Attack ads have marred our election – Mark Gordon for Wyoming Governor

Attack ads have marred our election

By David Peck, via The Lovell Chronicle

Is your mind made up yet? Have you figured out who you’re going to vote for in Tuesday’s Primary Election?

This is simply one of the most difficult-to-call, hard-fought Wyoming elections in recent memory, from contested races at the state level to our 12-candidate race for county commissioner here in Big Horn County – mostly in the Republican races.

The Wyoming Governor’s race has been fiercely fought on the Republican side and is also too close to call. State Treasurer Mark Gordon is a well-respected official who has served his state well, but five others are pounding away at the perceived front-runner, hoping to pull the upset.

We are disturbed to see the terribly negative and misleading attack ads leveled against Treasurer Gordon, an honorable man who doesn’t deserve the shots taken at him. Some of the attacks have come from the campaign of challenger Harriet Hageman of Cheyenne. At least they can be identified. But others have come from a nebulous “dark money” source called Protecting Our Constitution, which, according to a story in the Casper Star-Tribune Wednesday “is neither listed with the Wyoming Secretary of State’s Office nor is it listed as an active political action committee with the Wyoming Board of Elections.”

It is troubling that this kind of attack campaigning has come to Wyoming, and to Gordon’s credit, he has refused to turn negative himself. We like Gordon and believe he is the most qualified candidate to serve as Governor of Wyoming. He knows Big Horn County and has fed calves in Otto, for instance. He has helped our communities as a member of the State Loan and Investment Board.

Gordon understands agriculture, small business, state government, education and high level finance. He’s clearly the best qualified candidate to move our state forward through the brambles of the state budget crisis. He has both experience and integrity, and he has the necessary work ethic.

After speaking as Treasurer at the Lovell Area Chamber of Commerce spring banquet a few years ago, Gordon stayed well after the event to help put away tables and chairs with members of the chamber board. He’s simply a good man.

There are other good people running for Governor, among them Bill Dahlin, Foster Friess and Taylor Haynes. All have spent time in Big Horn County. Sam Galeotos may be a successful Cheyenne businessman, but he has hardly darkened the door of our county.

We urge voters to not give in to the “Gordon is a liberal” hype spewed mostly by unaccountable sources and, rather, support a man of honor who knows our county and our communities.

At the local level, we admire anyone willing to stick his or her neck out to run for an office like county commissioner, and there are many quality candidates on the ballot seeking two GOP nominations. How the vote will come down is anybody’s guess. It’s simply too tough to call, with four candidates from north Big Horn County and eight from south Big Horn County, among them the lone incumbent, Felix Carrizales of Burlington.

Two years ago, north Big Horn County candidates Rich Fink and Nick Lewis essentially cancelled each other out with one seat at play, but this year it’s a hodgepodge with the 12 GOP hopefuls vying for two seats, and it’s difficult to say how it will play out.

But we can say this: the quality of the candidates is high, and it’s a positive thing that so many good people are willing to serve. It will be fascinating to see the results come in on Tuesday night as the precincts report.

The other truly interesting race is the battle for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate. Sen. John Barrasso is receiving a rare strong challenge by Jackson businessman Dave Dodson, and in this case it’s the incumbent frontrunner, Sen. Barrasso, who has turned to negative ads portraying Dodson as an outsider. Barrasso will likely win, but it may be closer than people expect.

Other tight races include the GOP race for Senate District 19, where Sen. Ray Peterson is receiving a challenge from RJ Kost of Powell, the statewide battles for Auditor and Treasurer and a four-way race for mayor of Lovell, with two advancing to the General Election.

It is incredible to think that some folks will not vote on Tuesday, but there will be many who ignore our most treasured right. We urge everyone to carefully consider the candidates and vote for the man or woman who will do the best job for each office.

That may seem like a no-brainer, but sometimes a lot of flak gets in the way. Be sure to vote on Tuesday, and may the truly best person win.

–David Peck