Dave Freudenthal

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Dave Freudenthal
31st Governor of Wyoming
In office
January 6, 2003 – January 3, 2011
Preceded byJim Geringer
Succeeded byMatt Mead
United States Attorney for the District of Wyoming
In office
March 25, 1994 – May 2001
PresidentBill Clinton
George W. Bush
Preceded byRichard Stacy
Succeeded byMatt Mead
Personal details
David Duane Freudenthal

(1950-10-12) October 12, 1950 (age 73)
Thermopolis, Wyoming, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
SpouseNancy Roan
EducationAmherst College (BA)
University of Wyoming (JD)

David Duane Freudenthal (born October 12, 1950) is an American attorney, economist, and politician who served as the 31st governor of Wyoming from 2003 to 2011. Freudenthal previously was the United States Attorney for the District of Wyoming from 1994 to 2001. As of 2023, he is the most recent Democrat to hold statewide office in Wyoming.


Education and career[edit]

Dave Freudenthal was born in Thermopolis, the seat of Hot Springs County in north central Wyoming, the seventh of eight children; he grew up on a farm north of town. He graduated in 1973 from Amherst College in Amherst, Massachusetts, with a bachelor's degree in economics. After graduating he joined the Department of Economic Planning and Development as an economist and later became the state planning director for Governor Edgar Herschler.

Freudenthal received his J.D. degree from the University of Wyoming College of Law in 1980 and went into private practice. After retiring as governor, Freudenthal briefly worked at the law firm of Crowell & Moring as senior counsel in the firm's Cheyenne, Wyoming office.[1]

Political career[edit]

In 1994, upon the recommendation of Governor Mike Sullivan, Freudenthal was appointed United States Attorney for the District of Wyoming. He left this post in May 2001 and was replaced by future governor Matt Mead.

In 2002, Freudenthal contested the Democratic primary for the gubernatorial election held later that year and won with over 50% of the vote against a field of opponents. He went on to be elected governor of Wyoming on November 5, 2002 with 50% of the vote. He ran for reelection on November 7, 2006, and improved his vote count to 70%, sweeping every county in the state. Freudenthal announced on March 4, 2010 that he would not attempt to seek a third term as governor after speculation he would push to repeal state law on term limits;[2] that law limited governors to eight years in office during a 16-year period.

Freudenthal remained consistently popular with his constituents throughout his tenure, even though he was a Democrat in a state that had turned almost solidly Republican.[3] As governor he often took rather conservative positions, leading to disagreements with federal officials and environmental groups.[4] In fact, Freudenthal and his eventual Republican successor, Matt Mead, notably held similar positions on various issues.[5] The majority of his two terms oversaw an enormous energy boom and surpluses in government revenue, although this was later reversed after the Great Recession; Freudenthal then called for cuts to state agencies as growth continued to slow.[6] In June 2007, following the death of Republican U.S. Senator Craig Thomas, he appointed Republican John Barrasso to the United States Senate; state law required him to select an appointee from a shortlist compiled by the Wyoming Republican Party.[7]

Personal life[edit]

Freudenthal is married to Nancy D. Freudenthal, a native of Cody, who serves as a judge on the United States District Court for the District of Wyoming. They have four children: Donald, Hillary, Bret and Katie. His brother, Steve Freudenthal, served as Attorney General under Governor Edgar Herschler and was a member of the state House of Representatives.[8] In 2008, while serving as Governor, Freudenthal underwent surgery on his shoulder; during this time Secretary of State Max Maxfield served as acting governor for a short time.[9]

Electoral history[edit]

Wyoming gubernatorial election, 2002
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Dave Freudenthal 92,662 49.96%
Republican Eli Bebout 88,873 47.92%
Libertarian Dave Dawson 3,924 2.12%
Wyoming gubernatorial election, 2006[10]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Dave Freudenthal 135,516 69.99% +20.03%
Republican Ray Hunkins 58,100 30.01% -17.91%


  1. ^ "Dave Freudenthal". Crowell & Moring. Archived from the original on August 24, 2012. Retrieved July 10, 2012.
  2. ^ "Wyoming Gov. Freudenthal won't seek third term". KUSA.com. Retrieved January 9, 2021.
  3. ^ "Will Wyoming's Governor Buck Term Limits?". The Washington Post.
  4. ^ "US News - Mar 04, 2010 - Wyoming Gov. Freudenthal won't seek third term". RealClearPolitics. March 4, 2010. Retrieved September 4, 2010.
  5. ^ "Outgoing Wyoming Gov. Dave Freudenthal credits success to family, co-workers".
  6. ^ "RealClearPolitics - US News - Mar 04, 2010 - Wyoming Gov. Freudenthal won't seek third term".
  7. ^ "State Senator Appointed to Fill Thomas Vacancy". Roll Call. June 22, 2007. Retrieved October 22, 2023.
  8. ^ "Gov. taps brother's law partner for next Wy. attorney general". Legal News Line. Retrieved November 2, 2023.
  9. ^ "Wyo. governor's shoulder surgery a success". KUSA.com. Retrieved January 9, 2021.
  10. ^ http://soswy.state.wy.us/Elections/Docs/2006/06Results/06General/SW_Candidates_Summary.pdf[bare URL PDF]

External links[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by Democratic nominee for Governor of Wyoming
2002, 2006
Succeeded by
Leslie Petersen
Political offices
Preceded by Governor of Wyoming
Succeeded by
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded byas Former Governor Order of precedence of the United States Succeeded byas Former Governor