Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Lessons in here somewhere for WyoDems

When the news about Barack Obama's victory was announced last night, I was in a room filled with Republicans. It was a small room, and there were only three of them, but it seemed as if I was surrounded. J.D. was on the main microphone, Dave was tallying the election results on a legal pad, and Bob sat next to me at the guest mike. Bob was packing, his sidearm jutting ominously from his Cheyenne Police Department holster. Big guy, big weapon -- but he's the police chief and also my state senator. He was the Republican guest and I was the Democratic guest at KFBC 1240 AM in Cheyenne. The TV in the corner was on Fixed News, but even the Fox knuckleheads had to acknowledge Obama's victory when his electoral votes ratcheted up to 297.

"Now I have to listen to Democrats gloat for four years," said Dave, scribbling on his legal pad.

I replied: "There's not that many of us in Wyoming, so it won't be too bad."

I wanted to gloat my ass off. But I was a guest at the radio station, providing some powerful insights into the conversation. Besides, my Republican state senator was packing heat.

J.D. called up the Laramie County Clerk web site to find the local results. One big surprise -- Ward 3 city councilman Pete Laybourn was last in a field of four candidates. In city council races, the top two vote-getters are elected and the bottom two go home. Pete's one of those outspoken rabble-rousers who used to appear at every city council meeting to complain about overspending, potholes, and almost everything else under the sun. He was elected four years ago and reelected in 2006. This time, his constituency thought he'd gone a bit too far when he harassed the new city attorney so badly that she quit after only a few months on the job. Maybe they'd just grown tired of his rants and bad attitude. He can ponder the reasons during retirement. But Pete isn't a retiring guy. He'll be back in his role as citizen complainant as soon as new council members are sworn in.

One of those new council members is outgoing mayor Jack Spiker, who was elected (along with incumbent Pat Collins) in Ward 2. There should be some titanic tiffs between Citizen Laybourn and Councilman Spiker when the new session rolls around.

A couple other surprises in the night's results. A close U.S. House race between Dem Gary Trauner and Repub Cynthia Lummis got worse and worse for Trauner as the night progressed. A slim Lummis lead widened until she was ahead by about 8,000 votes with 130 precincts out of 465 statewide left to report. J.D. turned to the Laramie County Clerk's page and saw that Trauner was ahead of Lummis by about 150 votes. Cheyenne is Lummis's home town! It turned out not to be the only county that came in for Trauner -- Albany, Teton and Sweetwater also went to Trauner. Gary's home county of Teton gave him the biggest margin with 3,990 votes. Albany County voters gave Gary a 2,736 vote margin while Laramie County (LummisLand) voted 20,818 to 18,642 for Trauner -- a 2,176 edge.

But the state's other 19 counties all went for Lummis. Campbell County gave Lummis a 6,500-some vote lead. That did in Gary, who lost by almost 25,000 votes. Lummis rolled out the dirty attack ads in the campaign's last week, ads that appealed to the yahoo in rural Wyomingites. Gary gonna take away your guns! He a East Coast smarty-pants Liberal! Jackson Hole! It seemed to work. Or maybe it was just a combination of events. One good thing is that we worked our butts off for Gary in Lummis's home turf. Almost 21,000 people voted for Gary in the county. We knocked on all those people's doors and called them on the phone. We were out on the streets until 6:30 and then went to the Plains Hotel to party with the other Dems. After awhile, I sauntered over to KFBC to spell my Dem cohort, Ken the Retired Fighter Pilot. I sent Ken over to the party while I faced down the Repubs.

When Ken came back for the late shift at 10, it all seemed decided. The Laramie County Clerk was reporting that District 8 incumbent Lori Millin was losing to Republican Bob Nicholas, who is filling in as Cheyenne's city attorney. The margin was only 19 votes with 100 percent of the precinct's reporting. Damn! I couldn't believe it. Lori is a great legislator and she worked hard to get reelected only to lose to this new guy. While I was elated about Obama's win, I was bummed about Lori. I went to bed disappointed.

This morning in the paper, I see Lori's smiling face on the front page with news that she'd beaten Nicholas 2,438 to 2,271. Close, but it counts. You have to wonder how Lori could be shown behind the night before with all votes counted but be the winner in the morning with even more votes counted.

There are some lessons in here for WyoDems but I haven't yet grokked them. More tomorrow....

1 comment:

victor said...

Its really nice post ,,
thanks for sharing with us,,

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