Sweeping all eight Powell area precincts, Rep. Dan Laursen piled up a surprisingly heavy margin in Tuesday’s primary voting to vault him into the general election as winner in the three-way …
Sweeping all eight Powell area precincts, Rep. Dan Laursen piled up a surprisingly heavy margin in Tuesday’s primary voting to vault him into the general election as winner in the three-way Republican contest for State Senate in SD 19.
Laursen’s showing toppled sitting State Sen. R.J. Kost of Powell and former State Sen. Ray Peterson of Cowley. Laursen has served four terms in the State House of Representatives in HD 25.
The final unofficial SD 19 totals had 2,580 votes for Laursen, Kost with 1,866 votes and Peterson with 1,557. SD 19 covers east Park County and north and central Big Horn County.
Laursen built a big lead in the district’s eight Powell area precincts where he collected 1,697 votes to 1,137 for Kost. Peterson trailed in Park County with 396.
The Big Horn County side of the district was won by Peterson, a Big Horn County resident. He received 1,161 votes to 883 for Laursen and 729 for Kost.
“We did very well in Powell,” Laursen said. “I was a little surprised, but pleased, how well we did in Big Horn County. I know a lot of the farmers over there. I also walked (and knocked doors) more than I had in the four times I ran for the House.”
“First, I want to thank the Lord for the results,” Laursen added. “The Lord has a mission for me.”
The veteran House legislator acknowledged he has a mission, too. That is to maintain a conservative presence in the Legislature.
“That was my main focus . . . to get that out there,” said Laursen. “I will continue with the moral compass I have had for the last eight years in the House and bring it to the Senate. I am totally for protecting life, the Second Amendment, private property rights and moral Christian values.”
Laursen also expressed gratitude to his wife “for the sacrifices she makes with all the time spent away from home.”
Kost and Peterson were gracious in defeat.
“It has been a different climate out there, and there is a lot of frustration and strongly divided positions,” Kost said. “I honestly didn’t know where it was going to end up. It is the voice of the people and that is what is important.”
Peterson said the real shocker to him was the tremendous turnout.
“There were a lot of ‘no voters’ who turned out in droves to vote against Liz Cheney,” he said. “I think that conservative vote turned into a lot of votes for Laursen.”
“Dan worked hard,” Peterson added. “He ran a good campaign. Congratulations to Dan. I wish him well in Cheyenne.”
Kost called his four years in the state Senate the greatest honor in his life.
“I met a lot of wonderful people and the experience will never be forgotten,” Kost said. “I feel I am blessed and very lucky to have had all the privileges I have had over the years. How could I ask for anything more?”
He added that he looks forward to spending more time with his wife and enjoying a less hectic lifestyle. He still serves on the Powell Hospital board.
“I have plenty of education groups I am on and will continue to pursue helping in education where I am asked to help,” Kost said.
Peterson was complimentary of the job Kost did in four years in the Senate.
“I have nothing but good to say about R.J. He did a fantastic job for us in Cheyenne,” Peterson said. “We are friends. Dan and I are friends.”