From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 8, Number 37 - December 4, 2008
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

HD 22 goes to Roscoe

by Derek Farr

The voters spoke – again.

Jim Roscoe (D-Wilson) won the House District 22 (HD 22) seat by 116 votes after a special election was held in Lincoln County on Nov. 25.

The special election resulted after discrepancies were discovered in Roscoe’s four-vote win during the Nov. 4 general election. Eleven miscast ballots were found in Alpine, the single Lincoln County precinct within HD 22. Th ose miscast ballots convinced the State Canvassing Board to declare the election null and void in the single precinct.

Results from Sublette and Teton Counties were certified. By discarding the Alpine vote totals, Roscoe’s opponent Charles Stough (R-Pinedale) held a 41-vote lead going into the special election.

For two weeks Alpine became Wyoming’s political epicenter as both candidates, and their political parties, sought victory in the state’s only legislative special election.

The first time around, Roscoe beat Stough by 45 votes but in the special election, Roscoe won the precinct by 157 votes.

It was turnout that proved to be the difference.

A total of 691 votes were cast in the general election but only 483 were tallied in the special election.

Only 48 fewer votes were cast for Roscoe in the special election while turnout for Stough dropped by 160. That discrepancy was all Roscoe needed to solidify a 2,843 to 2,727 win.

“I was humbled and honored,” he said from Vermont in a phone interview. “It was a complex mix of emotions after the second time around.”

Now Roscoe must transform from candidate to representative.

He has been named to the House Minerals Committee.

And he said he was pleased to see property-tax relief addressed in Gov. Dave Freudenthal’s (D) supplemental

budget message where the Governor “allocated $39 million for one year property-tax relief within the ‘Homestead Exemption’ format.”

The exemption would apply to owner-occupied residences with a market value of $237,000 or less and would exempt the first $5,000 of a home’s taxable value for an owner/occupier.

“That would get things going right away,” Roscoe said. “Instead of a constitutional amendment that wouldn’t get things going until 2010.” Roscoe also noted the governor had set aside a separate $100,000 appropriation for brucellosis-vaccine research at the University of Wyoming.

“That’s a start,” Roscoe said.

Next up for the fledgling representative is an orientation late next week in Cheyenne where he will also seek out a hotel room to call home for this year’s 40-day legislative session beginning Jan. 13.

Roscoe has already made some waves at the capitol; as Republican Monte Olson’s successor in the state house his election has put Democrats just one vote from holding a third of the chamber’s seats, which would be a theoretical veto-proof percentage. In the next session Republicans will control the house, 41-19.

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