Trump-backed effort to move Wyoming to runoff election system fails

Trump-backed effort to move Wyoming to runoff election system fails
The White House.

In Wyoming, a proposal would have moved that deep red state into a runoff system. But on March 24, the proposal didn't receive enough support.

Wyoming Senate File 145 proposed that if a candidate didn't receive enough votes in a primary election, a runoff would have been required. But Camille Erickson, a reporter for the Casper Star-Tribune, explains, "The bill failed on the third and final reading in the Senate on Wednesday in a narrow 14-15 vote, with one lawmaker excused."

Under SF 145, Erickson notes, "A candidate would need to receive over half of the votes to be considered the winner of a primary election. In packed primary races, if no candidate obtained enough votes, a runoff election would occur, with the two leading candidates facing off against one another."

One of SF 145's supporters was Donald Trump, Jr., a far-right GOP activist and son of former President Donald Trump. The younger Trump urged Wyoming Republicans to support 145, saying it would be a good way to defeat Rep. Liz Cheney — who supported his father's second impeachment, and who is facing a congressional Republican primary challenge for 2022.

SF 145 was sponsored by Wyoming State Sen. Bo Biteman. During his testimony before a legislative committee on March 10, the Republican told his colleagues, "The bill is to ensure that the winner of the primary election for federal, statewide and the (Wyoming) state Legislature, has the support of a majority of voters. Runoffs are common in areas of one-party rule, and they are helpful when there is a large pool of candidates. Not only is Wyoming a predominately Republican state, as you know, (it) often has many candidates run for federal and statewide office."

But other Republicans in the Wyoming Legislature, according to Erickson, expressed concerns that a runoff system would be costly to taxpayers.

According to Erickson, "Conducting runoff elections would come with a one-time cost of about $166,000 to the secretary of state. But the cost for counties would be much higher — potentially $1.1 million."

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