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SHERIDAN — Republican challenger Bo Biteman upset Rep. Rosie Berger, R-Big Horn, in Tuesday’s primary election, ousting the 14-year legislator who was positioned to take over as Wyoming’s speaker of the House next year.
Biteman surpassed Berger with 1,383 votes compared to Berger’s 1,074.
Berger fared well in precincts close to the city and in Big Horn, but voters in Dayton, Ranchester and Story primarily leaned toward Biteman.
“I am absolutely humbled and honored to have earned the vote of the people,” Biteman said in a written statement emailed to The Press Tuesday night. “First and foremost I would like to thank God for giving me the courage and the strength to stay positive and focused on the needs of the voters throughout this campaign.
“I also would like to thank all of my supporters, friends, family and volunteers for their hard work, sacrifice and dedication to the cause,” he added. “Also, I’d like to thank Rosie for her 14 years of service to the people of Wyoming. I look forward to campaigning hard in the general election and to earning another victory in November.”
Biteman has described himself as a constitutional conservative and has criticized Berger for what he called her liberal voting record. Biteman has worked as a certified professional landman in the oil and gas industry and is a volunteer firefighter in Ranchester.
Berger was Wyoming’s second ranking Republican in the House and had hoped to make history by becoming the only female speaker of the House since 1969.
“It is hard to put into words my tremendous gratitude for the support and encouragement I have received from so many people in Sheridan County,” Berger said in a written statement emailed to The Press Wednesday morning. “I have always said it is a tremendous honor and privilege to serve my friends and neighbors in House District 51.”
Biteman will face Democrat Hollis Hackman in the November general election.
Hackman has advocated for the expansion of Medicaid, funding of the state’s educational system and the need to look for alternative sources of revenue for the state.
In other local House races, Rep. Mark Kinner, R-Sheridan, defeated Republican challenger Steven Cain. He will face Democrat Sandra Kingsley in the general election.
In House District 30, Rep. Mark Jennings, R-Sheridan, defeated challenger Gail Symons. He will face Democrat Val Burgess in the general election.
In House District 40, which covers eastern Sheridan and all of Johnson counties, Rep. Mike Madden, R-Buffalo, defeated Republican challenger Alfred Weeden and will face Democrat Greg Haas in the general.