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Wyoming: November’s Inevitable GOP Domination Offset By Hilarious Folksy Primary

A simpler time, a smaller swampWyoming is one of those states where one party — in this case, the GOP — is so dominant that surprises in the general elections are pretty rare. The real political entertainment therefore tends to be found in the primaries. (As progressives say in Idaho, Your Correspondent’s locale, sure, we have a two-party system. We’ve got conservative Republicans and batshit insane Republicans.) So let’s take a little look-see at the electoral hijinx in the Cowboy State’s just-concluded primaries, by clicking on where it says “read more.”

The completely unsurprising result in the Senate race is that Sen. John Barrasso won the Republican primary with 90% of the vote, and will likely be re-elected in November. It’s Wyoming. The human sacrifice being offered up to Barrasso from the Democratic primary, Tim Chesnut, is a county commissioner who said that his campaign raised $800 and spent $300. He won with about 50% of the fewer than 15,500 votes in the Democratic contest (compared to turnout of 79,000 for the Republicans).

Chesnut, running on the slogan “Chesnut is the best nut for Senate,” managed to beat two opponents of the classic “amiably wacky perennial local candidate” variety: Al Hamburg, “a former felon who has now lost 21 consecutive races for elected office” (29% nevertheless) and an attorney from New York, William Byrk Bryk (sorry!) (19%), who on a campaign questionnaire listed “Length of time in Cheyenne/Wyoming” as “None.” Quirky! Running for office in distant states appears to be a hobby for Mr. Byrk Bryk:

Bryk lives in New York and lost an earlier congressional race this year in Indiana. He also ran for U.S. Senate in Idaho in 2010, explaining his defeat in that Democratic primary by saying, “My opponent is an intelligent, articulate and attractive man and I’ve never been to Idaho.”

And even though the Republican contest was a cakewalk for Barrasso, he did at least have a local loon to run against, in the form of Thomas Bleming, a “former soldier of fortune” who spent two years in in prison in Panama for attempting to overthrow the government there. At his campaign announcement meeting in May (a “rally,” we believe, requires more than a few supporters to show up), Bleming waved a M-1 carbine (which he said was loaded) and said that he believed his pro-freedom views terrify the government so much that he expected to be targeted for elimination:

“If I get assassinated or shot down on the streets by this government, at least these people will know I am expecting it,” he said. “Every night before I go to bed I expect that to happen. That is why I have a bodyguard here.”

Despite his vow to run the “most unorthodox campaign” in history and his announced readiness to take down at least 10 members of any assassination team sent after him, Mr. Bleming garnered only 6% of the Republican vote. He can take some consolation from the fact that he still did better than non-comical marketing consultant Emmett Mavy (4%). We are uncertain whether he was relieved or disappointed that he was utterly ignored by Obama’s Big Government Persecution Squads, and wish him better luck in the future.

Nerd Bonus! See how a real evolutionary Boss did satire! Read Walt Kelly’s “Simple J. Malarkey” strips! (Also, too, an essay for comics junkies and younglings who need Historical background!)

[National Journal / WyomingNews.com]

About the author

Doktor Zoom Is the pseudonym of Marty Kelley, who lives in Boise, Idaho. He acquired his nym from a fan of Silver-Age comics after being differently punctual to too many meetings. He is not a medical doctor, although he has a real PhD (in Rhetoric and Composition).

View all articles by Doktor Zoom
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95 comments

      1. SorosBot

        Um, I'm in the northeast and we had ours late, back in April – you know, the Presidential primary, the same as the primary for all races, as primaries should be held.

        1. actor212

          There are two primaries in NYS, and in Connecticut: one for Pres, the other for local offices. In NYS, it's September 11. Connecticut just elected Linda McMahon (R-Steroids) a senate candidate last week.

  1. docterry6973

    Hard to believe a guy waving a loaded carbine at his campaign announcement only got 6% of the vote. Did he kick a dog or something?

  2. Mahousu

    Wait, every night before he goes to bed, he expects to be shot down in the streets? Where is he sleeping, in the gutters?

  3. coolhandnuke

    I like the candidate who made the almost life-like representation of Dick Cheney out of mashed potatoes.

    1. Geminisunmars

      Would have looked more like him if he'd used chopped liver. (For the Woody Allen lovers out there.)

    2. sewollef

      Well, I would have changed my affiliation from 'Can't vote, 'cos I'm not a citizen' to Republican in the time it takes to slide my safety off.

  4. RedneckMuslin

    "The completely unsurprising result in the Senate race is that Sen. John Barrasso won the Republican primary with 90% of the vote, and will likely be re-elected in November."

    You remember who else got 90% of the vote?

  5. Pragmatist2

    Idaho, after all, is the birthplace of Mr. Potato Head and Wyoming of Dick Cheney. That pretty much means crazy is in the water.

  6. LastGasp

    Chesnut is the best nut for Senate

    Well of course Tim Chesnut lost the race — that's a wingnut Republican campaign slogan if ever I saw one.

  7. Dr_Zoidberg

    Wyoming is a beautiful state – I've lived here almost 10 years now. It's just very, very red. I'm working on changing it to blue, but I'm only one crustacean!

  8. Callyson

    Thomas Bleming, a “former soldier of fortune” who spent two years in in prison in Panama for attempting to overthrow the government there.

    Is this the same wacko who wrote that guide to hiring hookers abroad? Or am I thinking of another nutcase?

  9. Geminisunmars

    I lived for 2 years in Casper, in the early 80s. It would have been a nice place if only I'd been an evangelical and/or an alcoholic, like every one else.

    1. Baldran

      I lived in Casper for five years as a teenager. It would be an absolutely lovely town, but for the people. Way too many crazy-ass Mormon kids for its own good.

      Also, John Barrasso screwed my shattered femur back together after I fell off a roof when I was 13. Probably the one decent thing he's ever done.

  10. elviouslyqueer

    So I'm guessing Wyoming is like Mississippi, only with more mountains and less blahs. Amirite?

  11. Lionel[redacted]Esq

    Despite his vow to run the “most unorthodox campaign” in history and his announced readiness to take down at least 10 members of any assassination team sent after him, Mr. Bleming garnered only 6% of the Republican vote.

    Clearly the assassination squads figured it was easier to shoot the 45% of the Republican vote to keep Mr. Bleming out of office instead of taking him directly.

  12. An_Outhouse

    There are some excellent comments at the 'Thomas Bleming' link, if you can picture people talking in REALLY LOUD VOICES in your mind. Also, from his Facebook page, he seems to enjoy pictures of President Obama. I think he's a fan.

  13. kittensdontlie

    In that frigid and arid landscape that is Wyoming, only dry, lifeless forms of human-life exist, like D. Cheney.

  14. coolhandnuke

    True story. A friend who was working for some government grant on wildlife preservation, was hiking in the Grand Tetons of Wyoming and as he entered a meadow he came upon three or four dark SUVs and a bunch of G-men in sunglasses. They approached him and asked him what he was doing here. He answered "hiking" They informed him the area was restricted for the day and he had to leave. As my friend left the meadow, he caught sight of a rotund man in a safari-type uniform with a large butterfly net who was doing his lumbering best to snare a few butterflies. He took a closer look at the man. He recognized him. it was Dick Cheney.

    1. Lot_49

      What's really f'ed up is that one vote in Wyoming counts 50 times more than one vote in California.

  15. occams8ball

    (finding it very difficult to be civil) Why does Wyoming get the same representation in the most important law making body in the world as California? Why don't the dems organize a propaganda war an a scale with the repubs? Where are the brilliant candidates that will fight for a senate seat in a state so small you can pay cash for every vote you need. Put me out of my misery!

  16. barto

    Does this mean that Wyoming now moves into the "toss up" state category? I mean I feel like tossing up, for one, after reading this.

  17. Nostrildamus

    In 1980, I drove West from Chicago to be near my girl-friend (now wife). I was a decidedly unmacho nerd, skinny with long hair, disco shirts and white slacks. While stopped in a WY diner for dinner, I noticed a table of 3 cowboys nearby looking my way and making angry comments amongst themselves. I calmly paid for my meal, walked to the restaurant door and RAN TO MY CAR a half-block away. As I started the car (thank God, it started), I saw the three cowboys barrel out of the restaurant, looking up and down the street for which way I'd gone. They spread out, searching the side streets while I huddled in my car, waiting for a chance to drive away unnoticed.

    I'll always remember Wyoming that way – the place I could've ended up like Matthew Shepard.

  18. SayItWithWookies

    Wyoming — there's nothing pretty about it that can't be turned into Mordor by unregulated drilling:

    Folks who live near the gas fields in the western part of this outdoorsy state are complaining of watery eyes, shortness of breath and bloody noses because of ozone levels that have exceeded what people in L.A. and other major cities wheeze through on their worst pollution days.

  19. MinAgain

    Bunch of amateurs.

    In Tennessee, we had a Republican candidate for Senate in the 80's who legally changed his name to Byron (Low Tax) Looper for the campaign and then shot and killed the incumbent senator he was running against. Due to the vagaries of Tennessee law, he remained on the ballot, while the deceased senator's name was removed, and opponents had to organize a write-in campaign for the senator's wife.

    Also, Tennessee reelected Rep. Tommy Burnett from a federal prison camp on Maxwell Air Force Base, where he was serving time for tax evasion.

    1. Doktor Zoom

      Not so shooty, but here in Idaho we have a gentleman who legally changed his name to "Pro-Life." The Legislature passed a bill requiring that any candidate changing their name to a slogan had to list their former name on the ballot anyway, so he was listed as "Pro-Life, a person formerly known as Marvin Richardson."

  20. Monsieur_Grumpe

    True Story!
    I asked for a copy of Pogo’s Poop Book for Christmas.
    My wife found a nice used (of course) hard cover version on Amazon.
    XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXO my wife.

  21. kateinmt

    That big lonesome in Wyoming does strange things to men's minds. Well, at least the men who have minds. I'm not sure that applies in this case.

  22. HedonismBot

    Hello. Native Wyomingite; current Casper resident. Yesterday I came THIS CLOSE (holds thumb and forefinger a buffalo hair's breadth apart) to voting in the primary, to save a "moderate Republican" representing my district in the state senate. I didn't, largely because I like having soul, and I feared switching my reg to Republican would jeopardize that.
    Luckily, Charlie Scott won handily over his teatard challenger. It scares me how it is impossible for anyone to be conservative enough for the teabaggers. A different local GOP rep faced a teatard challenge because she actually dared to contemplate ways to improve the state's health care system. To paraphrase what she said in a newspaper interview: "My opponent thinks I'm in favor of Obamacare simply because I bothered to learn what is in the law." (She's not, of course, but she has a point: the teatards think anyone who bothers to learn anything about anything is an existential threat. These people are scary.)

  23. aklibtard

    We get guys like that all the time up here in AK. The primary debate season televised in all it's glory for one night on PBS is pretty much awesome. What really takes this to the next level though is that these people actually have a real party to run for. The Alaska Independence Party! The Liberatarian party always puts someone out there too that can be counted on for hijinks. They aren't very reliable though. One debate the guy told everyone that they should vote for the Democrat, Diane Benson, instead of him because if Don Young was elected he might start WW3.

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