By Molly Messick
Laramie, Wyo. – Wyoming Democratic Party Chair Leslie Petersen filed to run for governor today, the final day of the filing period. That gives the Democrats their first strong contender for the governor's seat.
Wyoming Public Radio News Director Bob Beck says he thinks Petersen waited to see if any other experienced candidate would step forward -- and then took it on herself to get in the race. "They were having a terrible time getting somebody who had ever run a statewide race or even a legislative race to run," he said. "She's been head of the Democratic Party. She's worked behind the scenes for years for Democratic candidates. She's certainly someone who knows the issues, knows how to run a campaign. And she was probably the only option they had at this late date."
Petersen is taking a leave of absence from her role as Democratic Party Chair. Former UW football player Pete Gosar also entered the race on the Democratic ticket today. There are four strong gubernatorial candidates on the Republican side. They are former U.S. Attorney Matt Mead, State Auditor Rita Meyer, former Department of Agriculture Director Ron Micheli, and Speaker of the Wyoming House Colin Simpson.