State Senator Appointed to Fill Thomas Vacancy

Posted June 22, 2007 at 11:25am

Wyoming Gov. Dave Freudenthal (D) today appointed state Sen. John Barrasso (R) to succeed the late Sen. Craig Thomas (R), who died June 4 after a seven-month battle with leukemia.

Barrasso, a respected physician who has been in the Wyoming Senate for about five years, was one of three finalists for the vacancy selected Tuesday by the 71-member state Republican central committee.

“I look forward to working with John Barrasso as he assumes his duties as the interim Senator for Wyoming,” Freudenthal said in a prepared statement. “I pledge my cooperation to do all that I can to make sure he is a successful Senator.”

Barrasso, 54, beat out the other two Republicans selected by the state GOP on Tuesday in voting that whittled a field of 30 applicants down to three: former state Republican Chairman and ex-Justice Department Attorney Tom Sansonetti, who also served in the early 1990s as Thomas’ chief of staff, and former state Treasurer Cynthia Lummis (R).

According to Freudenthal’s office, Barrasso’s appointment as Thomas’ replacement is effective today, with a formal certificate of the appointment set to be forwarded to Secretary of the Senate Nancy Erickson.

In the event of a premature Senate vacancy, Wyoming law directs the political party of the departed incumbent to settle on a list of three possible replacements and to forward that list to the governor, who is charged with making the final selection.

If he wants to continue serving in the Senate beyond 2008, Barrasso will be required to run in a special election next year to fill the remaining four years of Thomas’ term.

— David M. Drucker