Recapping Primary Election by the numbers

JACKSON HOLE, WYO – With yesterday’s winners and losers shaking out this morning, a few candidates have passed on their thoughts about the results of the Primary.

Town Council race

Arne Jorgensen led the field for town council, outpacing even incumbent Don Frank, the next highest vote getter.

“I want to thank everyone who believed in my experience and my ideas. I am honored to be moving on to the general election. Our community is extraordinary, and we are fortunate to have many extraordinary people willing to lead and be voices for our town,” Jorgensen stated. “Participating in this campaign has helped me learn even more about our community and its members. I am honored to have your votes and the opportunity to project my voice a little louder for the values we collectively believe in.”

Jessica Sell Chambers was on the bubble, narrowly edging out Judd Grossman for the last spot on the General Election ballot. She missed much of the campaign doings including all local forums due to a family illness out of state. She said she is ready to hit the campaign trail hard leading into November.

“So, I made it through! Thank you, everyone, for voting for me,” she said on her Facebook page. “Stay tuned for next steps. There’s more work to do.”

For Grossman, it was the second time he’s had to prepare a conciliatory message after the polls closed.

“Well, I’m out of the running for town council this go-round. Congratulation to the winners, and thanks to all the folks who supported me. I’ll keep fighting for our town and I hope you will, too!” Grossman stated on social media.

Zachary Padilla brought up the rear in voting for town council. He was thankful for the support. “Thank you for all your loving support. I can’t tell you what it means to me. Please continue to stand up for what is right,” he said.

County Commissioner race

The race for Democrat nominee for Board of County Commission was where one candidate would be eliminated and that candidate was Richard Aurelio.

Incumbent Mark Newcomb led all challengers by a slim margin over Luther Propst. Seadar Rose Davis made the cut and says she is ready to ramp up messaging for the General Election.

“Congrats to all the candidates for running and joining together to celebrate last night as a community!” she stated on Facebook. “On to the General. Thanks everyone for all the support, inspiration and love. Now the real work begins!”

On the Republican side, it was merely a litmus test for candidates to see where they stand. Mark Barron led the field there with Mary Martin and Andrew Byron rounding out the three-person ticket.

State Legislature races

Republican Bill Winney put up another strong challenge for Marti Halverson’s hold on the HD22 seat. In 2016, Winney came up short in Teton County, 213-183. This time around Winney actually received more votes than Halverson in Teton County (315-293) but could not overcome Halverson’s stronghold in Sublette and Lincoln counties where the district extends.

“Thank you, House District 22 voters. On to November!” Halverson mentioned on Facebook.

State House District 16 and 23, as well as Senate District 17 featured no opponent for party nominees on the ballot.

Governor race

The GOP nominee for Governor of Wyoming goes to Mark Gordon in a race that spurred maybe the most interest among voters headed to the Primary yesterday. The Republican’s grip on the office in recent decades is such that the August vote is often viewed as the final contest. Many voters reported switching party affiliation in order to have a say in this race.

Despite poll projections showing Foster Friess with a slight edge, the Jackson billionaire failed to take his own county, trounced 2,304 to 1,135.

The New York Times wrote: “Republicans in Wyoming on Tuesday brushed off President Trump’s 11th-hour endorsement in their governor’s race and rejected his preferred candidate, Foster Friess, one of the country’s biggest donors to conservative causes and a financial supporter of the president’s.”

Gordon’s prepared message to Wyoming read, in part:

“Jennie and I are incredibly humbled by the results of tonight’s election. From the very beginning, our campaign has been driven by, and for, Wyoming people. Tonight, Wyoming people spoke and loud clear. They saw through the anonymous attacks and out-of-state attempts to influence this race. They spoke up for Wyoming.”


A total of 6,000 voters was a new high for a Primary Election in Teton County. It equated to a 44% voter turnout, impressive for a midterm Primary.

Worthy of note is the strong showing by registered Republicans, suggesting that more than a few true blue Democrats may have switched parties just for the Primary to have a say in, presumably, the race for Governor. According to a story from WyoFile today, it appears Friess, for one, felt victim of RINO-registered voters yesterday.

By the numbers

2018 – 6,000 ballots cast, 44% turnout (68.7% R, 30.1% D)
2016 – 5,513 ballots cast, 49% turnout (48.5% R, 45.2% D)
2014 – 4,270 ballots cast, 34% turnout (57.0% R, 37.6% D)
2012 – 3,234 ballots cast, 30% turnout (66.7% R, 28.7% D)
2010 – 5,770 ballots cast, 46% turnout (60.0% R, 31.4% D)
2008 – 4,522 ballots cast, 41% turnout (55.2% R, 39.2% D)

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