By Clair McFarland, Cowboy State Daily
While the number of new Wyoming voters grew by about 2,000 last month, the Republican Party gained 7,000, according to official voter statistics.
On July 1 there were 200,579 registered Republicans in Wyoming, comprising just over 71% of the whole. One month later on Aug. 1 there were 207,674 Republicans registered, for nearly 73% of the total voter registry, according to voter data published each month by the Wyoming Secretary of State.
Democratic numbers continue to drop. There were 43,285 registered Democrats in the state on July 1. That was 15.3% of all voters. On Aug. 1 there were 39,753, or about 14%.
The gulf between the number of Republican and Democrat voters in Wyoming isn’t the only movement heading into the Aug. 16 Republican and Democrat primary elections. Every other category lost voters.
Wyoming’s Libertarian numbers dropped by 38. The Constitution party lost 16 voters. Unaffiliated voters dropped by more than 1,000, from 34,925 to 33,769. And in the slim “other” category, the figure dropped by three voters.
The total number of registrants rose from 282,207 on July 1 to 284,557 on Aug. 1 – a change of 2,350 added voters.
This means the number of new Republicans nearly triples the number of new voters registered last month. Similarly, the number of new Republicans added since January is about triple the total number of voters gained since January.
Cheney, Is That You?
Both Republican and Democratic political experts and activists have told Cowboy State Daily throughout the election season that many Democrats are crossing over to Republican before the Primary Election so that they can vote for U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney.
Cheney voted in January 2021 to impeach former President Donald Trump, a move hotly contested within the Republican party but generally approved of by outspoken Democrats. The Wyoming Republican party censured Cheney about three weeks later.
Wyoming party changes throughout 2021, which was not an election year, were mostly static, but that changed in 2022.
Except for the Republican registry, every party and voter category in Wyoming lost numbers between January and now.
Republicans have gained by 11,495 voters, or 3.1% of the total since January.
Democrats lost 6,069 voters, or 2.4% of the registry, from January to August.
The Constitution party fluctuated but has lost seven registrants since January.
Libertarians dropped by 20 people, unaffiliated lost 1,575 and the “other” category has dropped by eight in the past seven months, all while the Republican roster swelled.
Many Democratic voters on June 23 and 24 received Cheney-sponsored mailers instructing them on how to switch to Republican before the Primary Election, to “vote for Liz.”
Tenfold Growth Rate For Repubs
Until August, the 2022 Republican party gains were steady and incremental from month to month, inching from 69.9% in January to the 71% recorded in Wyoming in July.
Compare that to the party’s jump from July to August, when Republican registrants leapt from 72.98% of the rolls, and you have a ten-fold increase in the average monthly growth rate:
From month to month in 2022, the party grew by an average of 0.199% starting in February. Between July and August, the party grew by 1.906%. The growth rate is unusual for Wyoming election years when compared to the recent past.
In 2020, which was another election year, the Republican party in Wyoming gained 3,300 voters but actually lost percentage points of the total between July 1, 2020 and Aug. 1, 2020.
The Democratic party during that same time period gained about 800 voters and one-10th of a percentage point.
The 2018 election year looked similar – Republicans gained a 10th of a percentage between July and August; Democrats lost a fraction of a percentage.
Republicans also gained nearly 0.7% between Aug. 1, 2018 and the Aug. 21, 2018 Primary Election.
No party gained almost two percentage points, as the 2022 election season has seen.