CHEYENNE -- If the stars are in perfect alignment and the Republicans implode in a bitter primary, then maybe -- maybe -- a Democrat has a shot at the U.S. Senate seat in 2014.

But it's a really long shot.

If Republicans emerge from the contest between U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi and challenger Liz Cheney bitter and unwilling to support the nominee, then a fresh Democratic candidate could step in and pick up GOP votes.

But first there has to be a credible Democratic candidate.

The Democratic party has a list of 20 names, but no one has stepped forward.

If any Democrat was interested, the name would have surfaced by now, said Dave Marcum, a political scientist instructor at Laramie County Community College.

Now with the heavyweight candidate Cheney in the race, no Democrat will challenge her or Enzi, Marcum predicted.

"It's pretty clear the Republicans will hold onto the seat regardless of whether it's Cheney or Enzi," Marcum said.

Phil Roberts, a history professor at the University of Wyoming, said there may be a chance for a Democrat but only if Cheney wins the nomination.

Pete Gosar, a state pilot and unsuccessful Democratic candidate for governor in 2010, might make some ground against Cheney. But first he would have to resign as state chairman of the Wyoming Democratic Party.

"He would have to start early and would have to campaign hard. But I think he would have a shot because he's a terrific contrast to Liz Cheney. And he would certainly challenge her comments about the next generation," Roberts said.

Cheney is 46. Gosar is 44.

It would be a gamble though, Roberts said, He questioned who could afford to pay for a campaign against a well-financed Cheney machine.

Enzi's last Democratic opponent, Chris Rothfuss of Laramie, now a state senator, lost because he was unknown, had no money and was from Albany County, Roberts said.

It is very rare for an incumbent in Wyoming to lose a primary election to a challenger. The last time that happened was in 1968 when John Wold of Casper beat U.S. Rep. William Henry Harrison in the Republican primary.

And it is unlikely to happen again this time, Roberts said.

If Enzi wins the nomination for a fourth term, he will be bulletproof and no one will be able to defeat him, Roberts said.

Contact Joan Barron at 307-632-1244 or joan.barron@trib.com.

(4) comments

YO
YO

If I win the Republican nomination......the Dems could win......."YO" is running for the US Senate in the Republican Primary in 2014! Vote for "YO"!

thehousemouse
thehousemouse

just do what they all do say your a rebublican, and then vote democratic. i cant tell the difference anymore.

Completely Fed Up
Completely Fed Up

The difference between Republicans and "Democrats" in Wyoming is slim at best. Every democratic candidate makes a self-defeating statement early on telling people how much they respect the incumbent, who are people totally undeserving of any respect whatsoever.

Come to think of it there's little difference even at the national level. The whole election process is rigged from top to bottom to ensure that no real choice exists for voters. It's all about money.

CareyMitchell
CareyMitchell

When Dave Freudenthal passed on challenging Barrasso when he first ran (after serving in an appointed capacity) Dave was offered $8million in DSCC dollars. Maybe Dave, with his wife now in place as a federal judge, and having earned a couple million dollars as a consultant and lawyer since leaving office, would find this a fun endeavor to cure political boredom. If he ran, that would make you look at Dems chances a little closer. Too bad Joan didn't call him and ask if he will run.

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