WYOMING: In response to the Wyoming Republican Party's Thursday
application deadline, 31 people filed statements expressing an
interest in being appointed to fill the vacancy left by the death
last week of US Senator Craig Thomas (R). Despite much speculation,
Vice Presidential wife Lynne Cheney was not among the applicants.
The 71-member Wyoming Republican Party State Central Committee will
meet on Tuesday to select three finalists. Under state law, those
names will be submitted to Governor Dave Freudenthal (D), who must
then select a replacement from the list. While the applicants range
from the known to the totally unknown, several frontrunners quickly
emerged. Early favorites for the shortlist appear to be State House
Majority Leader Colin Simpson, former State House Speaker Randall
Luthi, former State Treasurer Cynthia Lummis, former US Attorney
Matt Mead and State Senator John Barrasso.
Colin Simpson -- the son of retired US Senator Alan Simpson (R) --
this week told state newspapers he plans to run against
Congresswoman Barbara Cubin (R) in next year's primary if someone
else is selected for the Senate seat. Cubin issued a response
statement blasting her potential challenger's "unbridled political
ambition ... This move shows a disappointing lack of judgment and
discretion." Simpson spent the past several months preparing for a
run against Cubin before Thomas' death. The replacement US Senator
will serve until November 2008. The winner of the 2008 special
election will serve the remainder of the term until January 2013.