Tara Nethercott, Cheyenne Senator, Joins Race For Secretary Of State

Sen. Tara Nethercott, R-Cheyenne, on Tuesday announced she will be running for secretary of state. She is the third Republican to announce a candidacy for the job since Ed Buchanan opted against running for a second term.

Leo Wolfson

May 24, 20224 min read

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(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

A rising star in the Wyoming Legislature is running for secretary of state.

Sen. Tara Nethercott, R-Cheyenne, a senator in her second term, is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and a member of the Corporations, Elections and Political Subdivisions Committee that oversees all the state’s elections laws. 

She announced her candidacy on Tuesday afternoon.

“I am excited for the opportunity to continue to serve the people of Wyoming as secretary of state. We should be proud of our elections. Wyoming serves as an example to the nation for election integrity, but it is more important than ever to protect Wyoming’s elections,” Nethercott said in a Tuesday press release.

“I will be steadfast and vigilant to ensure safe and secure elections to defend our shared western values and will bring my experience and dedication as your next Republican Secretary of State,” she said.

“Huge Loss To Senate”

Sen. Ogden Driskill, R-Devils Tower, chairman of the Senate Corporations, Elections & Political Subdivisions Committee that Nethercott sits on, said if Nethercott wins the election, it would be a “huge loss to the Senate.”

“She’s a wonderful person and a great candidate,” he said. “She’s an exemplary candidate and as well-qualified as anyone for the job.”

One of the duties of the secretary of state is to oversee elections in Wyoming. This position has come under more scrutiny in recent years after claims of 2020 election fraud became rampant in certain conservative circles.

Three Candidates

Nethercott is the third candidate to enter the race for secretary of state. Senate President Dan Dockstader, R-Afton, filed first, followed by Rep. Chuck Gray, R-Casper, one day later.

Gray told Cowboy State Daily he welcomed Nethercott’s entry into the race.

“The more candidates the better because it will show the real contrast between my proven record in election integrity with the Voter ID bill and their sudden interest in the office now that it’s open,” he said.

In announcing his own candidacy last week, Gray accused President Joe Biden and the “radical left” of trying to steal elections and pledging to “fight them tooth and nail” to protect elections and the Voter ID law he sponsored. 

The bill was approved during the Legislature’s 2021 general session and is now the subject of a lawsuit in state district court in Albany County questioning its constitutionality. 

Dockstader, in an interview with Cowboy State Daily after making his announcement, said he was also looking forward to working with the Elections Division within the secretary of state’s office to guarantee election integrity.

No More Buchanan

Buchanan announced last week he would not seek a second full term in the office and would instead apply to be a district court judge in Goshen County. In April, Buchanan weighed in on the counting of ballots in Park County by hand, describing that activity as illegal.

The secretary of state’s office office plans to run post-election audits on voting machines in Wyoming this year.

Nethercott and Dockstader are both in the middle of their current terms, meaning they could return to the Legislature if they lose their bids for secretary of state.

Gray, on the other hand, is choosing to run for the secretary of state’s office rather than seek re-election to a 2-year House term.

In 2021, Nethercott won the Wyoming County Commissioners Association’s Legislator of the Year Award. She is a graduate of the Council of State Governments Western Leadership Academy, Leadership Wyoming and Leadership Cheyenne, and an alumnus of the National Security Forum Air War College.

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Leo Wolfson

Politics and Government Reporter