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 TrumpWhite House sued over lack of sign language interpreters at coronavirus briefings Wife blames Trump, lack of masks for husband's coronavirus death in obit: 'May Karma find you all' Trump authorizes reduced funding for National Guard coronavirus response through 2020 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 StrangeSessions hits back at Trump days ahead of Alabama Senate runoff The biggest political upsets of the decade State 'certificate of need' laws need to go MORE in the GOP primary for a special Senate election, but Strange was defeated by former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy MooreRoy Stewart MooreSessions hits back at Trump days ahead of Alabama Senate runoff Judge allows Roy Moore lawsuit over Sacha Baron Cohen prank to proceed Senate outlook slides for GOP MORE, who went on to lose the special election.