Secretary of State Ed Buchanan is being considered to fill a vacant circuit court judge’s seat in Goshen County, state officials announced Thursday.
Buchanan, in a prepared statement, said he felt “called” to submit his name for consideration for the post.
“I did not lightly consider this step in putting my name forward, such a step came after prayer and careful consideration of the needs of the State of Wyoming, my family and the citizens of Goshen County,” said Buchanan, a Republican. “When I heard of this vacancy in my home county, I felt called to serve in the capacity of a judge.”
Buchanan has served as Wyoming’s secretary of state since March, 2018, when he was appointed by then-Gov. Matt Mead to finish out the term of former Secretary of State Ed Murray, who resigned the previous month.
Buchanan was elected to his first full term in November, when he defeated former state legislator James Byrd by a vote of 137,026 to 53,355.
Buchanan said he has been honored to serve as the secretary of state, but he applied for the court vacancy because he felt strongly about being a judge in his home county.
“I faced the impossible choice knowing that I could serve my state and community in Goshen County through the Judicial System, while also struggling with the fact that I love the work of the secretary of state’s office,” his statement said. “Ultimately, the call to serve Goshen County as a judge was strong, but the decision was made knowing that my staff at the secretary of state’s office are prepared to smoothly transition and seamlessly accommodate the arrival of an appointed secretary of state, if that time comes.”
Gov. Mark Gordon has 30 days to select a new judge from the field of candidates, which also includes Cheyenne attorney Patricia Bennett and Torrington attorney Nathaniel Hibben.
Buchanan said he will continue to serve as secretary of state if Gordon selects one of the other candidates.
The candidate selected will receive an annual salary of $125,000, which rises to $145,000 on July 1. Wyoming’s secretary of state receives a salary of $92,000 per year.
Sharon Wilkinson, director of the Wyoming Bar Association, said in her 19 years with the Bar, she was not aware of another case where one of the state’s top elected officials indicated a willingness to step down to take a seat on a state court.