By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
The Wyoming Republican Party celebrated the news that a judge ruled in its favor in a lawsuit regarding the process it used to select nominees for the office of superintendent of public instruction.
A federal judge on Thursday denied a request for a temporary restraining order that would have blocked Gov. Mark Gordon from appointing a new superintendent from a list of three nominees filed by the Wyoming Republican Party’s central committee. The request was filed on the same day as a lawsuit alleging the GOP’s system for selecting nominees was unconstitutional.
Eathorne is named as a defendant in the lawsuit, which remains active despite the judge’s ruling on the restraining order, and he has maintained he is being sued for following the law.
“The Wyoming GOP wants to thank Chairman Frank Eathorne for his steadfast leadership in the face of Democrat-inspired attacks on him, the party, and Wyoming Republicans,” the party said on Friday. “Chairman Eathorne was savagely criticized for merely following the advice of not one, but two, different party lawyers, who rejected the Plaintiff’s unfounded requests to change the way voting has been performed for decades.”
The party praised Eathorne’s work as in the party as a precinct committeeman, a county central committee leader, a state central committee member and now as chairman of the entire party in the state.
“No one has more experience and understanding of the party process, or works harder for Wyoming Republicans than Chairman Eathorne, and no one is better equipped to stand up to the Democrats and liberals when these liberal attacks come,” the party said.
Shortly after the judge’s decision, Gordon named Brian Schroeder the new superintendent to finish out the unexpired term of Balow, who resigned earlier this month to take a similar job in Virginia. Balow’s term expires in January 2023.
Schroeder, Thomas Kelly and Marti Halverson were the three nominees chosen from a pool of about a dozen applicants.
“The Court has swiftly and decisively confirmed the propriety of Chairman Eathorne’s decision and the accuracy and effectiveness of the legal advice he received,” the party said. “Chairman Eathorne is to be commended for standing up to these political attacks and abuses of the legal system by those who seek to advance their liberal agenda by engaging in the politics of personal destruction,” the party said.
The Wyoming GOP was defended in the case by Tyler Green and Jeff Hetzel of the Washington, D.C. law firm of Consovoy McCarthy and Cheyenne lawyer Brian Shuck, with assistance from numerous other lawyers and dedicated Republicans.
“The Wyoming Republican Party assures Wyoming Republicans that we will never stop fighting for you and we’ll continue fighting these liberal attacks of lawfare,” the party said.
These are similar sentiments delivered by Eathorne earlier this week, following the lawsuit’s filing.
“Grassroots Republicans are being sued, by Democrats and a handful of self-important RINOs and (U.S. Rep. Liz) Cheney supporters, for following the law and completing its role in sending 3 names to the Governor so he can fill the vacancy created when Jillian Balow resigned, the same way elected official vacancies have been filled for decades in our state,” Eathorne said.