Lummis Beats Trauner for Wyoming Congressional Seat
By Charles Pelkey and Reese Jenniges,

Democrats had their best shot in 30 years at winning Wyoming’s lone U.S. House seat, but Dick Cheney showed up and helped Cynthia Lummis hold the seat for the GOP (the seat was once Cheney’s) as unpopular Republican Barbara Cubin retired.

Ironically, Cheney also took the occasion to endorse John McCain which probably gave a last minute boost to Barrack Obama (they quickly made Cheney’s endorsement into a campaign ad).

So Wyoming has only Republican representation in Congress and Dick Cheney will be retired. Cheney won’t be around to intervene on Cody’s perrennial efforts to turn Yellowstone Park into a mere cash register for the right wing town.

Follow-up. Let Obama’s transition team know, no Governor Freudenthal as Secretary of Interior.

I don’t think he has much of a chance with Wyoming voting the second most Republican state in the U.S., but rancher US Senator from Colorado Ken Salazar is promoting the anti-wolf, anti-environment Democrat for Secretary of Interior.

There could hardly be a worse pick. Will gov get look for Cabinet? By Chris Merrill. Casper Star Tribune.

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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan's Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of "Hiking Idaho." He also wrote "Beyond the Tetons" and "Backpacking Wyoming's Teton and Washakie Wilderness." He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

38 Responses to Wyoming influence in Washington reduced as former rodeo queen beats back Democratic challenge

  1. timz says:

    Freudenthal would be a disaster at Interior. I’ve been saying all along Democrats in power doesn’t necessarily mean wolves and other wildlife will be better off.

  2. Virginia says:

    Another scary choice for Secretary of the Interior – Brian Schweitzer! After his speech at the Democratic Convention, he seemed to be the darling of the party. They loved his bolo tie and his “straight talk”. His political aspirations are pretty high, in my opinion

  3. jerry b says:

    This article was in the Seattle times a week or so ago…….
    I think either would be a good choice, but NOT Schweitzer. He’s done nothing to help the bison and has allowed the wholesale slaughter of wolves to continue. He is a democrat, but that means almost nothing in Montana where he continues to kiss the ass of the ranchers.

    Politico, the online newspaper about politics, lists U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee, D-Bainbridge Island, as a possible secretary of the Interior should Barack Obama win the presidency. Also named as a candidate for that post is Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
    Politico fills out the entire cabinet and White House leadership team in an Obama administration with names “being widely discussed in Democratic circles.” You can read the story here.
    Inslee is a champion of environmental causes in Congress, particularly in efforts to fight global warming and promote alternative energy sources.
    Comments (0) | Category: none |Permali


  4. I don’t think it will be Schweitzer, but things went badly for him in Montana with the Republicans winning the state senate and the Democrats only tie in the state House of Representatives.

    He might be feeling pretty frustrated and looking for something else, like Interior.

  5. Jerry,
    If Obama wants a new politics, he will choose someone different than the tradition of at Interior when a Democrat wins the presidency (a white Democratic politician from a rural Western interior state).

    Yes, maybe a latino like Raul Grijalva or a nationally known conservationist like Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

  6. Robert Hoskins says:

    There are plenty of westerners who understand western ecosystems and what is necessary for a strategy of conservation, restoration, and sustainability, but this list would include very, very few western politicians. I shudder to think that Brian Schweitzer or Dave Freudenthal or any other western governor might end up at Interior. That would mean we’d be in court just as much in the future as we have the last eight years.

    President-elect Obama campaigned on a platform of change. Clearly, we need a change in who takes charge of our public lands and resources. RFK Jr. sounds like a good choice.

  7. timz says:

    I think he should make Ralph Maughan Sec of Interior.

  8. Save bears says:

    If I am not mistaken, if Schweitzer were appointed that could have implications on the balance of power in Montana as I remember the Lt. Governor is a republican

  9. john weis says:

    Jeez, timz, we DO agree on something! Go Ralph!

  10. timz,

    Thanks timz!

    Now we have to agree on everything!?

    Actually, I wouldn’t mind being an assistant secretary.

  11. timz says:

    If Ralph doesn’t want the job give it to Jon Marvel.

  12. Monty says:

    Former Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber has been mentioned as a potential Secretary of interior. He would be an excellent choice. I once briefly spoke with him about environmental issues & found him to be well read in that some of his favorite authors were Wallace Stegner, Wendell Berry, Wes Jackson and a few other noteable environmental writers. He sees the big picture & hopefully as Oregon strongly supported Obama he might have a chance at this important position. If Obama wants to appoint a few Republicans to his administration then so be it, but the Secretary of Interior should not be one of them.

  13. Jeff says:

    As a Wyoming resident I have always like Gov Dave’s balanced and usually sensible approach to public lands on most issues except wolves. I’ve always wondered if Gov Dave’s public stance on wolves is based on his true beliefs or if it was more the political reality in Cheyenne. In other words does he really harbor ill will towards predators in general or as a democratic governor in Wyoming was his stance on wolves political statesmanship driven by the super republican majority that he had to work with as governor. If Freudenthal was Sec of Interior and he wasn’t beholden to republican ranching interests in Cheyenne would he be as anti-predator?

  14. Jeff,

    A question, what makes him a Democrat, other than the fact that he runs as one?

    This isn’t a rhetorical question. I really don’t know his views on issues where Republicans and Democrats typically disagree like taxes, reproductive choice, spending on public education, etc.

  15. jimbob says:

    Ralph, my thoughts exactly. I’ve always thought of Freudenthal as a Republican who just happens to wear the Democratic tag as far as his stances and actions. As for what Jeff says about Freudenthal being balanced—-that’s crazy! I stopped visiting or spending money in Wyoming three years ago after I contacted his office about how Wyo. treats predators and cowtows (no pun intended) to ag interests. I was polite and wanted to understand Wyoming’s position. I got a form letter back that thanked me for my interest. Not another penny—-unfortunately for Wyoming’s small businesses.

  16. Maska says:

    I beg to differ that no Western governor would make a decent Interior Secretary. Our Guv, Bill Richardson, has displayed quite a bit of moxie in standing up to the administration’s land management agencies on gas drilling on Otero Mesa and other desert grasslands, and has been pretty supportive on Mexican wolf reintroduction. He made wholesale changes for the better on the Game Commission, too.

    The only problem with Richardson is that many folks feel he’d be more useful at the State Department. It’s hard to imagine that his early endorsement of Obama won’t put him in line for some sort of high level job.

  17. Maska,

    Talk about a state that cleaned house — New Mexico!!

    Will things look up for the Mexican wolves?

  18. Wyoming was the one Western state that absolutely went backwards in this election, except for maybe the kleptocracy where Sarah Palin is governor.

    See the New York Times editorial, The Unworthy Gentleman (about Ted Stevens, reelected, maybe)

  19. Robert Hoskins says:

    I didn’t include Richardson because I had heard that he wasn’t interested in Interior but State. He may be the exception of western governors, but in any case, I sure don’t support either Schweitzer or Freudenthal. Not only has he proven himself unworthy where endangered species are concerned, his stubborn support of elk feedgrounds, which are a subsidy to the same livestock industry that has so bungled wolf management, I think demonstrates where his true allegencies lie. There’s no doubt in my mind he would favor the various exploitive industries at Interior, under cover of making a big deal of mitigating their impacts. As we’ve seen all over the West, you can’t mitigate these industries at the scales they need to operate to be profitable. Any attempts to control the impacts of drilling in Wyoming, whether in Sublette County or the Powder River Basin, have failed, and Freudenthal has been behind those failures, as when he refused to sign water quality regulations for coal-bed methane production in the PRB. As far as I’m concerned, Freudenthal is a Republicrat and unworthy to sit in the top chair at Interior.


  20. Maska says:


    I couldn’t agree more about the rest of the sorry lot of Western guvs, and especially Freudenthal. Yecch.


    We have our fingers crossed regarding the Mexican wolf. Certainly, having Martin Heinrich, a bona fide friend of the lobos, instead of Heather Wilson in house district 1 is a huge plus. Also, Ben Ray Lujan, who took Tom Udall’s old district 3 seat, is known as a friend of conservation.

    Harry Teague, who took the district 2 seat formerly held by Steve (“Nothing attracts wolves like crying or laughing babies!”) Pearce is at least some improvement. I’ve spoken at length with Mr. Teague, and while he’s obviously nervous about taking public stands in favor of wolves, at least he’s willing to listen. I don’t believe he’ll demagogue on the issue. His opponent, Ed Tinsley, a restaurant association lobbyist and owner of the K-Bob’s Steakhouse empire, would have been a Pearce clone, as far as one can tell.

    The fact that Tom Udall resoundingly thrashed Pearce in the race for Pete Domenici’s old Senate seat has us all raising the champagne glasses.

    Finally, the fact that Jeff Bingaman is now surrounded by a 100% Democratic delegation may serve to strengthen his backbone on the wolf issue. At least we hope so.

    The ball is now in the conservationists’ court–time to start applying pressure to make these changes work for our public lands and wildlife.

  21. Jeff says:

    I think he is a democrat because he has always been one, supports abortion rights, works for balance between energy and wildlife, regulates and checks the accounting of energy companies (under Gerringer, energy companies did their own accounting and told Wyoming what they owed Wyoming) Dave said I’ll have state auditors check the math and low and behold creative accountants working for energy companies had short changed the state millions of dollars. He has also fought for workers rights and better funding for education. It is tough however to distinguish between a liberal republican and a conservative democrat.

  22. Jeff says:

    I don’t believe a governor or any statewide official can get elected in Wyoming with a “pro-wolf” view. The ranching stranglehold on the state government assures this. Is it fair to judge Freudenthal’s possible behavior as the Sec of Interior based on what he has done as governor? Believe me his wolf view kill me, however he would never be elected and would have no credibility at all with the legislature if he didn’t pander to the anti-wolf crowd. Outside of Cheyenne his views and behavior might be drastically different than they are at present based on the political reality of the Wyoming state government. I’ve just always wondered if Dave believes the anti-wolf rhetoric he has spouted or if he does it to score points and make in roads with the republicans that control the legislature.

  23. timz says:

    If he’s really anti-wolf like his rhetoric suggests he would be dangerous at Interior. If his rhetoric is pandering it makes him, in my view dishonest.

  24. timz,

    You are really right, IMO.

    Freudenthal was either negligently uninformed or grossly lied about many of the well established facts of wolf recovery — such as it was a great burden to Wyoming’s economy.

    Doing that on any issue shows your true character.

  25. . . . and Jeff, you are probably correct about the politics. However, you can oppose wolves without being rabid about it.

  26. Jeff says:

    I certainly don’t want to see Freudenthal as Sec of Interior, why do folks not like Schweitzer? What is former Colorado Governor Roy Romer up to?

  27. vickif says:

    Schweitzer has proven to be less tha hinest with his intentions, check out his track record about bison, etc.

  28. Jeff says:

    As I’ve contemplated Freudenthal more through this thread I can only honestly say that I like him as a politician in relative comparison to the absolutely pathetic other elected officials here in Wyoming. There are a lot of good folks working for Fish and Game that I know, and I do think Rep Keith Gingery is a green republican and I’m pleasantly shocked that Jim Roscoe, a democrat from Wilson was elected to HD 22. He is the polar opposite of former Rep Monte Olsen.

  29. Monty,

    I’ve heard too the former Governor of Oregon, John Kitzhaber is on the Secretary of Interior short list.

  30. Brian Ertz says:

    Why I don’t like Schweitzer for Interior

    Ralph’s got my vote – especially if he promises me a position ;), next would be Grijalva.

    Grijalva knows…

  31. vickif says:

    maybe we should start our own grass roots campaig, Ralph for secratary….perhaps an email congo-line, letters and personal pleadings to the sght and powers that be. Anyoneplanning trips to washington or chicago soon?

  32. Mike says:

    I’m hoping Obama picks a DOI head that understands science. As far as a western politician, forget it. The public lands were created mostly because of the corrupt local influence industry had on these lands to begin with. Why go back to that with a western politician who still feels connected to local industry?

  33. Mike says:

    By the way Ralph has my vote as well! Talk about qualified for the job. Ralph was one of the first people pushing public lands issues on the net. He educated many people on this issue including myself.

  34. jimbob says:


    I was going to ask if you work for Freudenthal or what? It was good to see somebody actually read and adjust their views based on information like you did in your earlier post. Mike’s idea about a science person, not a politician who is beholden to industry, is a great one. We know that will probably never happen, though!

  35. TC says:

    Sorry, you’re ignorant if you think Freudenthal is anti-environment. Note, I did not say stupid, I said ignorant. He’s done more than a few solid and good things for wildlife and habitat in our state, he’s fought some very good fights against unchecked oil and gas development, he’s funded the natural resource trust, he’s supported sage-grouse conservation efforts above and beyond the call of duty (a proxy for preservation of sagebrush steppe habitats), and he cares deeply about wildlife and natural resources and the preservation of those resources for future generations. I know you’re all pissed off at him over the Wyoming wolf plan, and I understand that, but it’s not right to paint him as another slash and burn pro-Ag anti-Wildlife Western politician. I’ve met the man, I’ve picked his brain on these issues, and I’ve found him to be creditable (if a bit egotistical). There would be worse choices for Interior or even Energy.

  36. Mike says:

    Hasn’t Freudenthal also filed to have the roadless initiative stopped and championed high numbers of snowmobiles in Yellowstone?

    If I remember correctly, he sure liked the fact that Clarence Brimmer was calling the shots.

  37. TC says:

    Although I will grant you it is a shame Trauner did not beat Lummis, not that I care about which party either is from, but because she suggests another Barbara Cubin, and lord knows we don’t need that – we need a reasonable, intelligent, hard-working person in DC that can work to get positive things done. Cubin was such an embarrassment to the state of Wyoming that we must never speak her name again…

  38. TC says:

    No, clearly he has never “championed high numbers of snowmobiles in Yellowstone”. He did voice support of overturning the Clinton ban on snow machines in the parks, as he explains it for two reasons: it was not done in a proper and transparent (or likely even legal) manner, and limited access to the parks by snow machine users supports many businesses in neighboring communities (some his constituents). I never said he was Ralph Nader, but then again, Ralph Nader never would have been elected in Wyoming or gotten anything positive done on the environmental agenda. Come on, you cannot live in fantasy land where Rachel Carson, John Muir, or Aldo Leopold are going to come back from the dead and serve in Obama’s cabinet.


November 2008


‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey