CHEYENNE – Incumbent Rep. John Eklund, R-Cheyenne, won the Republican nomination against challengers Jennifer Burns, Lars Lone and Donn L. Edmunds. Eklund won House District 10 with 1,246 votes in Laramie County and 84 votes in Goshen County.
Burns won 511 votes in Laramie County and 15 votes in Goshen County; Lone won 334 votes in Laramie County and 11 votes in Goshen County; and Edmunds won 228 votes in Laramie County and 12 votes in Goshen County.
House District 10 is drawn to include the far eastern neighborhoods of Cheyenne, the eastern half of Laramie County and a sliver of eastern Goshen County to Torrington.
Eklund has no Democratic challenger, so he is the presumptive winner for the general election and will go on to serve his district at the Wyoming State Legislature.
Eklund was unable to be reached Tuesday night for comment.
Eklund has 50 years of experience owning, managing and operating a ranch, and 10 years as the representative for House District 10. He said his extensive elected office experience makes him qualified to lead the state through the current financial crisis brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, and added that he will remain informed, open minded and unselfish in his decisions related to the economy.
Eklund said that as the current chairman of the House Transportation, Highways & Military Affairs committee, he works with his Senate counterparts to solve shortfalls in maintaining the highway infrastructure. He also currently serves on the Select Water Committee, Multistate Highway Transportation Agreement Cooperating Committee and Wyoming Transportation Commission Liaison.
Eklund told the Wyoming Tribune Eagle in July that his main focus will be slowly reshaping the Wyoming budget structure before the state burns through all of its savings and to prevent future Legislatures from sustainably building Wyoming.
House District 7
Incumbent Sue Wilson, R-Cheyenne, won the Republican nomination against challenger Cody Haynes, the same opponent she beat out in 2016.
Wilson won House District 7 with 1,897 votes, with Haynes receiving 879 votes.
HD 7 includes large parts of Cheyenne and represents one of the highest concentrations of state workers in the state.
Wilson has no Democratic challenger, so she is the presumptive winner for the general election and will continue to serve her district in the Wyoming Legislature.
“I really appreciate the trust my district is showing in me,” Wilson said. “We’re going through some challenging times for the state, so I’m really honored they’re going to give me two more years.”
Wilson is a small business owner who has served in the Legislature since 2013, and chaired the House Labor, Health and Social Services Committee this past session, helping to push through a bill to create a statewide school nurse position. She told the Wyoming Tribune Eagle earlier this summer that two of her biggest focuses will be standing up for state workers and expanding access to adequate health care in the state.
Upon hearing the news of her presumptive reelection, she added that people can expect her to continue her work on the state’s “huge budgetary problems” and to listen to her constituents.
“I hope folks will contact me when they have input, and I’ll try to stay in touch with everybody and hear what people want,” she said. “That’s what I’m there for, to represent all the people in my district, whether they voted for me or not.”
House District 12
Democratic candidate Lee Filer won his party’s nomination against challenger Joseph Ramirez by a difference of 16 votes during Tuesday’s primary election.
Filer won House District 12 with 231 votes, while Ramirez earned 215 votes.
“The fact that it was close tells me that there are people in this district excited about voting, and getting people more active in voting is wonderful – good competition is healthy,” Filer said.
“I gave it all I could,” Ramirez said. “It was my first time running, so I’ve never had any experience with this – nor had my team – and I think we did very well overall ... so thank you to everyone for having trust in me, and I’ll see what I have to do next.”
House District 12 covers the southwest corner of Laramie County, south of Interstate 80 and west of U.S. Highway 85.
Filer will now face incumbent Republican Clarence Styvar in the general election.
Filer is a locomotive engineer with the Union Pacific Railroad and the owner of Lee’s Lawn Care, a small business that he said has been able to maintain all of its employees throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Filer also served as representative for House District 12 from 2013-15, during which he sat on the Joint Labor, Health and Social Services Committee and Select Committee on Archaic Laws.
“People can expect to get to know me,” Filer said. “I’m their neighbor, I’m not afraid to talk to anyone – Republican, Democrat, independent ... I’m approachable and have a good voting record. I’ve passed things and done things for our district.”
Filer said during the Cheyenne League of Women Voters’ virtual candidate forum that when he was in office, one such piece of legislation he helped pass was a comprehensive labor law bill for people with developmental disabilities that ensured they’re paid at or above the federal minimum wage.
He also said his experience as a father of six children, a small business owner and a person with transportation knowledge would help him in this elected position, a role in which he plans to work with both sides of the aisle to get the job done.
If elected, he said his main focuses will be bipartisanship, economic growth, education and finding different revenue sources for the state.
“I’m ready to take this head on,” he said.
House District 42
Incumbent Jim Blackburn beat challenger Ed Wright in Tuesday’s Republican primary to retain the House District 42 seat in the Wyoming Legislature.
Blackburn won the primary with 943 votes, with Wright receiving 833 votes.
HD 42 covers west-central Laramie County, from Lodgepole Creek in the north to Interstate 80 in the south and from Interstate 25 in the east to the county line in the west.
Since Blackburn has no Democratic challenger, he is the presumptive winner for the November general election.
Blackburn couldn’t be reached for comment Tuesday night.
Blackburn has served House District 42 since 2015, and is on the House Revenue Committee, Select Committee on Tribal Relations and the House Corporations, Elections & Political Subdivisions.
Blackburn is also a member of the National Rifle Association, United States Practical Shooting Association, American Legion Post 6 and the Farm Bureau.
House District 43
Incumbent Rep. Dan Zwonitzer won the Republican primary in House District 43 against challenger John Harvey to retain his seat in the Wyoming Legislature.
Zwonitzer won with 582 votes, while Harvey earned 434 votes.
House District 43 includes neighborhoods in southeast Cheyenne and a chunk of south-central Laramie County.
Since Zwonitzer has no Democratic challenger, he is the presumptive winner for the general election and will continue serving his district in the Wyoming Legislature.
The race was neck-and-neck for most of the night, but Zwonitzer ended up pulling ahead during the last update of the ballot counts.
“I’m so excited to continue moving Wyoming forward in these difficult times,” he said. “My opponent, John Harvey, is a man of honor who ran a clean campaign, and I appreciated that.”
Zwonitzer said he campaigned this year by being really honest with his constituents about the tough two years that are ahead. He said some really brutal decisions are going to have to be made about what people want Wyoming to look like.
He previously said his priority for the upcoming legislative session is dealing with the $1.5 billion budget deficit Wyoming has for the 2021-22 biennium. He added that Wyoming is facing one of the worst budget shortfalls in its history.
Zwonitzer has served in the Legislature for the past 16 years and was the chairman of the House Revenue Committee for the past two years. He said he feels he has one of the strongest understandings of the state’s fiscal structure, revenue streams and budget.
“I had some good friends, good colleagues, I consider close friends lose tonight, and so as excited as I am, that’s weighing heavily on me right now,” he said.