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Follow Wyoming Public Radio as we cover the Equality State and U.S. elections online and on-air.

Gillette Mayor Sees "Marked Difference" From 2016 Presidential Election

2016 presidential map including vote map of Campbell County
New York Times

In 2016, President Donald Trump won Wyoming by the largest margin in the country. In Campbell County, he took 86.7 percent of the vote - the second highest margin in the state, only behind Crook County. This time, there was an even higher voter turnout. Still, Gillette Mayor Louise Carter-King said it still felt different.

"There's not too many people happy, but I think it seems to me in 2016 there was more fear of Hillary than there was of Biden. I know people didn't want him to get it, but I didn't hear the doom quite as much," she said.

Carter-King said the opposition has felt quieter. At the time, it felt like a life or death vote for coal with several major coal companies filing for bankruptcy.

"We just gone through that terrible layoff, and I think we were thinking, 'This is it. If Trump doesn't get in there and save us, then we're done for.' Well, he got in there, but he didn't really save us," she said.

In the past four years, coal companies have continued to file for bankruptcy, coal plants have continued to retire and production has continued to decline. Carter-King said, perhaps that reality has lessened the fervor.

"We know from what has happened in the past four years that it's the market that dictates the future, the coal industry, and as is in the oil and gas. And right now, the market doesn't look really good for our industry," she said.

Carter-King said she has hope that the incoming Biden Administration will continue supporting federal Department of Energy initiatives for carbon capture utilization and sequestration.

If Biden does elect to keep moving away from fossil fuels, "I hope he has a plan to assist our community and other communities to transition away from it, and support our economic diversification efforts," she said.

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