Fifty-five percent of county’s registered voters cast ballots, some election surprises

(Lander, Wyo.) – Fremont County voters turned out in greater numbers than expected Tuesday night with some very close races and some thought to be close that didn’t turn out that way.

A total of 9,057 ballots were cast, compared with the last primary election in August of 2012 when 7,904 votes were cast. With 17,412 total registered voters, the turnout this year was just over 55 percent. In Tuesday’s voting, there were 7,457 Republican ballots, 1,455 Democratic ballots and 135 voters cast non-partisan ballots.

There were 1,608 absentee ballots turned in to the county election office before today’s voting.

The closest vote of the night was the Riverton Mayoral contest, with John “Lars” Baker winning by only three votes over city council member Richard Gard. Both will advance to the General Election in November.

In other tight races, State Senator Cale Case of Lander defeated two challengers with 45 percent of the vote to advance to the general election against Democrat Sergio A. Maldonado Sr. who defeated Travis Brockie.

One of the night’s biggest surprises was former Deputy County Attorney Patrick LeBrun’s wide margin of victory over the appointed incumbent Michael Bennett. LeBrun grabbed 65 percent of the vote in a race that was thought to be much tighter.

Sheriff Skip Hornecker easily won a challenge from former Riverton Police Captain Mark Stone capturing 70 percent of the vote. Hornecker will be unopposed in the general.

Incumbent HD34 State Representative Rita Campbell overcame a challenge from two Dubois residents to win nomination. Campbell received a big boost from down valley voters. She is unopposed in the general.

Chief Deputy Coroner Mark Stratmoen easly won his first attempt at elective office, topping Lander Funeral Director Dominic Weigel with 66 percent of the vote.

In State House District 33 in a race to replace retiring Democrat Patrick Goggles, Jim Allen won the Republican nomination while Andrea “Andi” Clifford is the Democratic nominee.

In the race for the county commission, Incumbent Democrat Keja Whiteman was renominated and she will face Republican Mark Lambert in the General in Commissioner District #1.

Travis Becker was unopposed in District 3 and in District 4, incumbent Independent Stephanie Kessler will face off against Republican Ray Price, the former county planner in the November balloting.

In municipal elections, one upset was recorded when Pavillion Mayor Gary Hamlin was outvoted by challenger E. Tex Frazier. Former Lander Mayor and State Representative Del McOmie finished ahead of council member Dan Hahn in the county seat. Riverton’s mayoral race was the tightest in the county with John “Lars” Baker winning by three votes over council member Richard Gard. Scott Peters was the top vote getter in Shoshoni and Dubois Mayor Twila Blakeman won renomination for her seat. Mike Anderson was nominated in Hudson.