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Mark Gordon To Be Wyoming's Next Governor

Governor-elect Mark Gordon making his victory speech
Cooper McKim
Wyoming Public Radio

Former state treasurer Republican Mark Gordon will become Wyoming's next Governor. He won easily with a 40 percent margin defeating democratic opponent Mary Throne - a former state legislator.

Constitutional party candidate Rex Rammell received 3.2 percent of the vote at 97 percent of precincts reporting; Libertarian candidate Lawrence Struempf received 1.5 percent.

Gordon ran on a platform of fiscal responsibility, touting his experience as state treasurer in growing the state's investments. He also vouched for gun rights, more energy production, and attracting new businesses.

Just after his victory speech, Gordon said the experience felt surreal.

"You've come to the end of a very, very long hard fought race with good candidates, good ideas and to finally arrive at the place where you're, I guess, the next governor... that's sobering, but it's also wonderful," he said.

Gordon said he thought the campaign remained civil - a sentiment Throne echoed. He said he didn't see Throne as an opponent, but a colleague.

"She's obviously a Democrat, I'm Republican. We have different points of view, but we both love this state." He said, "she ran a very credible race and I think it was important that the people of Wyoming understand that our future is based on coming together."

Democratic candidate Mary Throne makes concession speech at watch party
Credit Cooper McKim / Wyoming Public Radio
Wyoming Public Radio
Democratic gubernatorial candidate and runner-up Mary Throne makes concession speech at watch party.

In her concession speech, Throne said they were aggressive on the issues, but it didn't get personal. As Governor, Gordon said he plans to be particularly accessible.

"I think it's important that people know one of the big things that we're going to work on is transparency. I want to get around the stage as much as I possibly can," he said.

He said he will be announcing his transition team and begin assembling a staff soon along with plans for his first moves.

In Throne's campaign, she focused on ending the boom-bust cycle. She offered strategies of attracting new businesses to the state, like improving affordable health care and better funding for public education.

In her concession speech, Throne said she wasn't afraid to bring up taxes during her campaign - a topic she said requires more discussion.

"Because we can't expect to survive as a state if we don't really face our challenges. And I think the fact that I brought up that issue... you know forced our new governor-elect to talk about it too," she said.

Throne said it's also important to keep fighting for Medicaid expansion in the state to help people get affordable health care. She referred to a recent trip to a Laramie County shelter.

"They have people who walk in the door who need medicine. And they don't have a way to get it to them. Because we don't have Medicaid expansion. So, we need to change that and we need to keep fighting for that," she said.

Throne said she has no immediate steps planned forward politically.

Gordon will follow two-term Republican Governor Matt Mead.

Before Wyoming, Cooper McKim has reported for NPR stations in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and South Carolina. He's reported breaking news segments and features for several national NPR news programs. Cooper is the host of the limited podcast series Carbon Valley. Cooper studied Environmental Policy and Music. He's an avid jazz piano player, backpacker, and podcast listener.
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