Gov Mark Gordon, in an unusual Saturday announcement, has named Secretary of State Ed Buchanan as a District Court Judge for the Eighth Judicial District serving Goshen County.
The naming of Buchanan to the position is not surprising as he announced earlier that he would not be running for a second term so he could apply for the soon-to-be vacant position.
In addition, Buchanan will not be stepping down before the August 16 primary which would take away any any incumbency advantage that an interim, even in the very short term, could have.
“Buchanan will remain in office to fulfill his forthcoming duties and ensure a smooth transition before taking the bench,” the governor said in the announcement.
Michael Pearlman, spokesman for the governor, clarified that “forthcoming duties” in the press release meant Buchanan’s responsibilities as a member of the State Canvassing Board during the primary.
“It has not been determined exactly when the Secretary will assume the judgeship. So it’s possible it could be before the general election,” Pearlman told Cowboy State Daily.
In January, Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Below stepped down and that allowed for the State Republican Party to forward three names to Governor Gordon.
Brian Schroeder, who was selected by Gordon to serve as interim superintendent, is running for the office along with five others.
Top Two Candidates
The top two candidates running for Secretary of State are Sen. Tara Nethercott, R-Cheyenne, and Rep. Chuck Gray, R-Casper.
The two have had spirited debates and those debates have highlighted their disagreements over election integrity in Wyoming
While Nethercott has said she believes Wyoming elections are secure and is in favor of the use of ballot boxes, Gray has gone around the state playing the movie “2,000 Mules,” wants to remove ballot boxes, and is in favor of hand count audit of each election.
Following Wednesday’s debate between Nethercott and Gray in Casper, Richard Garrett, a Republican who is a longtime government relations consultant, questioned the need for election reform.
“The Wyoming Republican Party enjoys a super-majority in the legislature, holds each of the statewide elected offices and gave Donald Trump 70% of the vote in 2020,” Garrett tweeted on Wednesday. “To hand count ballots expecting to reveal widespread fraud and/or a different result defies logic & is a waste of time/resources.”
Buchanan said he was “honored and humbled” to receive the appointment from Gordon.
“I look forward to serving the citizens of the Eighth Judicial District and will work diligently to uphold the high standards of the judiciary,” Buchanan said.
“It is a privilege to serve Wyoming and my fellow elected officials as Secretary of State. I would like to assure our citizens that I am committed to fulfilling my duties prior to assuming the bench, both to ensure a smooth and secure election cycle and to finalize the many projects integral to the office,” the Secretary added.
Gordon said Buchanan has “served the state admirably” and was a good fit for the judgeship.
“His extensive legal background, his compassion for those in his community, and his passion for the law and our justice system will serve him well as a District Court judge in this next chapter of his public service career,” he said.
Gordon’s office said the Saturday announcement was not unusual as it was the deadline for the governor to select the judicial replacement and they’ve “done it before.”
“The governor has 30 days from when the judicial nominating commission delivers him 3 names. That deadline was today,” spokesman Michael Pearlman said.