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Wyoming GOP gains 2 House seats in Legislature

Wyoming GOP gains 2 House seats in Legislature

Wyoming GOP looks to build Legislature dominance

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CHEYENNE - Wyoming's Republican Party picked up at least two seats in the state House as it maintained its dominance in the state Legislature in Tuesday's election.

Republicans gained two House seats in the traditional Democratic stronghold of Rock Springs, and picked up another Democrat seat in western Wyoming. But Democrats looked to take over one GOP seat in Cheyenne.

There were no changes in the party makeup in the Senate.

"I'm pleased with the results," Tammy Hooper, chairwoman of the state GOP, said.

Republican Stephen Watt defeated Democrat JoAnn Dayton in House District 17. The Rock Springs seat had been held by Democrat Bernadine Craft, who moved over to the Senate.

Also in Rock Springs, Republican Mike Baker beat incumbent Democrat Joseph Barbuto.

Republicans also picked up the District 22 seat that had been held by Democrat Jim Rosco, who did not seek another term. No Democrat ran for the seat, and Republican Marti Halverson defeated independent Bill Winney on Tuesday night.

In District 13 in Cheyenne, with all precincts reporting, Democrat Lee Filer held a 78-vote margin over Republican David Kniseley for the seat formerly held by Republican Amy Edmonds, who decided not to seek re-election.

Entering Tuesday's election, Republicans held 26 of 30 state Senate seats and 50 of 60 House seats. With only five of 15 Senate seats and 22 House seats up for election Tuesday being contested, the GOP was guaranteed to maintain control of both chambers.

Third-party candidates added a new dimension to this year's election with 10 candidates competing for legislative seats.

The Country, Constitution and Libertarian parties fielded candidates in eight races, but none won.

In Cheyenne, incumbent Republican Rep. David Zwonitzer easily defeated three third-party challengers.

Zwonitzer said the fact that there were three third-party candidates may have worked in his favor.

"It does make for a little bit of decision making for those people that would like to do a third party candidate and they have to choose between those three parties," he said.



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