AP Touts New Wyoming Senator's Conservatism; Leaves Out Legalities

Wyoming's governor (Democrat Dave Freudenthal) just announced the successor to the late Republican Senator Craig Thomas. This AP story, which appears on numerous news outlet websites, highlights John Barrasso's many conservative qualities. It's entitled "Conservative Wyo. Surgeon Named Senator":

Barrasso, 54, will serve in Thomas' place until the beginning of 2009. He said on his application that he also intends to then run in a November 2008 special election to serve out the remainder of Thomas' term, which ends in 2013.

Barrasso also left no doubt that he will be a conservative voice in Washington.

"I believe in limited government, lower taxes, less spending, traditional family values, local control and a strong national defense," the orthopedic surgeon and state senator from Casper wrote in his application.

He said he has "voted for prayer in schools, against gay marriage and have sponsored legislation to protect the sanctity of life."

Wyoming state law dictates that a replacement senator must come from the same party as the senator being replaced. The AP story seems quite vague about this:

State Republican Party officials had given Gov. Dave Freudenthal a slate of three nominees from which he had to choose the temporary replacement for Thomas. Freudenthal, a Democrat, chose Barrasso over Cheyenne attorney Tom Sansonetti and former state Treasurer Cynthia Lummis.

The reader might get the idea that Gov. Freudenthal was somehow strong-armed into picking another Republican to fill the seat, when in fact, he was following the law.

This "New York Times" piece, however, is more specific:

Barrasso, a 54 year old state senator and orthopedic surgeon, was appointed to the position Friday by Democratic Gov. Dave Freudenthal, who was required by state law to pick a member of the departed incumbent’s own party to fill the vacancy.

Congress Labeling Associated Press