In a squeaker, incumbent state Sen. Cale Case won the Republican Primary Election for his Lander district.
Case was challenged this season by Shawn Olmstead, a Riverton man hailing from Colorado who billed himself as an ultra-conservative political candidate.
Though registered Republican, Case often describes himself as a Libertarian thinker.
There is no Democratic candidate for the same district to challenge Case in the General Election this November.
As Lander, the Wind River Indian Reservation towns, and Riverton numbers rolled in to the Fremont County Clerk’s office late Tuesday night, Case trailed consistently by a slim margin.
Then came the tally of the absentee voters.
Ultimately Case, who has been a state legislator for 30 years, won the vote with 2,632 to Olmstead’s 2,150.
In his interview he said he was humbled and hoped to bridge the gap between polarized political groups.
“I’ve reached out to both sides; I believe our future involves everybody working together and we can’t be polarized. I believe it sincerely,” said Case. “I’m grateful for the win, for all the people who supported me.”
Olmstead did not return a voicemail Tuesday evening requesting comment.
Case’s district is one of the most politically diverse usually, with heavy Democratic presence on the Wind River Indian Reservation, significant Democratic presence in Lander, and prevailing Republican presence in his district’s portion of Riverton and surrounding rural areas.
One of a handful of pro-choice Republicans in the Wyoming Legislature, Case believes his record on the issue may have played a role in how close his race was.
State legislators now have more power over abortion policy than they have in nearly 50 years, with the U.S. Supreme Court overturn of Roe vs. Wade in June.
Case told Cowboy State Daily early on Tuesday – before his close win – that he hopes to get the state’s budget in line before the American Rescue Plan Act funding runs out, by making the state “fiscally responsible.”
He also said Wyomingites should figure out how to deal with the U.S. Congress’ recently passed Inflation Reduction Act, which Case called “a gross misnomer” that will not reduce inflation but will harm the economy.
Case has been a longtime proponent for imposing higher taxes on renewable energy companies setting up shop in Wyoming, particularly wind farms.