From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 7, Number 12 - June 14, 2007
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Who wants to be a Wyoming senator?
Politicking begins for six hopefuls with names in hat as Sen. Thomas’ replacement
by Joy Ufford

There are rumors flying through the air about hopefuls angling to fill the void left by the June 4 passing of senior U.S. Sen. Craig Thomas, but as of Wednesday only six completed applications had been filed with Wyoming Republican Party Chairman Fred Parady.

They are John Barrasso of Casper, Tom Sansonetti of Cheyenne, Larry J. French of Powell, Ron Micheli of Fort Bridger, Frank Moore of Douglas and Bill Paddleford of Jackson.

Tuesday from Casper, Parady said he is “confident that numerous applications will be filed between now and the deadline of 5 p.m. Thursday, June 14.”

On the local level, Sublette County Republican Party Chair Cat Urbigkit said she hasn’t heard from any hopefuls in Sublette County but is getting plenty of phone calls and emails from people with a variety of interests.

“I have received numerous phone calls from people who have declared and who are getting ready to declare,” she said. “And friends and colleagues and supporters. I’m hearing from people within our county who would like to see a name forwarded... not just people wanting to be nominated.”

Each county has three Republican Party officials: the chair, a committeeman and a committeewoman, who in Sublette County are Dave and Mary Lankford. That makes 71 voting delegates to select three final candidates’ names to present to the governor.

“People are lobbying those 71 people,” Urbigkit said.

Committeeman Dave Lankford said only one person has contacted him about the replacement process: Dr. John Barrasso.

“I’m expecting some to be on the trail around here,” he said Tuesday. “I expect there will be some politicking.”

Applications can be found online at the Wyoming Republican Party Web site along with details about the three-part process at

Parady praised the late Sen. Thomas’ “incredible dedication.

“His stamina, grace and cordiality set the benchmark for our coming candidates seeking to fill his shoes,” he said.

Wyoming needs you

The state party’s home page belies the serious nature of the proceedings; a red, white and blue elephant proclaims, “Your state needs you! Find out how you could be the next senator from Wyoming.”

The process is more formal and serious. On June 5, Gov. Dave Freudenthal took the first step in the process and notified Parady that Sen. Thomas’ death left a vacancy. That initiated the second part of the process, a 15-day period for the Wyoming Republican Party Central Committee to select “three outstanding Republican candidates for consideration” for the office, according to state party procedure. These three names must be submitted to the governor on or before June 20.

Thirdly, the governor must select one of those three to be the new U.S. senator within five days of the date he receives their names. That final candidate will serve as senator until January of the year following the next general election (2008) in which a successor is elected to fill the remainder of the vacating senator’s term, according to state party documents.

Becoming senator

Legal requirements for applying are basic: “Any Wyoming resident who is registered to vote as a Republican and who is interested in serving in that office ... each senator must be at least 30 years old, must have been a citizen of the United States for at least the past nine years, and must be (at the time of the election) an inhabitant of the state he or she seeks to represent.”

Applications must be received by Parady by 5 p.m. today whether by email, post, fax or hand delivery. They must include a completed form, cover letter, résumé and any other information the applicant wishes to have considered.

Because a large number of applications are expected to be filed by the deadline today, Parady will distribute copies of all valid applications to the 71 statewide delegates on Friday (June 15). The next step is a meeting to nominate candidates, set for Tuesday, June 19, at 8 a.m. in Casper.

Secret ballots

The votes are cast by secret ballot with a different color ballot used for each round of voting, according to the state GOP document. The Teller Committee is then charged with counting votes for each candidate and reporting results to the Central Committee.

The specific voting procedure will be announced Friday and will follow the format of voting for “three distinct candidates in each round, dropping the candidate with the lowest tally, and then voting again. The procedure will be repeated until three candidates remain and are thus selected.

“It is anticipated that a large number of candidates may apply for the vacancy, in which case a tiered process will be used, with an initial vote, after a short opening speech by each candidate, to drop the number of candidates down to a group of eight.”

Candidates’ forum

Parady said last Monday that the Republican Party is trying to organize a candidate forum with the Casper Star Tribune, Wyoming Public TV and Radio and Casper College on Sunday, June 17, to introduce the candidates to Wyoming in an “open and interactive” process.

“The process will be open,” he said. “I want to invite every citizen of Wyoming to come and observe our work. Wyoming’s Republican Party has an incredibly deep bench and we are going to see many of our best and brightest seek this chance to serve.”

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