News of Riverton, Lander and Fremont County, Wyoming, from the Ranger's award winning journalists.
Here's the post-election prediction scoreboard
Nov 13, 2012 - By Steven R. Peck
I doubt Karl Rove is doing this, nor the football prognosticators who picked Alabama and USC to go undefeated in college football and play for the national championship, but I am here to check the results of the Nov. 6 election against my printed predictions.
- U.S. Congress: I didn't have to venture far out on the limb to predict victory for both U.S. Sen. John Barrasso and U.S. Rep. Cynthia Lummis. Both won easily. The only prediction worthy of attention that I did make was that Barrasso would get more votes than Lummis. Both ran well, but Barrasso did better, capturing more than 12,000 votes in Fremont County. That was 74 percent of the total.
In fact, Dr. John could make a claim that he is the most popular senator in America. On election day he was returned to office with the highest winning percentage among all the Senate races nationwide, more than 70 percent statewide.
- Wyoming House District 28: Just 344 votes in Fremont County were cast for representation in this district that has scooped up Shoshoni as part of a district consisting primarily of Hot Springs County and a bit of Washakie County. No more local representation for Shoshoni, whose new rep in the House will be Nathan Winters, as predicted here.
- Wyoming House District 33: After some hemming and a bit of hawing, my prediction was "(Patrick) Goggles will survive in a tight one" over Jim Allen. That's exactly what happened, with the Democratic incumbent beating the Republican former legislator by a nose. On election night the reported margin was just 26 votes, or .7 percent, but the canvassing board report later in the week expanded the difference to about 100 votes. Still very close, but Goggles has survived his second strong challenge in a row.
- House District 55: I predicted that incumbent Dave Miller of Riverton would turn back the challenge of Democrat Sherry Shelley, simply because HD55 is a heavily Republican district, and Miller is a well-established Republican. Some people smelled an upset here, and I hedged my bet a bit because of that sentiment, but Miller won, as predicted. (We did appreciate Sherry's post-election cookies, however.)
- Fremont County Commission District 4: I had bet on Pat Hickerson to win another term over the challenge of Democr ... er, Independent Stephanie Kessler, wondering if the old at-large voting system might have given Kessler a chance to "sneak into third place and be elected."
She didn't need to do any sneaking, beating Hickerson about 52 percent to 48 percent. It was the breakout performance of the entire election, and it immediately makes the county commission a much more interesting and unpredictable entity: three newcomers, two of them non-Republicans, and two of them women.
- Fremont County Commission District 4: I paraphrase what I wrote in my primary election predictions and again last week: Seeing is believing when in comes to betting against Doug Thompson. He won handily over Independent Nathan Maxon, 58-42 percent.
- Central Wyoming College Subdistrict 1: I saw it as about an even-money proposition that either Judy Pedersen or Frank Welty, the two contrarians on a college board that would prefer more unanimity, at least publicly, would be defeated. "I'll bet on Welty... with Heather Christensen coming closest to him," read my prediction. This was my biggest botch of the ballot, as Christensen won handily, nearly outpolling Welty and Kari Greibel combined. Welty, it turned out, finished a distant third.
- Central Wyoming College Subdistrict 2: "She may well survive," I wrote of Pedersen, who raced three strong challengers. As often happens, the challengers split the opposition vote. More voters didn't vote for Pedersen than voted for her, but her 36.5 percent was enough to win. I thought Nicole Schoening had the best chance to pull the upset, but Tim Payne ran better countywide and finished second.
- CWC Subdistrict 4: "I see incumbent Colton Crane as a solid favorite," I wrote last week -- although I had him in the wrong race. He was unopposed. What I left out was Subdistrict 5, getting my Carltons (as in Underwood) and my Coltons (as in Crane) a bit confused. My intent was to call Underwood as the winner over Grundy Snyder, which is how it came out. I'm claiming this one.
- Lander City Council, Ward 1: Prediction: "Dan Hahn over Sollie Cadman, narrowly." Result: Dan Hahn over Sollie Cadman, 53-47 percent.
- Lander City Council, Ward 2: I predicted that Ken Stroh would squeeze out the win over Cade Maestas, but Maestas won it, turning the table on the primary election result.
- Riverton City Council, Ward 2: I bet that Lee Martinez would benefit from the reduction of the three-man primary field to a two-man general and win a photo finish. He did benefit, but the photo finish showed Todd Smith by a nose -- 29 votes among 1,376 ballots cast.
- Riverton City Council, Ward 3: I predicted that Lars Baker's primary lead would shrink but not enough for Larry Bauman to overtake him. Check. Baker by 104 votes in a 1,400-vote election.
- Constitutional amendments: Only one of the three amendments met what normally would be the constitutional standard for altering the founding document of our state. The other two were feel-good amendments that are OK on their merits but have no business being in the Constitution of the State of Wyoming. Naturally, the amendment that actually addressed a real issue of governance failed statewide, while the two bumper-sticker amendments passed by big margins. As for my predictions, I'll claim partial credit on Amendment C, which I put at "even money to pass." Fremont County carried it 51-49 percent, but it failed by about that same margin statewide.
I predicted correctly that the anti-Obamacare Amendment A would pass in "our supercharged political climate," and it did. (Friends, the law has passed at the federal level, it already has been implemented to a significant degree, and the states always have had the chance to opt out of it if they want to. Amending the state's constitution changes none of that.)
Amendment B, which proclaims our state's hunting, fishing and trapping heritage as a foundation of state government, carried by the biggest margin of anything on the ballot. It got more votes than Romney or Barrasso did. It doesn't exactly have that Bill of Rights flavor to it, but, as Will Rogers probably said, "votes is votes." I got it wrong.
Be careful, Wyoming. Let's not trivialize our state's constitution by tacking bumper stickers on it.
- Optional 1 percent sales tax: I wrote last of my "sense that the tax can win." It did, 51-49 percent. Four years from now, we can turn it back off if we like. We'll help voters keep an eye on how the money is being used, with best wishes for a productive program of infrastructure improvements.
- President of the United States: Sorry, but I never got the feeling that Romney had ever pulled even with President Obama, much less taken the lead. There is a big country out there beyond our borders, beyond our time zone, and Obama was strong in most of it.
On election night I scratched out a list of the seven "swing states" I thought would decide the election: Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Colorado, Virginia and Iowa. (Some of the election analysts had put Arizona and/or North Carolina on the swing-state list, but I didn't.)
As the results came in while we worked in The Ranger newsroom Tuesday night , I checked off each state and put either an O or and R next to the state, indicating the winner. Obama won every one of them. I'm not sure I would have gone so far as to predict that, but what I did write last week was "almost everything would have to go perfectly for Romney for him to pull this off ... " and "I predict Barack Obama will be re-elected."
Not my all-time best election, predictions-wise, but a fun one all the same. I'm registered to vote -- and predict -- again in 2014.