Posts Tagged ‘Wyoming’
Friday, February 25th, 2011

Is Wyoming still the Wild West?

The state’s former U.S. Attorney, who is now the governor, is grappling with a version of that issue as he weighs whether to sign into law expected legislation allowing residents to carry concealed weapons without a permit.

Matt Mead (Matt Mead for Governor)

Gov. Matt Mead (R) will decide his course of action once the bill comes to his desk, a spokesman for the governor told Reuters. Mead has been a supporter of gun rights and has handled firearms cases as a prosecutor, according to Reuters. Mead was U.S. Attorney from 2001 to 2007 and became governor this year.

The Wyoming House was scheduled to vote on the bill Friday, The Associated Press reported. The state Senate has already passed the legislation.

If the bill becomes law, Wyoming would become the fourth state to allow residents to carry concealed weapons without a permit, following Alaska, Arizona and Vermont.

Some law enforcement officials have expressed opposition to the legislation, according to Reuters. But Bryan Skoric, prosecuting attorney for Park County, told Reuters that he backed the legislation and did not anticipate a significant spike in the number of residents with concealed weapons.

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Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

Former U.S. Attorney Matt Mead (R) was sworn in on Monday as Wyoming’s 32nd governor.

Mead served as the state’s U.S. Attorney from from 2001 to 2007. He already has named several of his former colleagues from the office to his administration.

At the swearing-in ceremony and at the inaugural ball that night were several former U.S. Attorneys, according to former Colorado U.S. Attorney Troy Eid, who attend the events.

Among those in attendance were Bill Mercer of Montana, Johnny Sutton of the Western District of Texas, John Ratcliffe of the Eastern District of Texas, Tom Moss of Idaho and Susan Brooks of the Southern District of Indiana, according to Eid.

This story has been corrected from an earlier version.

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

Former U.S. Attorney and Wyoming Governor-elect Matt Mead (R) has named two former colleagues to his cabinet, the Associated Press reported.

Tony Young, who will serve as Mead’s deputy chief of staff, served as the head of the Wyoming Law Enforcement Coordinating Committee in the U.S. Attorney’s office. He also worked as Mead’s assistant campaign manager and as deputy chief of the transition team.

Carol Statkus, who will serve as Mead’s general counsel and have responsibility for policy oversight, served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney. She also worked as Mead’s campaign manager.

Mead served as Wyoming’s U.S. Attorney from 2001 to 2007.

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Friday, November 5th, 2010

An Assistant U.S. Attorney in Wyoming is a candidate for a federal judgeship in the state, Gov. Dave Freudenthal (D) said Thursday.

Steven K. Sharpe, a prosecutor in the Criminal Division of the Wyoming U.S. Attorney’s office, is one of three lawyers Freudenthal recommended that President Barack Obama nominate to succeed retiring U.S. District Judge William Downes.

“It’s a tremendous honor to be named as a candidate to succeed Judge Downes,” Sharpe told Main Justice.

Sharpe started as a Wyoming Assistant U.S. Attorney in 2002. He spent five years in the office’s Civil Division before moving to its Criminal Division.

He has handled a wide array of cases in the Criminal Division, including prosecutions for drug, gun and fraud offenses.

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Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

Another former Wyoming U.S. Attorney will be the state’s governor, CNN projected Tuesday night.

Matt Mead (Matt Mead for Governor)


Republican Matt Mead, who was the state’s U.S. Attorney from 2001 to 2007, is poised to succeed Democratic Gov. Dave Freudenthal, a former Wyoming U.S. Attorney who could not seek reelection. Freudenthal served as U.S. Attorney immediately before Mead from 1994 to 2001.

With 24 percent of precincts reporting, Mead secured 69 percent of the vote against Leslie Petersen, the former chairman of Wyoming’s Democratic Party, who received 28 percent of the vote.

Mead stepped down as U.S. Attorney to seek the seat vacated by Sen. Craig Thomas (R-Wyo.), after his death in June 2007. But the Republican State Central Committee did not forward his name to the governor, who ultimately appointed Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) to the seat.

Mead’s family has a history in state politics. His mother, Mary Hansen Mead, ran for Wyoming governor in 1990. His grandfather, Clifford Hansen, served as the state’s governor from 1963 to 1967 and then as one of Wyoming’s senators from 1967 to 1978.

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Saturday, May 29th, 2010

Matt Mead (Matt Mead for Governor)

Matt Mead, a former Wyoming U.S. Attorney, will be one of seven candidates vying for the Republican nomination for governor. Friday marked the deadline for major party candidates to file with the Wyoming Secretary of State’s office.

The other Republicans in the race are Alan Kousoulos; state auditor Rita Meyer; former state Agriculture Director Ron Micheli; John H. Self; state House Speaker Colin Simpson; and Tom A Ubben.

Five Democrats filed paperwork to seek the nomination for the open seat currently occupied by Gov. Dave Freudenthal, who is term limited. They are Pete Gosar; Al Hamburg; Wyoming Democratic Party chairwoman Leslie Petersen; Rex Wilde; and Chris L. Zachary.

Both primaries will take place August 17.

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Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

A volunteer for an opponent of a former U.S. Attorney who is now running for governor in Wyoming tricked people seeking information on the ex-prosecutor — Matt Mead -  on the Internet, the Wyoming Tribune-Eagle reported today.

Matt Mead (Matt Mead for Governor)

The unnamed volunteer bought the Internet domain name, which redirected visitors to the campaign Web site of Wyoming state auditor Rita Meyer, who is running against Mead for the Republican nomination for governor. The bogus Web address now directs users to Mead’s official campaign Web site,

“This is the power of technology,” Meyer told the newspaper. “Sometimes these technology whippersnappers get a little overenthusiastic.”

The state auditor added that she took the campaign helper “to the woodshed” and was sorry about the incident.

Mead told the Tribune-Eagle that he didn’t think Meyer was involved with the Web site trickery. But he said using deception “isn’t the way you campaign in Wyoming.”

“I want voters to view everyone’s ideas,” Mead told the Cheyenne newspaper. “I don’t understand why somebody wants to do something like this. I don’t think it’s effective.”

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Friday, January 22nd, 2010

Matt Mead (Matt Mead for Governor)

Former Wyoming U.S. Attorney Matt Mead on Friday announced that he is officially a candidate for the Republican nomination for governor, The Gillette News reports. Mead, who served as the state’s top federal prosecutor from 2001 to 2007, formed an exploratory committee last November to consider running.

Mead resigned his federal prosecutor’s job to seek the Senate seat vacated by the death of Sen. Craig Thomas (R-Wyo.) but lost in a special GOP convention election. The seat eventually went to Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.).

The former prosecutor made the announcement at Brothers Coffee in Gillette, Wyo., according to the newspaper. He said, “This is not a decision I take lightly,” adding, “Every generation of my family has stressed the importance of public service.”

The newspaper reports Mead said he will run on a platform of putting Wyoming first. “Wyoming can not sit dormant and see what happens,” he said. “We don’t let Washington treat us like a great big park with a great big fuel pump.” Mead added, “In rancher terms, our nation is in a big drought but we insist on over-grazing our children’s pastures.”

Gov. Dave Freudenthal

Two other Republicans have officially announced their candidacy: Former state Rep. Ron Micheli and state House Speaker Colin Simpson. State Auditor Rita Meyer also has been mentioned as a possible candidate.

No Democrat has yet announced plans to run. Gov. Dave Freudenthal (D) has not announced whether he will seek a third term, which would require challenging term limit laws that cap the governor’s tenure at eight years. Attorney Paul Hickey and state Senate Minority Leader Mike Massie have been mentioned as possible candidates.

Mead told The Gillette News that the race will be won by the candidate who works the hardest. “My goal is to be on the road every single day.”

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

Wyoming’s new U.S. Attorney and his predecessor from the George W. Bush administration are involved in a game of political musical chairs, the Star Valley Independent reported today.

Democratic Gov. Dave Freudenthal named former U.S. Attorney Kelly Rankin as his legal counsel after he stepped down as Wyoming’s top federal prosecutor today, according to the newspaper. Rankin replaces Christopher “Kip” Crofts, who stepped down as the governor’s legal counsel to become Wyoming U.S. Attorney.

Rankin had been the Wyoming U.S. Attorney since summer 2008 and served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the office prior to his appointment. The Senate confirmed Crofts as Wyoming U.S. Attorney on Dec. 24.

“In his long career of public service, Kelly has developed a prosecutorial sense I appreciate,” Freudenthal said, according to the Independent. “I look forward to receiving what is sure to be his unvarnished advice.”

The former Bush administration U.S. Attorney said he is “honored to serve” as the governor’s legal counsel, according to the newspaper.

Thursday, December 24th, 2009

In a wrap-up session just before leaving town until next year,  the Senate today confirmed seven U.S. Attorneys by voice vote.

They are:

Richard Callahan (Gov)

Richard Callahan (Gov)

- Richard Callahan (Eastern District of Missouri): The state circuit judge in Missouri succeeds Catherine L. Hanaway, who resigned earlier this year. He was nominated for the post in October. Read more about Callahan here.

- Sanford Coats (Western District of Oklahoma): Coats, who been an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the western Oklahoma office, succeeds John Richter, who stepped down in August. Coats was nominated on Sept. 30. Read more about Coats here.

- Michael Cotter (Montana): The Helena, Mont., lawyer replaces Bill Mercer, who is a holdover from the George W. Bush administration. Obama nominated Cotter for U.S. Attorney on Sept. 25, after the live-in girlfriend of Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) withdrew from consideration. As the state’s senior Democratic senator, Baucus had recommended three candidates to the White House. Read more about Cotter here.

- Christopher Crofts (Wyoming): The counsel to Wyoming Gov. Dave Freudenthal (D) replaces Bush holdover Kelly Rankin. He was nominated on Nov. 30. Read more about Crofts here.

Barbara L. McQuade (ICLE)

Barbara L. McQuade (ICLE)

- Barbara McQuade (Eastern District of Michigan): The Eastern District of Michigan Assistant U.S. Attorney succeeds Stephen J. Murphy, who resigned in 2008. She was nominated on Nov. 30. Read more about her here.

James L. Santelle (Wisconsin Law Journal)

James L. Santelle (Wisconsin Law Journal)

- James Santelle (Eastern District of Wisconsin): Santelle, who has been an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District office, succeeds Steven Biskupic, who stepped down as U.S. Attorney in January. Obama tapped Santelle for the post on Nov. 30. Read more about Santelle here.

- Mary Elizabeth Phillips (Western District of Missouri): Phillips, who was nominated Sept. 30, succeeds John Wood, who resigned in February. Read more about Phillips here.

The Senate has now confirmed 31 U.S. Attorneys. The Senate Judiciary Committee has yet to schedule votes votes for another 10 would-be U.S. Attorneys, including the nominees Obama tapped today and last Tuesday. One of Obama’s nominees, Stephanie Villafuerte of Colorado, withdrew from consideration two weeks ago.