Rob Statham does some last-minute stumping on a Cheyenne street for Wyoming governor candidate Foster Friess, who is one of six GOP candidates running for the job in next week's primary election Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2018. Statham says he particularly likes how Friess advocates for transparency in government spending. (AP Photo/Bob Moen)

The Latest: US Sen. John Barrasso wins Wyoming GOP primary

August 21, 2018 - 10:42 pm

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — The Latest on Wyoming's primary election (all times local):

8:38 p.m.

U.S. Sen. John Barrasso has fended off a well-funded challenger in Wyoming's Republican primary.

Barrasso on Tuesday beat five opponents, including investor and Stanford University lecturer Dave Dodson of Jackson Hole. Dodson put $1 million of his own money toward a campaign that questioned Barrasso's ties to corporate interests and Washington political insiders.

Barrasso won with help from long-standing name recognition and an endorsement from President Donald Trump. Trump won Wyoming by the largest margin of any state in 2016.

Barrasso's campaign, meanwhile, questioned Dodson's campaign contributions, including $1,000 to Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. Dodson explained that he gave the money out of opposition to Sanders' opponent, Hillary Clinton, but regretted it.

Barrasso faces Wilson businessman Gary Trauner in the general election. Trauner ran unopposed for the Democratic nomination.


7:00 p.m.

Polls have closed in Wyoming.

Businessman Gary Trauner of Wilson has won the Wyoming Democratic primary for U.S. Senate.

Trauner was unopposed Tuesday.

He will likely face either Republican businessman Dave Dodson or Republican Sen. John Barrasso in the general election.

Trauner ran two unsuccessful campaigns for U.S. House a decade ago. In 2006, Trauner came within half a percentage point of beating Republican Rep. Barbara Cubin.

In 2008, he lost by a 9-point margin to former state treasurer and legislator Cynthia Lummis.

Trauner faces an uphill battle to win the general election. Wyoming hasn't had a Democratic U.S. senator since Sen. Gale McGee left office in 1977.

Trauner has held a number of positions in Teton County, including president of the school board and chief operating officer of St. John's Medical Center.


3:40 p.m.

The Wyoming Secretary of State's Office says it hasn't heard of any problems with conducting Tuesday's primary election.

Office spokesman Will Dinneen also says there have been no issues with voting security.

The week before the primary, the agency hosted county officials and state cybersecurity and homeland security officials for a national virtual cybersecurity exercise.

The office says Wyoming's voting system is secure in part because it's never connected to the internet and cannot be hacked or subject to cyber threats.

Wyoming received $3 million recently from the federal government for election security and improved technology. The state used it to purchase new voting equipment and to address any cybersecurity issues.


3:25 p.m.

Wyoming gubernatorial candidate Mark Gordon says last-minute automated calls to voters are trying to tarnish his record.

The Republican says some calls falsely accuse him of being "anti-energy."

Wyoming is the top coal-mining state and the future of the coal industry has been a big issue leading up to Tuesday's primary.

The Wyoming Mining Association says some calls come from a group named "Wyoming Friends of Coal," which doesn't appear to have a website or listed phone number. A message left for the "Wyoming Friends of Coal" through its Facebook account wasn't immediately returned Tuesday.

The mining association says the calls are "garbage politics." The association hasn't endorsed any candidates for governor, saying all of the candidates appear to support Wyoming's coal industry.


3:00 p.m.

There's some Democratic cross-over voting in Wyoming's Republican primary.

Retired police officer Pat Seals, of Cheyenne, says he changed over from Democratic registration to be able to vote in the Republican primary. That's not uncommon in Wyoming, which allows voters to change party registration at the polls and vote in whichever primary they want.

Seals says Democrats aren't running many people in Wyoming this year and he wants his vote to be more consequential.

Seals says he voted for Secretary of State Mark Gordon for governor. Seals says he likes Gordon's experience in government — none of the other five Republicans running for governor has held elected office before.

Seals also voted for Dave Dodson for U.S. Senate. Dodson is challenging incumbent Republican Sen. John Barrasso and Seals says it's time for "fresh air" in Washington, D.C.


11:40 a.m.

The Wyoming governor's race in Tuesday's primary election brought 18-year-old Slade Raine of Cheyenne out to the polls to vote for the first time.

Raine says he voted in the Republican primary for Cheyenne businessman Sam Galeotos, who is one of six candidates for the office on the GOP side.

He says all six candidates were good, but he had a "good feeling" about Galeotos and liked the ideas that Galeotos offered.

For U.S. Senate, Raine says he went with Jackson Hole business investor Dave Dodson over incumbent John Barrasso.

He says he felt it was time for a change in that seat and a mailing from Dodson's campaign decided his vote.


11 a.m.

The Wyoming Secretary of State's Office reports that 32,147 ballots were cast in advance of Tuesday's statewide primary election.

Voters could cast early ballots through the mail or in-person leading up to the election, which features races for governor and U.S. Senate.

About 90 percent of the absentee ballots sent by out by county clerks were returned.

Polls opened at 7 a.m. and will close at 7 p.m. for people who choose to cast ballots in the traditional way.


9:40 a.m.

In an unusual move, one of the Republican candidates for Wyoming U.S. Senate seat has withdrawn from the race.

Charlie Hardy withdrew has application for the Republican Party nomination on Monday afternoon, less than 24 hours before the polls opened Tuesday.

Hardy was one of five challengers seeking to unseat incumbent John Barrasso.

But Hardy was never seen as a serious challenger in the primary. He had switched his party affiliation after running unsuccessfully for the Senate in 2014 as a Democrat against Mike Enzi and advocated for policies that were far more liberal than other candidates.

In announcing his withdrawal, Hardy says he was endorsing Jackson businessman Dave Dodson for the job.


7:10 a.m.

The polls are open in Wyoming, where voters will choose from among six Republican candidates for governor and decide whether a wealthy outsider has made his case to oust an influential U.S. senator.

The governor's race is Wyoming's most contested since 2010, when Matt Mead won 29 percent of the vote to beat six others in the Republican primary.

This year, the largest share of Republican governor votes could go to any of at least four candidates, including investor and philanthropist Foster Friess, State Treasurer Mark Gordon, attorney Harriet Hageman and businessman Sam Galeotos.

In the Republican U.S. senate primary, Jackson Hole business investor Dave Dodson has tapped at least $1 million of his own funds to try to oust incumbent Sen. John Barrasso.

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