By Laura Hancock, Cowboy State Daily
In 2016, President Donald Trump cruised to victory in Wyoming, winning around 70 percent of the popular vote and every county except Teton – one of the highest victory margins in the country. Will 2020 be any different?
His net approval rating in Wyoming remains strong – having only decreased by 5 percentage points since taking office. In November, his approval rating was 66 percent, according to Morning Consult, the technology and media company that has the only regular publicly released presidential approval ratings that include the Cowboy State.
“The good news is the president is going to win Wyoming,” said Teton County GOP Chairman Alex Muromcew. Even if he could lose Teton County again.
“I think it’s a likely possibility, in addition to Teton, we could see Albany County going for whoever is the Democratic nominee for president,” said Joe Barbuto, chairman of the Wyoming Democratic Party. “I think it’s safe to say we’ll not see him winning by as nearly large of margins in other counties.”
Trump infrastructure in Wyoming
In comparison to other states, Trump’s campaign is modest in Wyoming at this point.
The Wyoming Trump Victory Team has four honorary chairs: Gov. Mark Gordon, U.S. Sens. Mike Enzi and John Barrasso and U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney, said Samantha Zager, a spokeswoman for Trump Victory, the fundraising committee for his reelection effort.
The campaign at this point is not as involved in Wyoming as, say, battleground states such as Ohio, where the state director for the Trump campaign was announced a month after the 2018 election.
In New Hampshire, staff has already been hired and fired.
In Wyoming it appears there are no paid Trump reelection staff yet.
In 2016, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz won support from most of Wyoming’s 29 GOP delegates at both the county conventions and the state party convention – Wyoming Republicans use both conventions to apportion delegates before the national convention.
Wyoming GOP Chair Frank Eathorne declined an interview to discuss the 2020 election, referring questions to Trump Victory.
When asked how the president’s popularity could be leveraged in down-ticket races, Eathorne said a grassroots plan was underway, but he said in a text message he couldn’t discuss it.
Barbuto predicted in many communities, Democrats will have to campaign harder because they won’t ride the coattails of Trump’s high popularity, as their Republican opponents can. But in other communities, there may be opportunities to talk about the president’s 2016 campaign promises and whether they came to fruition.
“This is an incredibly difficult economic time for Wyoming,” he said. “Everyone knows that. We see our traditional revenue sources declining. Before Donald Trump came into office, he made promises about what he would do for coal in states like Wyoming. Up until 2018, his party controlled the House and Senate. And they weren’t able to get it done. That’s because there’s economic factors that are at play here, beyond the control of the president.”
Teton County, and the Democrats
Muromcew, the Teton County GOP chair, has no doubt of Trump’s support among registered Republicans in the county. But to win a majorty of votes, a candidate has to appeal to independents in addition to Republicans.
“What makes (Teton County) unusual, politically, is that in terms of registered voters, we are about a third Republican, a third Democratic and a third independent,” he said. “…The challenge for (Trump) is to get that independent vote. And I think that is true for all Republican candidates running for office in Teton County — whether it’s local, state or national.”
It’ll be up to each candidate about whether they want to run on a pro-Trump platform in Teton County. Last year, Muromcew ran, unsuccessfully, for the Wyoming House as a write-in candidate.
“My sense is, when I ran for office last year, I tried to make my platform more about local issues, rather than it be a referendum on national issues,” he said.
Barbuto had a similar sentiment.
“Democratic candidates are going to be talking about the issues facing their community — topics like access to quality health care, diversifying our state economy, finding new revenues and most importantly, jobs to their communities,” he said.
2016 Presidential Election Totals
|Big Horn County||4,067||604|
|Hot Springs County||1,939||400|