Three of Casper’s 10 state lawmakers up for re-election this year received endorsements by the Wyoming Education Association.
The association gave endorsements to the nearly all of the state’s Joint Education Committee, including Casper Democratic Rep. Debbie Bovee. Rep. Steve Harshman, a Casper Republican, Natrona County High football coach and the House’s speaker, also received an endorsement.
Rep. Pat Sweeney, another Casper Republican, was also endorsed by the WEA in its summer newsletter.
Harshman’s endorsement is no surprise. Nor is the one given to Rep. David Northrup, a Powell Republican and the chairman of the House Education Committee. Both steered the House largely away from heavy cuts to the state’s education system, moves that were preferred by the Senate.
Across the hall, Sen. Chris Rothfuss, a Laramie Democrat, also received an endorsement. The chemical engineer was often the lone voice against cuts in the Senate. Fellow education committee members and Republican Sens. Jeff Wasserburger and Stephan Pappas also received WEA endorsements.
In Casper, Republican Sens. Bill Landen and Drew Perkins did not receive endorsements. Landen is a former member of the education committee and currently sits on the Select Committee on School Facilities. He was part of the group of lawmakers who examined the state’s education funding system last year.
Perkins, meanwhile, is the Senate’s majority leader and could be the Senate’s next president, replacing Sen. Eli Bebout of Riverton.
Natrona County Republican Reps. Joe MacGuire, Tom Walters, Jerry Obermueller, Chuck Gray and Bunky Loucks all did not receive endorsements. Walters serves as the chairman of the school facilities committee. Gray’s Republican primary opponent, former Casper mayor Daniel Sandoval, was endorsed by the association, as was the Democratic candidate in the race for the House District 57 seat, local activist Jane Ifland.
In the gubernatorial race, the association endorsed state Treasurer Mark Gordon in the Republican primary and former legislator and education committee member Mary Throne in the Democratic primary.
Overall, the WEA endorsed 25 Republicans and 21 Democrats in statewide races. It listed another five Republicans and four Democrats as being “education-friendly” candidates.