Monday, April 19, 2010

LDS Rancher Ron Micheli Running For Governor Of Wyoming As A Republican, Promotes Traditional Heartland Republican Values

Update August 18th: Ron Micheli finishes third with 26 percent of the vote. Matt Mead wins with 29 percent, while Rita Meyer finishes second with 28 percent. Full election results now available HERE.

Update August 16th: Ron Micheli surging in polls; endorsements pouring in from ordinary citizens. See updated post HERE.

Update August 3rd: See new post for analysis as to why Ron Micheli is sliding in the polls, and how media misrepresentation is playing a role in the campaign.

In Wyoming, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints make up just over 10 percent of the population of about 550,000. The latest official information, current as of December 2009, indicates a total of 62,411 Mormons scattered among 152 separate congregations. It is the state’s third-largest religious denomination after Protestants and Catholics. The southwestern portion of the state has the highest percentage of Mormons.

So it is no surprise that one of the candidates for governor is a member of the LDS Church. The Billings Gazette and the Casper Star-Tribune report on the candidacy of Ron Micheli, who is identified as a rancher, a former legislator and former director of the Wyoming Department of Agriculture. And Micheli ranches near Fort Bridger in southwest Wyoming — heavy Mormon country.

But the 61-year-old Micheli, whose father’s family is Catholic and whose mother’s family is Mormon, says he hasn’t found his religion to be a negative in his campaign so far. He also does not have a strategy of concentrating on the Mormon and agricultural vote to lock up the primary. “We want to get as many votes as we can no matter what a person’s faith is or what they do for a living or where they live,” Micheli said. “I don’t think people of the same faith or occupation will automatically vote for you.” Micheli is seeking the Republican nomination for governor, which will be decided in the state's August 17th primary election.

On his official campaign website, Ron Micheli shows he is a proponent of traditional Republican values. A strong supporter of the Constitution, Micheli wants to build a strong economy with high quality jobs by working to protect local industries diversifying the state's economic base. He will fight for the Constitution and join with other governors to confront the infringement of the Federal government upon rights of the states. He will work to strengthen and protect core values such as hard work, self-reliance, sacrifice, and perseverance by keeping the tax burden low so families can make ends meet, and will also work to protect against policies that erode traditional family values. Micheli is conditionally pro-life, meaning that he opposes state funding of abortions except in cases of rape, incest, or life of the mother. As a lawmaker, he supported and advocated legislation to require parental notification before an abortion could be performed on a minor.

Finally, Micheli believes Wyoming must be a leader in providing the fuel to drive our national economy. Wyoming’s coal, natural gas, oil, uranium, wind and other resources can provide the means for our nation to wean itself from its reliance on foreign oil and the energy needed to get our economy back on track. But as a fourth-generation rancher, he is conscious of the need to take care of the land and protect the environment. But he wants to achieve a judicious balance between development and environment. Right now Micheli is waging a spirited campaign against the Obamacare health care bill recently passed, saying that "the passage of Obamacare is the most dangerous and egregious expansion of federal power in our lifetimes – perhaps even since Wyoming attained statehood". A recent Rasmussen poll indicates that 68 percent of Wyoming residents oppose Obamacare.

As of July 9th, the Wyoming Secretary of State website indicates that many more candidates have now entered the race. Other Republican challengers include former U.S. Attorney Matt Mead, Wyoming State Auditor Rita Meyer, House Speaker Colin M. Simpson, Alan Kousoulos, John H. Self, and Tom A. Ubben. State Senator Mike Massie, originally expected to provide the Democratic opposition, did not declare; five other Democrats, including Al Hamburg, Chris L. Zachary, Leslie Peterson, Pete Gosar, and Rex Wilde, all jumped in. A March 25th Rasmussen poll reveals that, although all four Republicans would handily defeat Massie in the general election, there is no clear-cut consensus among Republicans as to who should represent them; Micheli is perceived to be the strongest Republican, but only by a narrow margin. Micheli shares his thoughts on the Rasmussen poll HERE. Micheli also maintains a Facebook page HERE.

Here's a more recent Rasmussen poll from June 26th. The Republican candidates are not related directly against one another, but the top four Republicans are polled against the top two Democrats. From the results, we find that Rita Meyer is the strongest Republican, followed by Matt Mead, Ron Micheli, and Colin Simpson. But the difference is small enough so that any of them could still win the Republican nomination. Mead thinks he's in the lead, though.

Update August 2nd: The Casper Star-Tribune now reports that Ron Micheli is fourth in a poll of 400 likely Republican voters conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling from July 26-28. Rita Meyer, who's been endorsed by Sarah Palin, leads with 27 percent, Matt Mead has 24 percent, Colin Simpson, who has since been endorsed by George W. Bush, has 17 percent, and Micheli trails with 12 percent. Micheli's main handicaps appear to be a higher-than-normal negative rating and a comparative lack of name recognition, although a letter previously written by Micheli allegedly pleading for leniency for convicted rapist Ty McDowell has been misrepresented by the media and has hurt Micheli's campaign. But Micheli's campaign manager Bill Cubin questions the accuracy of the poll, claiming it was taken before the campaign launched its latest advertising blitz.

Another poll commissioned by the Matt Mead campaign July 25-26 indicates Micheli is running third with 18 percent.

The LDS Church encourages any of its members so inclined to get involved in the political process, to include running for elections. They show no preference towards any party; the Church values Mitt Romney and Harry Reid equally.


Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

I think Ron is the best candidate for governor because he isn't afraid to talk about who he is and what his vision is for Wyoming. I hope you join me in voting for Ron Micheli.

Anonymous said...

Conservative Bill said...

I have met with Mr. Micheli 3 times, have studied his background,listened to his speeches, and I am going to vote for him. I urge others to do so. I think he is a good decent conservative, and what WY needs for governor.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't vote for this guy if somebody put a gun to my head and ordered me to do so. We don't need any more clueless, radical whackjobs in politics.

Anonymous said...

This is a man that inappropriately tried to influence a judge's sentencing decision on behalf of a violent rapist. I'm not familiar with that particular Traditional Heartland Value.

Jack Mormon said...

Anonymous July 14th 4:34 P.M: You conveniently neglected to mention that Micheli said he would never grant the rapist any clemency or pardon as Governor, so I don't think he was trying to get him off.

In the letter, Micheli was merely trying to point out that Ty Oliver McDowell was not a habitual criminal.