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Chadwick, Keating advance from county commissioner primary

Will face Cerullo, Constitution Party candidates in general election

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Republicans Forrest Chadwick and Matt Keating will appear on the Republican ticket for two open Natrona County commissioner seats in November's general election.

The two clinched the GOP slots in Tuesday's primary with 3,579 and 3,496 votes, respectively. Current commission Chairman Ed Opella finished third with 3,121 votes, and will not serve another term.

"I'm encouraged and excited for the future," Chadwick said Monday night. "Being a newcomer and beating an incumbent -- that's huge. I'm looking forward to the next phase."

Chadwick said he has been attending the county commission's work sessions and meetings for nearly six months.

He estimates he has missed only three meetings since March.

"I know the issues fairly well," Chadwick said. "I'll be able to step right in."

Keating's close second to Chadwick was enough to secure him a spot on the November ballot.

"I feel pretty blessed to be advancing in a very strong field of very qualified candidates," Keating said in an email Monday night.

Going forward into November's general election, Keating said he will do what he's always done: "I will run for the office and not against any one candidate."

That includes putting his signs back up around town and attending commissioner forums, he said.

Democrat Gino Cerullo, the only Democrat commissioner candidate listed on Tuesday's ballot, said his openness to the public will continue to set him apart from the rest of the field.

"I deal with the public every day," Cerullo said. "My outlook is similar to (the rest of the candidates), but I see all levels of society. There are wealthy constituents in our society and there are less fortunate constituents in our society, and I feel that I can relate to all of them because I've been in all those positions. I've been at the top; I've been to the bottom."

More than 12,000 Natrona County residents voted in Tuesday's primary. Fifty-seven percent of registered Republicans turned out to vote; of 17,289 registered Republicans, 9,881 ballots were cast.

Democrat voter turnout was slightly lower at roughly 38 percent; 2,260 of 5,871 registered Democrats showed up to vote in the primary.

November's general election for two open commissioner seats will also include at least two more candidates.

Natrona County residents Troy Bray and Linda Burgeron have filed as Constitution Party candidates for the commissioners race, according to the election officials.

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