Wyoming, Alaska Primaries Heat Up House, Senate Races

(CN) – GOP voters showed up en masse Tuesday in Wyoming’s primary elections, with mixed results for President Donald Trump’s endorsed picks.

In a bid to replace outgoing Gov. Matt Mead, Republican voters selected state Treasurer Mark Gordon for their party’s bid. Gordon beat out Foster Friess, an investor who received Trump’s endorsement, calling him “Strong on Crime” in a tweet.

Gordon will face former state Rep. Mary Throne in November. Throne won the Democratic primary with an overwhelming 71 percent of the vote. Although Wyoming is heavily Republican, it has elected Democratic governors, most recently Dave Freudenthal in 2007.

In the U.S. Senate primary, incumbent Sen. John Barrasso held on to the Republican vote against investor Dave Dodson. Dodson spent over $1 million in an effort to unseat Barrasso. Trump had previously endorsed Barrasso, an action which may have helped in a state that voted overwhelmingly for President Trump in 2016. Barrasso will go up against Democrat Gary Trauner, a businessman who ran unopposed in the primary.

Liz Cheney fended off two challengers in the GOP race for the U.S. House. The incumbent and daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney easily won with 69 percent of the vote. She will face off against Democrat Greg Hunter, a businessman who ran in a failed bid in 2002 for a House seat in Ohio.

Alaska Races

In Alaska close to 150 state legislative seats are up for grabs, but all eyes will be turned to the crowded field of experienced candidates for Governor in what is billed as a true three-way race for the state’s top spot.

Former Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell and former state Sen. Mike Dunleavy are the two Republican Party front-runners hoping to be their party’s candidate on the November ballot to go up against Democrat and former U.S. Sen. Mark Begich to unseat the incumbent Bill Walker.

Walker will be running as an independent this time around after joining forces in 2014 with now Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott to be elected as the first non-partisan ticket in the history of the 49th state. Fitting since more than 50 percent of Alaska residents are registered as nonpartisan or undeclared, according to state election officials.

Treadwell, who served alongside former Republican Gov. Sean Parnell threw his name in the hat minutes before the June 1 filing deadline. However, Parnell has endorsed Dunleavy, whose campaign had a five-month jump on Treadwell. Dunleavy has raised more than half a million dollars via a political action committee whose majority of funding came directly from Dunleavy’s Texas-based brother and Bob Penney, a longtime supporter of sport fishing.

Walker’s first four years have either made him battle ready or battle weary given his entire term focused on digging out from a $3 billion budget deficit by tapping into residents’ annual dividends from oil revenue and the cloud of Senate Bill 91, a crime bill that many blame for making Alaska’s streets less safe.

“I’m voting for Dunleavy,” Tonya Helms said. “The number one reason is that we need someone who wants to get tough on crime. The criminals are completely out of control in this state. Also, I’m hoping that he’ll find ways to cut costs and grow the economy without implementing taxes as Walker has suggested.”

The other ticket to watch will be who will attempt to unseat Don Young, the longest serving representative in the U.S. House, who has served the state since 1973. Alyse Galvin, positioning herself as an education advocate, is running as an independent under the Democratic ticket. She faces newcomer and Russian immigrant Dimitri Shein, who is running with an emphasis on health care and renewable energy.

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