Politics

Wyoming, Alaska Hold Primaries Tuesday

A member of GOP Senate leadership is facing a primary

Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., has a handful of primary challengers. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Voters in Wyoming and Alaska will pick their parties’ nominees on Tuesday, including in one race featuring a member of Senate Republican leadership.

The general election races are not expected to be competitive. But the primaries will set the matchups in one of the few states where Republicans are defending a Senate seat, and in a race involving the most senior House Republican.

Wyoming

GOP Sen. John Barrasso, the Republican Policy Committee chairman, is facing five primary challengers in Wyoming. One earned the endorsement of a local paper.

The Casper Star-Tribune endorsed on Saturday businessman Dave Dodson, one of Barrasso’s primary opponents. The Associated Press reported that Barrasso has targeted Dodson in campaign ads, highlighting his campaign donations to Sen. Bernie Sanders and Barack Obama. Dodson said he donated to Sanders to oppose Hillary Clinton.

Dodson has largely self-funded his campaign, loaning his campaign $1 million. He spent $1.4 million on the race and had $67,000 on hand at the end of the pre-primary reporting period on Aug. 1.

Barrasso outspent Dodson and had much more money to spend in the final works of the primary. Barrasso has spent $2.4 million on the race so far and had $5.4 million on hand at the end of the pre-primary period.

Businessman Gary Trauner is the only Democrat on the ballot Tuesday, so he will face Barrasso in November if Barrasso wins the GOP primary. President Donald Trump won Wyoming by 48 points in 2016. Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the race Solidly Republican.

Alaska

With neither of Alaska’s senators up for re-election, the only congressional election is for the state’s at-large House seat, held by Republican Don Young. Young is currently the dean of the House, meaning he is the most senior member.

Young, who was first elected in a 1973 special election, has cultivated a reputation as an ornery lawmaker. He’s grabbed headlines for making controversial statements, including using a derogatory term for Mexicans and twisting the arm of a staffer who got in his way.

The longtime congressman is a Democratic Congressional Committee target this cycle, but the district, which is the entire state, would be tough for a Democrat to win. Trump carried the state by 20 points in 2016. Inside Elections rates the race Solidly Republican.

Four candidates are competing in the Democratic party, including one no-party candidate and one independent candidate. The independent candidate, Alyse Galvin, has raised a sizable amount of money. She has so far raised $600,000 and had $252,000 on hand at the end of the pre-primary period on Aug. 1.

Galvin, who was profiled in the Huffington Post, led the effort in the state to pressure the state’s senators to vote against Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

Democrat Dimitri Shein has also raised a fair amount of money, bringing in $195,000. He ended the pre-primary period with $108,000 in the bank.

But Young still had a financial advantage. He has raised a total of $801,000 and had $435,000 in the bank as of Aug. 1.

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