Democrat Mike Ceballos announces his candidacy for Wyoming Superintendent of Public Instruction in the Wyoming Capitol rotunda as journalists and members of the public look on. Candidates are announcing their run ahead of the May 15 filing deadline. (WyoFile/Gregory Nickerson — click to enlarge)

Slate of candidates for Wyoming elections starting to fill up

By Gregory Nickerson
— April 1, 2014
Wyoming Senate Districts (Legislative Service Office — click to enlarge)

Wyoming’s slate of candidates for state office in the 2014 elections is filling up, with the opening of candidate filing periods on May 15 still more than a month away.

Most of the state’s five executive branch offices have multiple candidates, while a smattering of candidates have announced they will run for the Wyoming House of Representatives.

This year, all House districts will be up for reelection. In the Wyoming Senate, only odd-numbered districts will be on the ballot this August and November.

Candidates may announce they are running at any time, but must file with the Secretary of State’s office between May 15 and May 30.

Executive Branch Offices

Governor

Republican incumbent Matt Mead’s primary challengers include Cheyenne resident Taylor Haynes, a doctor and former University Trustee, and current state Superintendent of Public Instruction Cindy Hill. No Democrats have announced a run for governor thus far.

Secretary of State

Incumbent Secretary of State Max Maxfield announced he won’t be running for reelection this year. Three Republican candidates have announced they will run for the office. Rep. Dan Zwonitzer (R-Cheyenne), a ten-year veteran of the legislature, has put his name in the hat. He’ll go up against Rock Springs lawyer Clark Stith in the Republican primary this August.

Update: Former Speaker of the Wyoming House of Representatives Ed Buchanan (R-Torrington) announced by email that he is running for Secretary of State. Buchanan won election to the House in 2003 and served as Speaker from 2010-2012, immediately preceding current Speaker Rep. Tom Lubnau (R-Gillette).

Former Rep. Pete Illoway (R-Cheyenne) has also joined the race for Secretary of State. He served in the legislature from 1999-2012 and was chairman of the House Corporations, Elections, and Political Subdivisions Committee. He was also state public sector chair for the American Legislative Exchange Council.

Cheyenne real estate developer and businessman Ed Murray filed as a candidate for Secretary of State on May 15. Murray has served on Cheyenne LEADS Economic Development Corporation and as president of the Laramie County Community college Foundation.

Finally, Jennifer Young plans to run for Secretary of State as a third-party candidate. She is  state chair of the Constitution Party. Last year she led the campaign to put a referendum on Senate file 104 on the ballot. The petition effort gained 22,000 signatures out of the 37,600 needed.

Mike Ceballos announces his run for Superintendent of Public Instruction. (WyoFile/Gregory Nickerson — click to enlarge)

Superintendent of Public Instruction

With incumbent Republican Cindy Hill running for Governor, two candidates have announced they will run for the Superintendent of Public Instruction. Democrat Mike Ceballos, former Qwest Communications President for Wyoming, announced his candidacy during the legislative session. He is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in educational leadership at the University of Wyoming.

Jillian Balow, an administrator in the Department of Family Services, is running for as the Republican candidate for the seat. A former teacher, she worked in the Wyoming Department of Education before transferring to the Department of Family Services. In that office she helped support an effort to draft legislation to increase coordination between state agencies working on early-childhood issues last fall. So far Balow has no challengers in the Republican primary.

Update: Bill Winney of Bondurant filed for the Republican primary race for Superintendent of Public Instruction on May 20. Winney is a former submarine commander in the U.S. Navy. He made unsuccessful bids for U.S. House of Representatives in 2006 and 2008, and for Wyoming House of Representatives in 2010 and 2012.

State Treasurer and Auditor

The Republican incumbents in the state treasurer’s office and the state auditor’s office both have announced that they will run this November. Cynthia Cloud of Cody was elected state auditor in 2010, and treasurer Mark Gordon was selected by Gov. Matt Mead from a slate of candidates to take over the duties of that office when former treasurer Joe Meyer died in 2012.

Legislative Retirements

Vacancies have opened up in at least three legislative seats this year. Sen. John Hines (R-Gillette) announced he will retire from the seat he has held since 1984, while Rep. Keith Gingery (R-Jackson) is retiring after 10 years. Rep. Patrick Goggles (D-Ethete) is also stepping down from his House seat.

Wyoming House Districts. (Not all districts shown.) (Legislative Service Office — click to enlarge)

House Candidates

House District 5 – Goshen County

Incumbent Rep. Matt Teeters (R-Lingle) will go up against Republican challenger Cheri Steinmetz of Lingle this August. Teeters is the current House chair of the Joint Education Committee, where he has worked on education accountability and other topics.

In the past Cheri Steinmetz has been involved with the Wyoming Watchdogs grassroots organization, and has been an opponent of United Nations Agenda 21 and the High Plains Initiative land-planning project in Platte and Goshen County. She made an unsuccessful run for state senator Curt Meier (R-LaGrange) in 2010, and has worked as a citizen lobbyist.

House District 6 – Converse County

Incumbent Rep. Richard Cannady (R-Glenrock) faces challenges from two Republican candidates in their twenties.

Douglas candidate Chris Sorge, 22, is a former state legislative intern and retail worker. He and Cannady will face 27-year-old pipeline worker Lloyd Cope in the August primary.

House District 22 – Lincoln/Sublette/Teton County

Incumbent Rep. Marti Halverson (R-Etna) will face a challenge from Democrat Natalia Macker in the November election. Halverson is a freshman lawmaker and retiree from the medical device industry, while Macker is a theater producer, actress, and dancer from Hoback.

House District 29 — Sheridan County

Incumbent Rep. John Patton (R-Sheridan) will face challenger Ryan Mulholland in the Republican primary. Patton is a veteran of the legislature who first served in the 1960s and had a career in the State Senate.  Mulholland is founder and owner of Ptolemy Data Systems, a high-security data center located in Sheridan. Earlier this month he wrote a letter to the editor of the Sheridan Press defending criticisms he made of the federal government.

House District 33 — Fremont County

With Rep. Patrick Goggles (D-Ethete) stepping down, two Republicans who unsuccessfully challenged him in previous elections will be facing off against each other. Jim Allen of Milford will run against Daniel Cardenas of St. Stephens. Allen lost to Goggles in 2012, while Cardenas ran against Goggles in 2010 and lost by just 19 votes, according to County 10 news site.

— Gregory Nickerson is the government and policy reporter for WyoFile. He writes the Capitol Beat blog. Contact him at greg@wyofile.com.

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Gregory Nickerson

Gregory Nickerson worked as government and policy reporter for WyoFile from 2012-2015. He studied history at the University of Wyoming. Follow Greg on Twitter at @GregNickersonWY and on www.facebook.com/GregoryNickersonWriter/

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  1. Former Republican legislator Ed Buchanan of Torrington announced a bid to run for Secretary of State in a recent email.