Matt Mead

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Matt Mead
Matt Mead.jpg
32nd Governor of Wyoming
Assumed office
January 3, 2011
Preceded by Dave Freudenthal
U.S. Attorney for the District of Wyoming
In office
October 12, 2001 – June 7, 2007
President George W. Bush
Preceded by Dave Freudenthal
Succeeded by Kelly Rankin
Personal details
Born Matthew Hansen Mead
(1962-03-11) March 11, 1962 (age 55)
Jackson, Wyoming, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Carol Mead
Children 2
Residence Governor's Mansion
Education Trinity University, Texas (BA)
University of Wyoming (JD)

Matthew Hansen "Matt" Mead (born March 11, 1962) is an American lawyer and politician who has served as the 32nd Governor of Wyoming since 2011. A Republican, he is a maternal grandson of Governor and U.S. Senator Clifford Hansen.

Early life and career[edit]

Mead, the son of Peter Bradford Mead and Mary Elisabeth Hansen Mead, was born and reared in Jackson, Wyoming. Mead graduated in 1984 with a bachelor's degree in radio/television from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas where he was a member of the Bengal Lancer fraternity among other pursuits. He then went on to earn a law degree from the University of Wyoming College of Law at Laramie. After law school, he served as a county and federal prosecutor and also practiced in a private law firm.

U.S. Attorney[edit]

In 2001, Mead was appointed United States Attorney for the District of Wyoming by President George W. Bush. He served until June 2007, when he resigned to seek the Senate seat vacated by the death of fellow Republican Craig L. Thomas.[1] His resignation was required under the Hatch Act of 1939.[2]

In accordance with Wyoming state law (which requires that, in the event a Senate seat is vacated, a nominee must be of the same political party as the predecessor), the Republican party selected the three candidates from which Democratic Governor Dave Freudenthal could make his selection. On the third ballot, The Republican State Central Committee, by fourteen votes, eliminated Mead from consideration. Freudenthal chose state Senator John Barrasso; the others he considered were former State Treasurer Cynthia Lummis of Cheyenne and former Republican State Chairman and lobbyist Tom Sansonetti, who had been an aide to Thomas.[3]


2010 election[edit]

Mead visiting Guantanamo Bay

In 2010, Mead won the Republican gubernatorial primary with 30,272 votes, defeating State Auditor Rita Meyer, who polled 29,558 votes, despite Meyer's endorsement by former Alaska governor Sarah Palin.[4] Fort Bridger rancher Ron Micheli finished third, with 27,592 votes; State House Speaker Colin M. Simpson finished fourth with 16,673 votes.[5]

With Freudenthal not running for a third term, because of term limits,[6] Mead was a heavy favorite in the general election; Wyoming is heavily Republican.

Mead's campaign emphasized his support for gun rights. He opposed gay marriage and abortion, but stated that there should be exceptions to allow an abortion when the woman's health or life is at stake and in cases of rape and incest. On November 2, 2010, Mead easily defeated Leslie Petersen, the former chairwoman of the Wyoming Democratic Party, receiving 72% of the vote to Petersen's 25%.[7]

2014 election[edit]

In late January 2013, Wyoming Superintendent of Public Instruction Cindy Hill, a Republican, announced that she would be a candidate in Wyoming's 2014 governor's race. A Tea Party favorite, Hill would face Mead in the Republican primary on August 19, 2014.[8] Earlier in January, Mead had signed legislation sharply reducing the responsibilities of Hill's office, making the position largely ceremonial.[9]

To supersede Hill, Mead named Rich Crandall, a moderate Republican member of the Arizona State Senate and a political ally of former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, to fill the newly established position of "director" of the Wyoming Education Department. The Wyoming Supreme Court in January 2014 rebuffed Mead and declared that the legislature had overstepped its constitutional powers when it stripped Hill of most of her office duties.[10] Mead unsuccessfully appealed the decision, and Hill resumed her duties in May 2014, just a few weeks before the beginning of the gubernatorial primary campaign.

Meanwhile, two Republican lawmakers who claim no ties to Hill have called for a special prosecutor to investigate Mead's conduct in the matter. Representatives Gerald Gay of Casper and Stephen Watt of Rock Springs claim that Mead abused the powers of his office and used funds prior to legal authorization to discredit Hill.[11]

Gay said: "I am in possession of information and internal email correspondence that gives rise to the concern that the governor has used state monies to manufacture allegations against a political opponent. ... The public knows an abuse of power when they see it, and this (is) one of the most egregious examples of abuse of power in Wyoming history. ... I believe there were political motivations because of the timeline that was involved. ... The things I have found are egregious enough that they have to be stopped immediately and to make sure they never happen again."[11]

Gay claimed that a special prosecutor is needed because he does not trust Wyoming Attorney General Peter K. Michael, a Mead appointee, to conduct a fair probe. Michael said that his office does not prosecute crimes except in rare situations which would not apply in this particular matter.[11]

Mead handily won re-nomination in the 2014 Republican primary, having defeated Dr. Taylor Haynes and Hill. Mead finished with 53,626 votes (55 percent) to Haynes's 31,490 (32 percent), and Hill's 12,443 (13 percent).[12] In the November 4 general election, Mead handily defeated Peter Thomas "Pete" Gosar (born 1968), the former Democratic Party state chairman and the brother of a Republican U.S. representative from Arizona. In the same election, Republican Jillian Balow, backed by Mead, won election to succeed Hill as the education superintendent.[13]


On October 26, 2012, Mead named Buffalo, Wyoming businessman and rancher Mark Gordon as the state treasurer, to succeed Joseph B. Meyer, who died in office.[14] On February 17, 2015 Governor Mead vetoed legislation intended to prevent the state from permanently confiscating an individual’s property through civil forfeiture until after a felony conviction had been attained. The legislation, Senate File 14, gained strong popular support and passed through the Wyoming Legislature, with majorities in excess of 2/3 in both houses.[15] An attempt to override the bill failed.[16]


Mead has an older brother, Bradford Scott "Brad" Mead, a Jackson attorney, and an older sister, Muffy Mead-Ferro of Salt Lake City, the author of Confessions of a Slacker Mom.[17]

Mead's mother, Mary, was the GOP gubernatorial nominee in 1990. Considered an expert horsewoman, she died in 1996, on her 61st birthday, in a horseback accident while working cattle in Grand Teton National Park. In 2003, Mead and his brother and sister put their family ranch in the park up for sale; the price was said to be $110 million.[18] Mead's paternal aunt, Andrea Mead Lawrence, was an alpine ski racer who competed in three Winter Olympic Games and won two gold medals for the United States.[19]

Mead and his wife Carol have two children.[20]

Electoral history[edit]

Wyoming Gubernatorial Republican primary results. 2010
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Matt Mead 30,308 28.7
Republican Rita Meyer 29,605 28.0
Republican Ron Micheli 27,630 26.1
Republican Colin Simpson 16,722 15.8
Republican Alan Kousoulos 566 0.5
Republican Tom Ubben 432 0.4
Republican John Self 295 0.3
Republican Write-ins 202 0.2
Total votes 105,760 100
Wyoming gubernatorial election, 2010
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Matt Mead 123,780 65.68% +35.67%
Democratic Leslie Petersen 43,240 22.94% -47.05%
Independent Taylor Haynes 13,796 7.32%
Libertarian Mike Wheeler 5,362 2.85%
Write-ins 2,285 1.21%
Majority 80,540 42.74% +2.75%
Turnout 190,822
Republican gain from Democratic Swing
Wyoming Gubernatorial Republican primary results. 2014
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Matt Mead 53,673 54.04
Republican Taylor Haynes 31,532 31.75
Republican Cindy Hill 12,464 12.55
Republican Write-in 215 0.22
Republican Over Votes 26 0.03
Republican Under Votes 1,402 1.41
Total votes 99,312 100
Wyoming gubernatorial election, 2014
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Matt Mead 99,700 58.25 -7.43%
Democratic Pete Gosar 45,752 26.73 3.79%
Independent Don Wills 9,895 5.78
Libertarian Dee Cozzens 4,040 2.36 -0.49%
Write-in Other 8,490 4.96
Over Votes Other 62 0.04
Under Votes Other 3,214 1.88
Majority 53,948 31.52 -11.52%
Total votes 171,153 100
Republican hold Swing


  1. ^ "Mead Seeking Seat". Jackson Hole News & Guide. June 12, 2007. 
  2. ^ Angus M. Thuermer Jr. (June 8, 2007). "Mead quits federal post". Jackson Hole News & Guide. 
  3. ^ "Wyoming Names Senate Replacement". CBS News. February 11, 2009. Retrieved June 1, 2013. 
  4. ^ Linda Feldmann (July 30, 2010). "Sarah Palin anoints a new 'mama grizzly': Does it make a difference?". 
  5. ^ "It's Mead by a Hair". Wyoming Tribune Eagle. August 18, 2010. 
  6. ^ Tom Morton (January 23, 2010). "Former U.S. Attorney Mead running for Wyoming governor". Casper Star-Tribune. 
  7. ^ "Wyoming: Matt Mead elected governor; Democrats win no statewide offices". USA Today. Associated Press. November 4, 2010. 
  8. ^ John Celock (February 1, 2013). "Cindy Hill, Demoted Wyoming Schools Boss, Running For Governor". Retrieved June 1, 2013. 
  9. ^ John Celock (February 28, 2013). "Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead Not Focused On Cindy Hill's Primary Challenge". Retrieved June 1, 2013. 
  10. ^ "State asks court to reconsider Hill ruling". Wyoming Tribune-Eagle. Retrieved January 31, 2014. 
  11. ^ a b c "Lawmakers call for Mead probe: Representatives say that power was abused and funds were misused in Cindy Hill investigation". Wyoming Tribune-Eagle. July 25, 2014. Retrieved July 27, 2014. 
  12. ^ "Mead wins GOP primary for Wyoming governor". Wyoming Tribune-Eagle. August 19, 2014. Retrieved August 20, 2014. 
  13. ^ Aaron Schrank (November 5, 2014). "Republican Jillian Balow Elected Wyoming Schools Chief". Wyoming National Public Radio. Retrieved December 11, 2014. 
  14. ^ Trevor Brown. "Mead selects treasurer". Wyoming Tribune Eagle, October 27, 2012. Retrieved October 30, 2012. 
  15. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  16. ^ Hancock, Laura (February 27, 2015). "Veto Override on Asset Forfeiture Bill fails in Wyoming Senate". Casper Star-Tribune. Retrieved November 26, 2016. 
  17. ^ Mead-Ferro, Muffy (2004). Confessions of a Slacker Mom. Da Capo Lifelong. p. 152. ISBN 978-0-7382-0994-4. 
  18. ^ Angus M. Thuermer Jr. "Mead Ranch on the Block". Jackson Hole News,. Retrieved October 28, 2009. 
  19. ^
  20. ^ Bill McCarthy (January 23, 2010). "Mead officially running for governor". Wyoming Tribune Eagle. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Dave Freudenthal
Governor of Wyoming
Party political offices
Preceded by
Ray Hunkins
Republican nominee for Governor of Wyoming
2010, 2014
Most recent
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Mike Pence
as Vice President
Order of Precedence of the United States
Within Wyoming
Succeeded by
Mayor of city
in which event is held
Succeeded by
Otherwise Paul Ryan
as Speaker of the House of Representatives
Preceded by
Butch Otter
as Governor of Idaho
Order of Precedence of the United States
Outside Wyoming
Succeeded by
Gary Herbert
as Governor of Utah