaign.

Only two candidates in Wyoming spent more in this year's election than Lloyd Larsen of Lander. The Wyoming Secretary of State's office reports that Larsen filed his mandated campaign data listing $35,371.32 in expenditures.

Larsen garnered nearly 57 percent of votes cast in his race for House District 54 in the Nov. 6 general election on his way to defeating Democrat Bruce Palmer of Lander. Larsen spent most of his funds, $22,469, for the August primary election.

The race for the HD 54 became a contest to watch after longtime Rep. Del McOmie, R-Lander, announced that he would step down after 14 years of service.

HD 54 covers Lander and some surrounding areas.

Larsen defeated GOP challengers Eileen Oakley and Andrew Gramlich in the primary election. The win moved Larsen forward to the general election against Palmer, who defeated Michelle Hoffman in the primary.

By the time the general election rolled around, a third opponent, Libertarian Ryan Jones, joined Larsen and Palmer.

According to the state report, the six candidates vying for HD 54 spent an average of $12,580. 47 and received an average $12,996.19 in contributions. It was the fifth most expensive race in Wyoming this year.

Larsen claimed $36,832.50 in contributions, which was the third-largest reported amount statewide. The candidate and his immediate family donated roughly 58 percent of the total, or $21,400.

About 29 percent, or $10,782.50, came from individual donators. Political action committees and the county and state Republican parties also made contributions to Larsen's campaign.

Palmer was the 12th-largest spender statewide, at a reported $18,512.78 in expenditures. His primary election challenger Hoffman followed in 15th at $14,953.

Palmer reported $18,539 in contributions, which was the 13th largest amount statewide. The bulk of it, 68.4 percent, or $12,679, came from individuals. Federal PACs and immediate family each donated 9.7 percent, or $1,800.

Jones reported he and his immediate family donated the full $1,202.53 he listed as expenditures.

Other races

- Rep. David Miller, R-Riverton, filed $5,132.63 in expenditures and $5,500 in contributions for his successful re-election bid. The figures compare to the reported $7,560.01 in expenditures and $8,613.60 in contributions for Democratic challenger Sherry Shelley.

Libertarian candidate Bethany Baldes reported zero in both expenditures and contributions.

- Rep. Patrick Goggles, D-Ethete, also won re-election and filed $8,249 in expenditures, which is $50 less than what his GOP challenger Jim Allen reportedly spent.

Goggles reported $8,350 in contributions, while Allen collected $7,990.

- HD 28 winner Nathan Winters claimed $18,514.10 in expenditures and $19,920.58 in contributions while his Democratic opponent Connie Skates reported $4,437.17 and $5,775 respectively.

HD 28 covers parts of three counties including the Shoshoni and Lysite areas of Fremont County. Current Rep. Lorraine Quarberg, R-Thermopolis, did not seek re-election.

According to the report, Winters's expenditure total was the sixth largest statewide.

- Rep. Rita Campbell, R-Shoshoni, who ran unopposed in the general election for HD 34 reported $5,296.01 in expenditures and $2,550 in contributions for her campaign this year.

- Sen. Eli Bebout, R-Riverton, also ran unopposed this year and was the lone senator in Fremont County up for re-election. Bebout, who represents Senate District 26, filed $1,193.75 in expenditures and $5,876.85 in contributions.

Statewide

House District 7 (Laramie County) Democratic candidate Joe Fender topped the state list, claiming $45,931.80 in expenditures, followed by House District 22 (northwest Wyoming) Republican candidate Marti Halverson at $41,051.35.

Halverson won, but Fender was defeated.