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Thursday, October 12, 2017

An Update on the 2018 Governor's Race

We are just over a year away from one of the most critical elections in our state's recent history. Next year in November we will determine which way the legislature will go: left toward more spending and higher taxes or right toward less government, parent choice in education, health care freedom and private-sector driven prosperity. 

Next year's election is also critical because it will decide who is going to be our next governor. Just as the legislature can turn left or right, so can the executive branch. Given the state of our state's economy, this election is going to demand a lot of the candidates. 

So far, we don't know much about what the prospective candidates want. In fact, we don't even know that much about who the candidates are. As the Wyoming Tribune Eagle noted on September 20, Cynthia Lummis's decision not to run left the field wide open on the Republican side:
Secretary of State Ed Murray, Treasurer Mark Gordon, Auditor Cynthia Cloud and Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow ... [are all] possible Republican candidates. ... Murray said he’d be a worthy choice for voters if he chooses to make a gubernatorial bid. “I would definitely be the candidate who actually gets things accomplished,” he said. “There are those who will talk a lot about what they’ll do, but there is a clear difference in that I have a proven history of actually getting things done. I feel I would definitely be the most prepared.” 
A question for Secretary Murray: since you present yourself as a get-it-done kind of guy, what would you want to do about the Wyoming economy?

Back to the Tribune Eagle:
[Treasurer Mark] Gordon said a lot of people have encouraged him to enter the race, but like Murray, he hasn’t made a decision. “I’ve been thinking a lot about the stuff we need to do in the Treasurer’s Office to make sure that we get over this (economic) rough patch (in the state) as well as we can,” Gordon said. “I have a job to do, and I have to push it as hard as I can, so that’s what I’ve been thinking about: how I can best help Wyoming. 
The same question goes to Treasurer Gordon: what do you want to do to secure long-term growth, prosperity and opportunities for our kids and grandkids in Wyoming?
[Superintendent Jillian] Balow said she currently plans to seek re-election as state superintendent, since Wyoming faces enormous deficits in education funding in coming years and more possible changes on the federal level. “I’ll never say never … but as an educator and as a mom, it’s tough to see anything that would be more rewarding than having the opportunity to continue serving as state superintendent,” Balow said. 
Am I correct in assuming that Superintendent Balow wants to raise taxes to "fix school funding"?

The Tribune Eagle also asked Auditor Cynthia Cloud about her gubernatorial aspirations:
she does not have any plans to seek the governor’s office in 2018. “I thoroughly enjoy being the state auditor, and we’re in the midst of making a lot of improvements in the office,” she said. 
Then the paper lists three people that challenged Representative Cheney in the 2016 Republican primary: State Representative Stubson, State Senator Christensen and Laramie County Republican Party Chairman Darin Smith. All are, says the Tribune Eagle,
names that have come up on the subject of seeking the state’s highest office. Smith said he’s waiting to see “who surfaces in the race for governor,” but currently doesn’t think he’ll throw in his hat. “My main focus is putting forth principled Republican candidates,” he said. ... Stubson is currently living as a private citizen – he chose to seek the congressional office instead of pursuing a re-election bid in the state Legislature – but said he would like to return to public office someday. That likely does not include a run for governor in 2018, however. ... Christensen did not return multiple requests for comment. 
So, to sum up, according to the Tribune Eagle's inventory of potential Republican gubernatorial candidates, we have Secretary Murray, Treasurer Gordon, Superintendent Balow, Auditor Cloud, Senator Christensen, former Representative Stubson and county party chairman Smith. To this list we can add independent candidates businessman Dahlin from Sheridan and quite possibly Taylor Haynes, MD.

Each and every one of these potential candidates will have to answer three questions. If you are elected governor of Wyoming,

1. Will you sign any bill that raises taxes, or creates a need for higher taxes in the future?

2. Will you begin working on a plan to create educational freedom and parent choice in education, by Education Savings Accounts or other means?

3. Will you lead Wyoming toward independence of federal aid to states, including reforming Medicaid to an in-state only program?

There is one more candidate, of course: Democrat Mary Throne. She is the only certain candidate so far, with a website that includes a video where she allegedly explains why she wants to be governor. Furthermore, rumor has it that somewhere in this video, she tries to explain what she wants to do for our state. If you can nail down any specific policy ideas, please list them in the comments below. Thank you:

I have reached out to Throne's campaign with questions regarding her ideas for how to bring prosperity back to Wyoming. So far, she has not replied. 

Whoever the primary candidates will be on the Republican side, the campaign is going to be interesting. There is a lot - a lot - at stake. Let us hope that those who decide to run, understand just how serious our economic situation is.

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