Josh Goodman is a former staff writer for GOVERNING..E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
And, far be it from me to speak ill of the Casper Star-Tribune. I think that Freudenthal's non-decision is news because the longer he doesn't decide, the more likely it becomes that he's running.
Without Freudenthal in the race, Democrats will be underdogs to hold the governorship. House Speaker Colin Simpson, whose father and grandfather were both U.S. senators, is one likely candidate. As the Star-Tribune reported in the afore-linked article, Republicans have other options too -- more options than the Democrats:Republicans on the list of potentials include, in addition to Simpson, Rep. Roy Cohee of Casper, a former House speaker; Matt Mead, a former U.S. attorney; Rita Meyer, current state auditor; and former legislator Ron Micheli of Fort Bridger.
In other words, if Freudenthal doesn't run, he'll leave his party in a bind. They'll have a lesser-known nominee and will have to overcome Wyoming's Republican inclinations.
If a Democrat other than Freudenthal is to have any chance to win, he or she will have to start getting acquainted with the state's voters very early. But, no Democrat is likely to declare as long as Freudenthal hasn't ruled out another bid.
In other words, if Freudenthal is looking out for the interests of his party (not completely a given with this independent-minded governor) and if he has come to the conclusion that he isn't running, we're likely to get an announcement sooner rather than later. If six months from now Freudenthal still is reiterating that he's undecided, my guess is that he'll be a candidate in 2010.
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