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Leland Christensen

State Senator Leland Christensen, seen at the Wyoming GOP convention in Casper two years ago, announced that is running to replace Ed Murray as Wyoming secretary of state.

The race for Wyoming Secretary of State is heating up as two candidates have announced plans to run this week. State Sen. Leland Christensen, R-Alta, said in an interview Friday that he would launch a campaign for the seat once the legislative session ends in March.

“There’s some real opportunity to take the skills and history we have of promoting business and jobs and take that forward,” Christensen said.

Secretary of State Ed Murray announced his resignation late Friday, effective immediately. The announcement followed allegations of sexual misconduct against him made by two women. Murray denied the first allegation, and said he did not recall the second, both of which date to the 1980s.

On Thursday, Rep. Jim Byrd, D-Cheyenne, said that he would be running for secretary of state, though a Democrat has not held the seat since 1995.

Christensen lost the GOP primary for Wyoming’s U.S. House seat to Liz Cheney in 2016, and said that he had not considered running for higher office again until people began reaching out to him following Murray’s announcement that he would not seek reelection.

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“It’s really at the urging of a lot of friends and a lot of people,” he said.

Christensen will formally announce his candidacy following the conclusion of the four-week legislative budget session, which begins Monday. The auctioneer and former law enforcement officer has served in the Legislature since 2011.

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Arno Rosenfeld covers state politics.

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