By Wendy Corr, Cowboy State Daily
Dan Laursen’s win in the primary race for Senate District 19 wasn’t certain until the results were posted on Big Horn County’s website early Wednesday morning.
When all the votes were tallied for the district’s two-county coverage area, Park and Big Horn Counties reported very different results in the three-way race between Laursen, incumbent R.J. Kost, and former legislator Ray Peterson. Laursen ultimately came out the winner.
A Tale of Two Counties
In Park County, Kost, the incumbent, received just over 35% of the votes (1,137); Peterson just over 12% (396); and Laursen had the most at 52.5% (1,697).
Although Laursen’s lead was significant, the outcome couldn’t be certain until Big Horn County results were reported.
Once those votes were made available early Wednesday morning, Laursen did come out the winner – although the results of the two races were significantly different.
In Big Horn County, which is what makes up the majority of the Senate district, Peterson won the most votes, with 1,161. Laursen came in second, receiving 883 votes to Kost’s 729.
Laursen’s total of 2,580 votes beat out incumbent Kost’s 1,866, and Peterson’s total of 1,557.
Laursen is giving up his seat as representative for House District 25, which he has held since 2015.
“I wanted to bring my conservative values to the Senate from the House,” Laursen told Cowboy State Daily. “I didn’t appreciate the way (incumbent R.J.) Kost was voting for sure. It was probably one of the biggest reasons.”
Laursen said property taxes are among the items at the top of his list of issues to address in his new role, as is the issue of school choice.
“I think the dollar should follow the student,” he said. “And where they want to go, then the dollar should go.”
House District 25, which Laursen has represented for the last eight years, is a tiny segment of northeast Park County that will now be represented by David Northrup.
Northrup, who has not held office for the last two years, previously served in the Wyoming Legislature for eight years as the representative for House District 50, which covers a majority of the northeastern part of Park County.
Northrup’s win in yesterday’s primary came after a four-way race between Troy Bray, Chris Good and Rex Rich. Northrup was the clear winner, taking a 41% share of the total votes.
Northrup’s former district is now represented by Rachel Rodriguez-Williams, who ran uncontested for House District 50 in yesterday’s primary.