- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 11, 2014

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead made it official on Tuesday, kicking off his campaign for re-election at a public event in Cheyenne.

First lady Carol Mead introduced her husband, telling the crowd that Tuesday was Mead’s birthday. He just turned 52.

“When we think about the state of the country now, I have great concerns,” Gov. Mead said. “We all have an obligation to right the ship. One of the best ways we can right the ship is to lead by example. Wyoming should set the example for other states. Wyoming should set the example for the whole country on how to do it right.”

Mead emphasized he believes he’s performed well in his first years in office. He pointed to national rankings that place Wyoming among the top states for its business climate and financial condition. He said his tenure has built on the work of previous administrations, the Legislature and private industry.

Mead’s re-election announcement drew support from New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, chairman of the Republican Governors Association.

“From his first day in office, Governor Mead has fixed his eyes on a better tomorrow for Wyoming, and that focus has paid dividends,” Christie said in a prepared statement.

Christie noted Wyoming’s strong economy and pro-business environment. “These are the results of smart, conservative leadership at work,” Christie said, adding that the association is proud to support Mead’s re-election campaign.

Mead faces two declared opponents in the Aug. 19 Republican Party primary: State Superintendent of Public Instruction Cindy Hill and Taylor Haynes, a Cheyenne doctor who has served on the board of trustees at the University of Wyoming. No Democrat has announced a run for governor.

Mead said he’s prepared to put his record up against the record of whoever may ultimately face him in either the primary or general elections.

When Mead ran four years ago, he was virtually unknown in state politics. He had served as U.S. Attorney for Wyoming, but he resigned the position in 2007 in an effort to land the U.S. Senate seat vacated by the death of Sen. Craig Thomas. The seat went to Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo.

Fighting to get his name out to the public four years ago, Mead spent heavily of his own money to win a tight, four-way Republican gubernatorial primary. Now, running with all the advantages of a popular incumbent, he said Tuesday he doesn’t intend to finance his own campaign again.

“I am not a good fundraiser, but we’re not self-funding,” Mead said in an interview on Tuesday. “We’re going to ask for contributions from the people that want to support us. We’re not going to have some of the disadvantages we had last time, which was starting out with extremely low name recognition.”

Mead’s grandfather, the late Clifford Hansen, was governor and U.S. senator. His mother, Mary Mead, died in a riding accident in 1996.

“I’m motivated because of thoughts of those family members who came before me, starting with my great-grandfather, who said, ‘In Wyoming, where you find a blade of grass, you have an obligation to leave two,’ ” Mead said.

“That goes beyond ranching,” Mead said. “It’s the obligation of each generation to do something that makes it look better to the next generation. And as parents, isn’t that what we do? We want to provide a little better life for our kids. I’m motivated by love of state, love of country.”

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