Simpson disputes idea that Mead leads race
By Thomas Dewell, Jackson Hole, Wyo.
June 26, 2010
The day after one gubernatorial candidate came to Jackson and said he was leading the Republican field, another candidate visited the valley and said the tight race has top contenders feeling like they’re a nose in front.
On Friday, candidate Colin Simpson, of Cody, visited the Jackson Hole Daily before speaking to members of a dental association at Snow King and reacted to an assertion from his fellow party member and candidate Matt Mead.
Just a day earlier, Mead, a Teton County native who lives in Cheyenne, told the Daily that input from state residents, responses to his Web site and the growth in volunteers helping his campaign led him to believe he was leading the GOP contest that will be decided in the Aug. 17 primary.
Simpson said the tight race and positive responses are not just being enjoyed by the Mead campaign.
“It’s great that we all believe that we’re the front-runner,” Simpson said, with a lacing of humor.
He added: “There is a lot of time left. It is a competitive race. The last two to three weeks of a campaign can be very critical.”
Simpson’s service in the Wyoming Legislature and the public’s perception of the Legislature have helped him garner approval ratings twice that of any other contestant, said the candidate who just completed work as speaker of the Wyoming House.
“I think each candidate has pockets of support around the state,” Simpson said. “I find I have great support in many, many areas and I believe I’m the front-runner.”
Those watching the race closely believe it could be a tight contest. To win among seven people, a candidate may need to get only 25 percent to 31 percent of the primary vote, veteran campaign watchers have said.
Along with Mead, Simpson is running against Ron Micheli, of Fort Bridger; Rita Meyer, of Cheyenne; Alan Kousoulos, of Cody; John Self, of Sheridan; and Tom Ubben, of Laramie.
How people perceive a candidate is important, Simpson said.
“The governor’s race is a special race,” Simpson said. “The person and the personality of the candidate means a great deal to people.
“I’m not an extremist, and I make good, reasonable decisions after consideration and I believe that that’s what’s best for Wyoming,” he said.
The No. 1 issue Simpson hears from Wyoming residents as he traverses the state is the economy. People would like to see business bounce back a little more quickly than it has, he said.
State government can help by keeping taxes low and not hamstringing business with too much regulation, the candidate said. Wyoming legislators also have created economic incentives in the tax code and other areas to help businesses.
The economy is a pervasive issue. Simpson linked student performance in primary and secondary education to parents having stable jobs.
“A good economy and a good job takes pressure off people at home,” Simpson said. “When they are struggling, school is not the top priority.”
Simpson said he would work to improve Wyoming’s economy.
“We have a high quality of life, personal freedoms and great opportunities,” he said. “I know I can do a great job of promoting Wyoming and helping businesses find other people who may be interested in what they’re doing.”