"Godspeed. God bless. I believe the Democrats are on the right path." That quote comes from Rock Springs mayor Tim Kaumo. He's a Republican in the most Democratic county in Wyoming - Sweetwater. Kauomo said this during a rally in Rock Springs for Wyo Democrats like Gary Trauner and Governor Dave Freudenthal, amongst others vying for seats in state and county government. The star of the night of course is Trauner.
Trauner is the brightest hope for many I've encountered who are tired of the ineffective and downright peculiar Barbara Cubin. When she's claiming in the debate that she's not the one running a negative campaign, which aired last night and folks could hear the hearty chuckles from the audience, she's throwing stones and filing complaints against constituents who oppose her.
From the Republicans for Trauner's Steve Simonton:
Simonton also says the Cubin campaign had to file 47 amended reports since 2001, and the fact of turning them in to the FEC is consistent with her combative approach to her campaign.
"If she isn't out there threatening to slap someone, then she's filing complaints against them or sending out fliers full of lies and innuendos against her opponent," says Simonton. "I have to tell you this is the most vicious, deceitful campaign I've ever seen.
Judging from the news and people I've talked to things are not getting better for Cubin in the last few days. As previously reported, people are concerned about the Iraq War, budget deficits, curtailing of civil liberties, and access to public lands, especially in Rock Springs where the Red Desert is chock full of coal bed methane.
In the north, which is more reliably Republican, Trauner has made inroads and according to him his chances look good in places like Buffalo and Sheridan. According to Adam Ruff, Trauner campaign's Field Director, walkers in Hot Springs County found support for Trauner in over 60% of the doors they knocked on. If yard signs are any indication Trauner's chances are good in places like Story, where there were 5 Trauner signs on the road into town to 1 Cubin sign, and really you had to drive through town and onto a dead end gravel road to see it.
I ended up in Rock Springs after a 750-mile journey that's taken me through Story, Buffalo, Casper, Cheyenne, Laramie, Rock Springs, and now Evanston and some other stops in between. I visit Wyoming frequently since I have in laws in Story and Gillette and have been a big fan of the state. I could think of no better way to spend the last days of the election season - I already voted by absentee - then to drive around talking to people, promoting Trauner, and seeing him in action, going door-to-door to get his message out. He is one of the most charismatic people I have ever met and you can understand why knocking on over 15,000 doors has been successful.
In Casper, I stopped by Trauner HQ and met staff (Linda Stoval - Campaign Manager, Adam Ruff, Maggie Fowler - Office Manager and so much more) and volunteers. They're a dedicated bunch who feel they're helping Wyoming and democracy. They're filled with a lot of passion and are huge promoters of Trauner's positive message. They're also excited at the prospect of putting a dem from WY in the House and ready for a fight whenever a baseless accusation or outright lie from Cubin's campaign rears its ugly head.
The latest ads from the NRCC are an abomination. The ad claims that because Trauner is from NY that he's not right for Wyoming. But get this... Cubin is a - GASP - a Californian. And as Trauner pointed out, Cubin is letting her campaign be run by folks in DC. The New York label just isn't sticking since a lot of folks here are also from out of state. I believe that Gov Dave said it best last night that Trauner chose Wyoming to raise his kids and that is what's important, that says a lot about Wyoming.
Anyway, I will begin walking with Trauner today in Evanston He will then head north through Star Valley then over to Pinedale before getting home on Election Day. I plan on sending dispatches about the last hours of Trauner's campaign. I will be in Jackson on Election Night ready to let this allegedly great Democratic wave sweep over the country, even here in the landlocked Cowboy State.