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Blog Home Page --> House -- Wyoming

WY: Trauner, Lummis Tied

Wyoming saw a very close race two years ago, and an open seat this year looks like it will be just as competitive. A Research 2000 poll conducted for DailyKos surveyed 500 likely voters between 10/14-16 for a margin of error of +/- 4.4%. State Treasurer Cynthia Lummis and 2006 Democratic nominee Gary Trauner were tested.

General Election Matchup
(All / Dem / GOP / Ind / Men / Wom)
Trauner....44 / 87 / 14 / 58 / 41 / 47
Lummis.....43 / 11 / 65 / 33 / 47 / 39

Both candidates, facing a dead heat, are popular; 57% see Lummis favorably and 55% see Trauner the same way. Still, coattails could drag Lummis across the finish line. Not only is John McCain leading by a 58%-35% margin, Senators Mike Enzi (61%-34%) and John Barasso (57%-36%), both up for election this year, lead their Democratic rivals by wide margins.

WY At-Large: All Lassoed Up

2006 nominee Gary Trauner (D) and former state Treasurer Cynthia Lummis (R) are in a dead heat for Wyoming's sole House seat, which has been held by Republican Barbara Cubin since 1994. Trauner held the incumbent to a 1,012-vote victory two years ago, despite the Republican lean to the state -- Wyoming hasn't given a Democratic presidential candidate its electoral votes since the landslide election of 1964.

The poll, conducted by Research2000 for Daily Kos, surveyed 500 likely voters between 9/22-24 for a margin of error of +/- 4.4%. Trauner and Lummis were tested.

General Election Matchup
(All / Men / Wom / Dem / GOP / Ind)
Trauner....42 / 39 / 45 / 85 / 13 / 56
Lummis.....42 / 46 / 38 / 12 / 62 / 33

Trauner holds a 23-point lead among independents, whom he'll need if he's to pull out a victory here. The poll also shows Trauner's base has already largely gotten behind him, while Lummis receives support of just 62% of Republicans.

A Nail-Biter In WY?

In 2006, after Rep. Barbara Cubin told a wheelchair-bound opponent that she should slap him, Democrat Gary Trauner lost the seat by just over 1,000 votes, one of the closest races in the country in what is normally a very Republican state.

This year, Trauner is trying again. Cubin is not. A new survey, conducted by Washington-based Mason-Dixon for the Casper Star-Tribune, shows the Democrat might benefit from more than just a weakened incumbent. The survey, conducted 1/18-21, tested 625 registered voters for a margin of error of +/- 4%. Trauner and Republican Cynthia Lummis were tested.

General Election Matchup
(All / Ind)
Trauner 41 / 37
Lummis 40 / 33

Trauner, the poll shows, enjoys overwhelming support from Democrats, while Lummis, the state's former Treasurer, lags among her party's base: 23% said they would vote for the Democrat. Full numbers were not available, but both candidates are relatively well-liked. Trauner's unfavorables are at just 25%, while Lummis' are at only 17%.

Still, Lummis does not have an open path to the GOP nomination. She will face former Republican national committeeman Tom Sansonetti -- who was instrumental in moving Wyoming's primary to early January -- State Rep. Dan Zwonitzer, House Speaker Roy Cohee and former U.S. Attorney Matt Mead, along with two other frequent candidates. Lummis is running well ahead, the poll shows, but it's by no means a done deal.

Primary Election Matchup
Lummis 31
Sansonetti 9
Zwonitzer 5
Cohee 4
Mead 3

While FEC reports aren't due until February 1, Trauner had raised more than $170,000 through the third quarter, easily out-pacing Cubin. That's not a huge amount of money, but in an inexpensive state, it's a big head start. None of the Republicans had filed yet, as all of them jumped in after Cubin's early November exit from the race. If Republicans are in trouble in Wyoming, the party could face another 2006-type election.

Saxton Out In NJ

Twelve-term Congressman Jim Saxton will not run for re-election next year, PoliticsNJ reports, citing health reasons for his retirement. Saxton is being treated for prostate cancer and sciatica. First elected in 1984, Saxton started his career in the state assembly in 1975.

Saxton, a socially and economically moderate Republican, has been targeted by the DCCC in recent months after winning in 2006 with 58% of the vote, a narrower margin than some had expected. Saxton had cruised to victories over even top DCCC recruits. This year, the DCCC was trying again and had recruited State Sen. John Adler, seen as another top recruit. Adler has already banked an impressive $229,000, though far out-paced by the nearly $1.4 million Saxton has on hand.

The third district, which covers Philadelphia's New Jersey suburbs out to Ocean and Burlington Counties and includes Fort Dix, has become a swing district in recent presidential years. Al Gore carried the district by a 54%-43% margin in 2000, while George Bush beat John Kerry by a narrow 51%-49% margin in 2004. As an open seat, the district will become a top priority for both parties.

Adler will face the winner of what is likely to be a competitive Republican primary. State Sen. Diane Allen, who ran for Senate in 2002, is the likely front-runner, while PoliticsNJ reports that Burlington County Sheriff Jean Stanfield, Ocean County Clerk Carl Block and Ocean County Freeholders John Kelly and Joe Vicari are also considered contenders.

Update: Politico's Josh Kraushaar reports that Wyoming Rep. Barbara Cubin, who along with her husband has faced serious medical issues this Congress, will also announce her retirement at a GOP central committee meeting in her state tomorrow. Cubin narrowly survived in 2006 after threatening to slap one of her opponents, who is in a wheelchair. She beat Democrat Gary Trauner by just half a percent last year.

The seat is safer than Saxton's for Republicans, and Cubin's retirement makes State House Majority Leader Colin Simpson, son of former Senator Alan Simpson, a strong favorite to win the GOP nod. Simpson had already declared his intention to run for the seat, regardless of Cubin's plans. Trauner is running again as well.