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GREEN RIVER — Western Wyoming voters sent a veteran Democrat and a new Democrat to Cheyenne in Tuesday’s general election.

Incumbent Rep. Bernadine Craft, D-Rock Springs, and Democrat John Freeman of Green River, a political newcomer, won two key House races in Sweetwater County.

In Jackson, another political newcomer, Republican Ruth Ann Petroff, won the House District 16 seat to replace longtime Rep. Pete Jorgenson, D-Jackson.

Craft easily won her re-election bid for House District 17 over challenger Stephen Watt, a Republican from Rock Springs.

Freeman, in his first run for state office, defeated Republican Ted York of Green River in the House District 60 race. He will replace retiring Rep. Bill Thompson, D-Green River.

Craft, who was seeking a third term, unofficially received 1,244 votes.

Watt, a former two-term House member, received 994 votes.

Freeman, a longtime area teacher from Green River making his first run for a state seat, received 1,636 votes. York, a pastor and educator, got 1,070 votes.

In northwest Wyoming’s HD16, Petroff defeated Democrat Len Carlman in the first state run for both candidates. The district represents Teton County and Dubois.

Petroff, a Jackson coffee roasting company owner, received 2,150 votes. Carlman, an attorney and public lands coordinator for the Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance, received 1,687 votes.

In House District 22 in neighboring Sublette County, Democratic incumbent Jim Roscoe of Wilson had a big lead over challenger Bill Winney, a Republican from Bondurant.

Roscoe had 2,265 votes and Winney received 1,781 votes with 10 of 11 precincts reporting.

Winney brought a lot of name recognition to the race after running for the U.S. House in 2006 and 2008.

Roscoe won the closest election of 2008, unofficially winning by four votes in the general election. He then won a special election less than a month later by 119 votes in the heavily Republican district.

In Senate District 17 representing Teton County and part of Fremont County, Republican Leland Christensen of Alta had a comfortable late lead over Democrat Tom Frisbie.

Christensen, a retired lawman, had 4,173 votes with 15 of 16 precincts reporting. Frisbie, a Jackson Democrat, received 3,507 votes.

The winner replaces veteran Republican legislator Grant Larson of Jackson, who served as Senate president from 2005-06.

 

Carbon, Uinta counties

 

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In House District 15, political newcomer Donald Burkhart of Rawlins tried to unseat longtime incumbent lawmaker George Bagby. Bagby, also of Rawlins, was seeking a fifth term in the House.

In another Carbon County race, Republican Larry Hicks of Baggs and independent candidate Ken Casner of Elk Mountain challenged Democrat Jim Elliott of Saratoga for the Senate District 11 seat.

Elliott, a retired attorney, was appointed to the seat in 2009, replacing veteran Sen. Bill Vasey, who moved out of state. Hicks was making a second bid for state Senate.

Casner made an unsuccessful bid for governor in 2002.

In Uinta County, Democrat Saundra Meyer of Evanston sought to retain her Senate District 15 seat after moving from the House in 2008. She was being challenged by Republican Paul Barnard, also of Evanston.

Meyer served in the House from 2001-2004 and was re-elected in 2007. She was appointed to the SD15 seat formerly held by Ken Decaria.

Barnard, a retired optometrist, served four years on the Uinta County Commission and six years on the Evanston City Council.

In another Evanston race, longtime city councilman Clarence Vranish, a Republican, faced one-term Democratic incumbent Terry Kimble for the House District 49 seat.

Kimble was appointed to the seat in 2009.

Contact Jeff Gearino at gearino@tribcsp.com or 307-875-5359.

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