Wyo.: Alan Simpson's Seat Stays Republican
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AllPolitics, Nov. 5) -- GOP state Sen. Mike Enzi cruised past Democrat Kathy Karpan in the race to succeed retiring Republican Sen. Alan Simpson in Wyoming.
The lack of a prominent Republican heir apparent to Simpson, who has served three terms, gave Wyoming Democrats a chance for the first time in nearly three decades to grab a Senate seat in this solidly Republican state.
The state's GOP tilt should have given an edge to Enzi, but he was no sure thing in the contest against Karpan, a Cheyenne attorney and former two-term secretary of state.
She was unsuccessful as the Democratic nominee for governor in 1994 and had to be persuaded earlier this year by state and national Democratic officials to enter the Senate race. But after her somewhat reluctant entrance, Karpan breezed through the nomination in August against minimal opposition.
Since then, she tried to claim the political center by highlighting her opposition to Republican proposals that would shift federal responsibility for public land to the states.
Although GOP supporters portray that policy as a states' rights issue, Karpan argued that such a shift would overwhelm state governments ill-prepared to deal with such tasks.
Enzi, a conservative state legislator and businessman with close ties to Wyoming's Christian Coalition, opposes abortion rights. Karpan favors them. Previously serving eight years as mayor of Gillette in northeastern Wyoming, Enzi tried to paint Karpan as an out-of-touch liberal who believes in maintaining a large federal bureaucracy.
In addition, Karpan and Enzi locked horns in September over television advertising paid for by the National Republican Senatorial Committee. Produced independently of Enzi's campaign, the ads criticized Karpan for supporting a state sales tax extension. In fact, Enzi also endorsed that tax extension.
Karpan suggested Enzi knew about the content of the ads before they aired, which would have been a violation of federal campaign finance laws. But Enzi, who requested that the NRSC pull the ads, insisted he did not know about them in advance.
Congressional Quarterly contributed to this report.
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