Night Of The Upsets: Many Wyoming Incumbents Fall To Challengers

A number of incumbent Wyoming legislators have lost their seats in the primary elections on Tuesday night, while a few have held on.

Leo Wolfson

August 17, 20224 min read

Collage Maker 16 Aug 2022 10 32 PM

A number of incumbent Wyoming legislators have lost their seats in the primary elections on Tuesday night, while a few have held on.

State Sen. Drew Perkins, R-Casper, lost to Bob Ide in the Senate 29 Republican primary. Perkins had been in the state legislature for seven years and served as President of the Senate and majority leader during his tenure.

Ide, who attended the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, won the race by 5% of the vote, a total of 332 votes.

State Rep. Pat Sweeney, R-Casper, also lost. Sweeney had served in the legislature for five years. Bill Allemand beat Sweeney by 25% of the vote.

Incumbent State Sen. Tom James, R-Green River, lost his attempt at a second term. He is considered one of the most conservative legislators in the state, supported by Wyoming Gun Owners. Beating James was challenger Rock Springs resident Stacy Jones.

“I am so humbled by all of the support I have received. I never expected there to be such a wide margin between myself and my opponent,” Jones told Cowboy State Daily on Tuesday. “We worked hard every day and with the help of great supporters and voters, we ended up with a win. I look forward to finishing this election on top and then working hard for the citizens of Senate District 13 and Sweetwater County.”

Rep. Albert Sommers, R-Pinedale, won his primary bid for a fourth term. Sommers went against a field of two other candidates. Sommers has served in the legislature since 2017.

“I would like to thank the citizens of House District 20, particularly Sublette County for trusting me to serve them,” Sommers said. “I am truly humbled by their support and the support of the good folk who helped me in the campaign.”

Sommers beat second place challenger Mike Schmid by 720 votes. Finishing third was Bill Winney.

Rep. Steve Harshman, R-Casper, won his Republican primary for a fourth term. He fended off Steve Bray for the win. Harshman was one of many Republican Wyoming legislators accused of not being conservative enough.

Sen. Wendy Schuler, R-Evanston, won her Republican primary over Rep. Bob Wharff, R-Evanston.

“I’m beyond thrilled to have won and I’m honored to represent the people of Uinta County for a second term,” Schuler told Cowboy State Daily on Tuesday night. “I tried to represent the people to the best of my ability and I feel like they rewarded me with another four years.”

Wharff had served in the Legislature for one term. He was supported by Wyoming Gun Owners.

Rep. Barry Crago, R-Buffalo, beat Richard Tass for his bid at a second term. Tass is a former legislator who served from 2019-2021.

State Rep. Landon Brown, R-Cheyenne, won his primary election in his bid for a fourth term. Brown beat two other opponents by a sizable margin. He serves on the House Education Committee and the House Labor Committee.

Tamara Trujillo beat her cousin, incumbent State Rep. John Romero-Martinez, R-Cheyenne, in House District 44. Trujillo will face former Democratic State Legislator Sara Burlingame in the general election.

Sen. Ogden Driskill, R-Devils Tower, won his primary bid for a fourth term. Driskill said he ran again with the hopes of being Senate President.

“I can’t tell you how lucky I feel that I am able to fulfill my last term,” Driskill said. “The world has been dang nice to me. I had a feeling this red wave was coming and I would be a part of it.”

Driskill beat Rep. Bill Fortner, R-Gillette, and Roger Connett, chair of the Crook County Republican Party.

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Leo Wolfson

Politics and Government Reporter