Governor Dave (as the whole state knows him) doesn't endorse lightly, even--perhaps especially, other Democrats. And he doesn't put himself on the line to do so.
So this is a great testament to Gary and the work he's done to win Wyoming's only House seat.
As all of you know, I don’t do a lot of endorsements, and I take some criticism for that. But I will tell you, I’ve watched Gary over the last four years now as he has traveled this state and has made a Herculean effort to try to meet people, to understand this state and to try and represent it.Governor Dave's endorsement, standing right there next to Gary in front of television cameras, is huge in Wyoming. In other states, the endorsement of the head of your own party is just how it works. But Wyoming isn't any other state, and Governor Dave isn't any other governor. He got 70 percent of the vote in his reelection bid in 2006. Bush got 69 percent in the state in 2004. You might say the governor is popular.
I contrast that with what I consider to be ‘politics as usual’ from his opponent. If you watch the ads, in fact I was just asking him, what’s this gun business about? I watched the ads the other night about the registry – ‘cause there ain’t no way I’m endorsing somebody who wants a gun registry. And it turns out that, in fact, you can go to his Web site and you can discover that it’s not true and that in fact; he got an A- from the NRA. And so now we have this ad that talks about the gun registry without basis.
It’s the same thing in another of the ads that his opponent runs that talks about during her tenure, she developed $5 billion in state money. Well, the truth is, anyone can take credit for that. I can take credit for that, the Legislature can take credit for that. The real reason that that money exists is the way that this economy has been over the last five or six years....
With regard to what Gary brings...Gary has spent a lot of time traveling the state, he still campaigns, he’s out going door-to-door, trying to figure out what it is that works for Wyoming and what kind of message needs to be delivered in Washington, D.C....
We need to have a Wyoming voice that speaks up on behalf of who we are, what this state needs, and what it can best benefit from going forward and I think Gary Trauner’s the person to do that.
He has knocked on the doors, and he’s had the same experiences I’ve had where people throw the brochure back and say, ‘There isn’t any way I’m ever voting for a Democrat.’ But it turns out that it works for the state. It works for us to approach these races and say, ‘Who’s devoting the energy to go out and talk to people? Who’s showing up at the forums?’ Who’s showing up at the events and makes sure that they’re communicating with the citizens?
I will tell you that somebody won’t be any different as an elected official than they are as a candidate. One of the things that I get criticized for is that I travel too much around the state. I did the same thing when I was a candidate, and I intend to do that while I’m in office. Because the pattern that you set as a candidate is the pattern you’re going to see while you’re in office.
Gary has set a pattern that says he’s accessible, he responds to people’s inquiries about information and he works hard to try to reflect what is best in the state. This country is headed into some incredibly difficult times. Times that require a degree of change. And if you look at both of these presidential candidates, they’re both talking about a need to do business differently. You have one candidate that talks about change, you have the other candidates who talk about being mavericks because they understand that the way we’ve been doing business isn’t working. We need a different kind of politics in this country and we need a different kind of leadership that recognizes that there’s a place for politics, but politics can’t define who we are and they can’t define how you vote.
If you look at this race, you have one very traditional campaign with the sort of, you know, little tricks where people call in and won’t identify themselves – little mistakes like where people say, ‘Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to mispronounce Obama’s name.’ Little things that just kind of tell you it’s politics as usual.
You also have a second campaign in which it is not politics as usual with a relative neophyte to politics and he’s made the neophyte mistakes. But you know, we learn from our mistakes and mistakes tell you about people. And the mistakes that they make are the ones that they learn from. I believe we have a chance to send someone to Congress who represents the kind of politics that this country needs going forward.
Mason-Dixon polled the race last week, and found--like every other poll done since early summer, including the R2K poll from last week--the slimmest of a lead for Trauner: 44-43. Like every other poll, the vast majority of undecideds are Republicans. But here's something to take heart in:
But Trauner's track record shows some ability to sway Republicans on Election Day.Their hugely popular governor standing up with Gary is going to make a difference to a lot of people when it comes down to the actual voting.
For example, Trauner was down by 7 percentage points in a similarly timed Casper Star-Tribune poll during his 2006 race with Cubin. On election day, however, he lost the contest by only about 1,000 votes, or less than one percent.
Also, the undecided voters may be somewhat moderate, as illustrated in a separate poll question in which 42 percent of respondents said both political parties are to blame for the slowdown in the U.S. Economy.