By Leo Wolfson, State Politics Reporter
Former President Donald Trump said Tuesday he wishes Ranchester Republican state Sen. Bo Biteman had run against Gov. Mark Gordon in the November general election.
“Bo is a good man,” Trump told Jeff Wallack during an interview for his Wyoming Is Right radio show recorded Tuesday. “I would like to see him run for governor. Press him to run. I would have endorsed him last time.”
The show is scheduled to air Saturday.
Biteman did not respond to a request for comment. The second-term senator is one of the most conservative lawmakers in the Wyoming State Legislature, where he has served since 2017. Biteman was a member of the Wyoming House before being elected to the Senate in 2018. He was reelected this fall, easily beating his Democratic opponent.
Biteman was the subject of speculation in 2021 as a potential candidate to take on former U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney in her reelection bid after she started opposing Trump. Biteman never officially announced his candidacy.
But according to a Politico story that summer, Biteman met with Trump at his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf club to discuss the possibility of running. Later reporting from Politico in 2022 said Trump aides had already begun meeting with Harriet Hageman by that time.
Hageman was eventually endorsed by Trump in September 2021. She beat Cheney by 38% of the vote in the Republican primary and also blew out her Democratic challenger in the November election.
Last year, Biteman brought a bill seeking to prevent crossover voting in primary elections. Many saw the legislation as a direct challenge to Cheney and a way to prevent Democrats and independents from voting for her. Trump endorsed Biteman’s bill, but it didn’t pass.
Many conservatives have said Governor Gordon has been a beneficiary of crossover voting, making the claim it helped elevate him to victory over more conservative candidates in his 2018 gubernatorial run.
Trump called Gordon multiple times to support Biteman’s crossover voting bill, but Gordon never did so.
Trump And Gordon
During his “Save America” rally in Casper last May, Trump criticized Gordon and said he was unhelpful in changing Wyoming’s crossover voting law.
Gordon did not accept a request to attend the rally, held on behalf of Hageman, but did greet Trump when he landed at the airport in Casper.
Trump has been consistently supported by the Wyoming Republican Party since his 2016 election. A number of leaders in the State GOP have expressed frustration with Gordon’s policies including his initial response to the COVID-19 pandemic. But the party never openly opposed him in his 2022 reelection bid.
Brent Bien, a more conservative Republican who ran against Gordon in the primary, was considered the preferred candidate for many hardline conservatives around the state. Bien lacked significant funding however, and was not well-known in political circles before launching his campaign last spring.
Gordon vastly outspent and outraised Bien for campaign donations and beat him by a large margin.
Other Trump Endorsements
Trump endorsed three other Wyoming candidates in addition to Hageman during the last election cycle: Secretary of State Chuck Gray, State Treasurer Curt Meier and former Interim Secretary of State Brian Schroeder.
Gray and Meier were elected, while Schroeder was narrowly defeated in the Republican primary.
Trump did not endorse a candidate in the governor’s race.
The former president’s interview with Wyoming Is Right host Wallack is the second he has done with a Wyoming radio host in the last year.
The full, 21-minute interview, which Wallack said includes many other Wyoming-related political topics, will air for the first time at 8 a.m. Saturday on KIX 96.5. A recording of the show also can be streamed online.