Friday, June 22, 2007

Wyoming's Democratic Governor Names Successor To The Late Republican Senator Craig Thomas' Seat

From the NYT, Michael Falcone blogs:

A Republican state legislator, John Barrasso, is the new United States Senator from Wyoming. The state’s governor, Dave Freudenthal, appointed him to the post today, filling a vacancy created by the death of Senator Craig Thomas earlier this month.

Mr. Barrasso, who is in his second term as a Wyoming state senator, was chosen from a long list of candidates who applied for the post. That list got whittled down to just three this week by the Wyoming Republican Party Central Committee, which submitted the names to the governor.

The other finalists for the interim Senate seat were Cheyenne lawyer Tom Sansonetti, who also served as chief of staff to Mr. Thomas, and former state Treasurer Cynthia Lummis. In a statement, Mr. Freudenthal declined to elaborate further about his choice.

“There are many factors that went into this decision, and it was the sum of these factors that led me to this choice,” he said. “While I don’t intend to indulge the speculation on why I made this decision, I will say that I hope I made the right choice.”

Mr. Barrasso’s appointment takes effect immediately. Although Mr. Thomas’s term was set to end in 2012, Mr. Barrasso will face a special election in 2008 to keep the interim Senate seat. He has indicated that he intends to run.

In his application for the position Mr. Barrasso promised to “continue Craig Thomas’s legacy of fighting for Wyoming,” and laid out a set of conservative viewpoints that gives clues about the kind of Senator he would be.

“I believe in limited government, lower taxes, less spending, traditional family values, local control and strong national defense. In the State Senate, in addition to receiving an “A” rating from the NRA, I have voted for prayer in schools, against gay marriage and have sponsored legislation to protect the sanctity of life.”

Mr. Barrasso is an orthopedic surgeon with a private practice in Casper, Wyo.