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GOP Insurgent Spends $1M to Challenge Incumbent

Businessman Dave Dodson runs against mild-mannered John Barrasso
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 18, 2018 12:45 PM CDT
GOP Insurgent Spends $1M to Challenge Incumbent
In this March 20, 2018 file photo, Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., right speaks with Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, after a Republican policy luncheon on Capitol Hill in Washington.   (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, file)

(Newser) – Years ago, orthopedic surgeon John Barrasso gave regular health advice on the evening television news, Wyoming-wide exposure that established a reputation as a mild, level-headed caregiver and helped launch his political career. Through 16 years in office, including two elections for the Wyoming Senate and two for the US Senate, Barrasso never faced significant opposition—until now, the AP reports. Dave Dodson, a political newcomer and businessman little-known in Wyoming, has made a bold Republican primary bid to tap anger over Barrasso's corporate donations and Washington ties. Dodson has little in common with Donald Trump but it's a Trump-like effort in the state that gave the president his widest margin of victory over Hillary Clinton in 2016.

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On Tuesday, Wyoming voters will decide whether they're angry enough to bring home a man whose supporters refer to as "Wyoming's doctor," or are still happy to have Barrasso, a rising star in the Senate, represent them. "I'm involved in politics right now because I'm mad and fired up to do something," says Dodson. "I never envisioned ever being in political office at all." Dodson—who has pumped his own $1 million into his campaign—has invested in a range of industries, from auto parts to telecommunications, since the 1980s. Barrasso has refused to debate Dodson but isn't taking the threat sitting down. One Barrasso ad says Dodson gave $2,300 to Barack Obama and $1,000 to Bernie Sanders, donations reflected in Federal Election Commission records online. "So ask David Dodson, who does he really put first?" says the voice-over. Click for the full story.

(Read more Wyoming stories.)

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