Lehner, Kaufman join tightening county commission race as other incumbents file for variety of jobs


Matt Adelman, matt@douglas-budget.com



The third, and last, incumbent Converse County commissioner – Tony Lehner of Glenrock – whose seat will be on this year’s ballot formally announced he is seeking re-election in a short and sweet statement late last week. Meanwhile, the first of an expected group of challengers has filed the paperwork to challenge for one of the three open spots as Trent Kaufman of Douglas threw his hat into the ring.

In the last couple of weeks, Robert Short and Jim Willox said they would be seeking re-election, and both filed the paperwork with the Converse County Clerk’s Office to get their names on the ballot. All are Republicans.

Lehner, in a short email statement, said he would be filing: “I am excited to announce that I will be running for re-election for Converse County Commissioner. I am looking forward for the opportunity to continue to serve and represent the people of Converse County. There are many challenges facing our county but also opportunities that I would like to be a part of. It has been a great pleasure to have worked with outstanding commissioners and the elected who are so dedicated to service to our county, as well as our county employees.”

Rumors that other candidates are likely to come forward in the next few weeks to challenge the incumbents appear to have some legs. Converse County Republican Party Chairman Bill Tibbs Friday confirmed that at least three “conservative” candidates are considering runs, but he declined to say who they might be.

The filing period for the primary election began last week and runs through May 27. Usually, the clerk’s office receives a flurry of paperwork early in the period followed by a lull before another flurry in the final week or days, sometimes in the final hours, Clerk Karen Rimmer said.

As of Tuesday morning, Kaufman, Short and Willox were the only ones having filed for the four-year commissioner positions, while a host of incumbents had filed for their county jobs, including Ross Gorman as coroner, Rimmer as clerk, Joel Schell as county treasurer, and Dixie Huxtable as county assessor. All county elected positions will be on the ballot this year except for two commissioner seats that were in the 2020 election cycle.

One the municipal level, Douglas Mayor Rene Kemper is seeking re-election to a second, four-year term, as is Glenrock Mayor Bruce Roumell. Newcomer Judi Colling and incumbent Margaret Nunn have filed for the Glenrock Town Council’s two, four-year seats open.

So far (as of Tuesday morning), no one had filed for county attorney (incumbent Quentin Richardson has shared he will seek re-election); sheriff (though two candidates have announced - incumbent Clint Becker and CCSO investigator Keri McNare); Clerk of District Court (though current Clerk Pam McCullough indicated she planned to seek re-election); or either of the two, four-year seats on the Douglas City Council. Rolling Hills and Lost Springs mayors and council seats are also on this year’s ballots, and no one had filed for those positions as of Monday evening either.

The deadline to file for partisan (Republican or Democrat) positions on the primary ballot is May 27 at 5 p.m.

School board and some other special district seats are only on the general election ballot and the filing dates for those positions are later this summer.

Meanwhile, on the state level, Tuesday morning, Secretary of State Ed Buchanan unexpectedly announced he was not seeking re-election.

The Republican is a lawyer from Torrington who noted a judgeship has opened up in that area and he is interested in applying for that and would consider it a conflict to seek one position while running for state office.

State Treasurer Curt Meier last week said he was seeking re-election. His office has been mired in controversy during the last couple of years with some legislators criticizing the lack of financial record keeping and accountability. Cheyenne resident Bill Gallop has filed to run against him in the GOP primary.

Governor Mark Gordon, Brent Bien of Sheridan and Rex Rammell of Rock Springs have filed with the Secretary of State for the top state job. All are Republicans.

Kristi Racines is seeking re-election to her job as state auditor, while the  Wyoming Superintendent of Public Instruction has two Republican candidates – Megan Degenfelder of Laramie and Thomas Kelly of Sheridan – and a Democrat – Sergio Maldonado Sr. of Lander.

Closer to home, in state Senate District 23, incumbent Eric Barlow of Gillette – who has previously said he was likely not going to run for re-election after serving as Senate President – filed for re-election, according to the Secretary of State’s Office.

Jeremy Haroldson of Wheatland, whose House District 4 overlaps into Converse County, has filed for re-election as well.


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