Welcome to 307 Votes: as complete a guide as you’ll find to every single Statehouse race in Wyoming, contested or uncontested.
The Star-Tribune is examining every legislative district in an attempt to give you a rough idea of what direction the state is headed as we barrel toward one of the most critical elections in Wyoming’s history.
In today’s installment, we take a look at Rep. Dan Kirkbride of Chugwater.
House District 4: Chugwater/Wheatland
Rep. Dan Kirkbride has only faced one serious challenge in his career in state politics.
Counting seven years of service on the Platte County Commission at the start of the century, Kirkbride made the leap to the Legislature in 2012, where he managed to escape a three-way primary with 38% of the vote. Though a 6-point victory on paper, that accounts to roughly 150 more votes than the runner-up and nearly 200-more than the third-runner up.
Since then, the Republican — a member of the House Judiciary Committee — has amassed a quietly consequential career in Cheyenne. As chief sponsor of six bills in the past two years, he managed to pass four of them into law and, in his committee work, he has played a key role in the state’s criminal justice reform efforts.
Could it flip? Kirkbride’s electoral record has been strong as an incumbent. After a 53-point win in the general election in 2012, Kirkbride has faced just two additional challenges, winning a contested primary in 2016 by 19 points over Tyler Shockley and that year’s general election by 51 points.
This year, Kirkbride faces a challenge from Wheatland pastor Jeremy Haroldson who, in addition to his duties at Impact Ministries, serves as chairman of the Platte County Chamber of Commerce. Though a newcomer to politics, Haroldson — in his early 30s — could present a different type of challenge to Kirkbride, particularly given his primary policy issue: “making sure that we don’t produce a government so powerful that it eliminates the rights of us as parents to raise our children how we see fit.”
In past elections, Kirkbride has shown to be fairly resilient to primary challenges. However, Shockley won 41% of the vote in 2016 as a young rancher, and Haroldson brings more experience to this race, leaving it as somewhat of a wildcard.
Vulnerability Score: Unknown.
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