Wyoming treasurer wins GOP gubernatorial nod, beating Trump-backed rival

Wyoming treasurer wins GOP gubernatorial nod, beating Trump-backed rival
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Wyoming state Treasurer Mark Gordon secured the state's Republican gubernatorial nomination on Tuesday, beating Trump-endorsed rival Foster Friess in a crowded primary field.

The Associated Press called the race for Gordon with 91 percent of precincts reporting. Gordon carried 32 percent of the vote to Friess’s 26 percent.

Gordon, who's been Wyoming's treasurer since 2012, beat Friess even as the Republican mega-donor scored a last-minute endorsement from President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump cites tax cuts over judges as having biggest impact of his presidency Trump cites tax cuts over judges as having biggest impact of his presidency Ocasio-Cortez claps back at Trump after he cites her in tweet rejecting impeachment MORE earlier in the day in a state that gave Trump his largest margin in the country in the 2016 presidential election.

In November, the former businessman will face former state Rep. Mary Throne, who won the Democratic gubernatorial nomination Tuesday. But Gordon will be the overwhelming favorite to replace term-limited GOP Gov. Matt Mead in the deep-red state.

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While Gordon faced a crowded field of Republican primary contenders, his most significant opponent was Friess, who made his fortune in investment and asset management and had donated heavily to gubernatorial and congressional candidates across the country throughout the 2018 cycle.

Polling had shown both in a dead heat, though a University of Wyoming poll released over the weekend showed Gordon with a 6-point lead. 

But Friess had faced pushback for sinking his wealth into the race, having poured more than $2 million into his campaign so far, according to state campaign finance filings.

Trump's endorsement has often made the difference in Republican primaries given his popularity within his party, but that has not always been the case.

In Alabama, Trump had backed former Sen. Luther StrangeLuther Johnson StrangeTrump Jr. blasts reported Roy Moore Senate bid: 'It's time to ride off into the sunset' Don't import prescription drugs Roy Moore 'seriously considering' another Senate bid MORE in the GOP primary for a special Senate election, but Strange was defeated by former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy MooreRoy Stewart MooreLawyer for Roy Moore arrested on drug charges Lawyer for Roy Moore arrested on drug charges Doug Jones mocks Moore over reaction to potential Senate bid: 'They're just not that into you' MORE, who went on to lose the special election.