U.S. Senator Craig Thomas of Wyoming dies at age 74

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Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Senator Craig Thomas.

U.S. Senator from Wyoming Craig L. Thomas (R), 74, has died of acute myeloid leukemia at the National Naval Medical Center located in Bethesda, Maryland. He died just hours after doctors had said that his chemotherapy was no longer having an effect on the cancer.

"At this difficult time, all we can do is give him as much love and support as possible," said his wife Susan in a statement released by the Senator's office.

"Wyoming had no greater advocate, taxpayers had no greater watchdog, and rural America had no greater defender than Craig Thomas. The Senate is a lesser place without Craig here, but the state of Wyoming and our nation are much better places because he was here," said Mitch McConnell, the Republican Senate leader in a statement to the press.

Thomas won his Senate seat in 2006 with 70% of the voters supporting him, despite canceling the last half of his campaign trail due to medical issues. He announced his condition just two days after the election. He began to receive chemotherapy after winning the election and returned to work in December, a month before he was scheduled to do so.

Thomas, who supported domestic energy and minerals production, helped to federal money to be spent on building a coal gasification plant in the state to keep jobs there, rather than overseas.

"[Thomas] is a very big loss to the people of this state. He carried the values that we treasure in Wyoming to Washington and had many successes," said Wyoming state Governor Dave Freudenthal.

While Freudenthal is a Democrat and will be selecting a replacement for Thomas, the seat is not likely to shift party hands since Freudenthal must select one of three candidates offered by the Republican state central committee.

Thomas was serving his third 6 year term in the Senate.