Despite the Wyoming Republican Party announcing his intention to drop out of the race for Wyoming Superintendent of Public Instruction, Sheridan resident Thomas Kelly said he made the decision all on his own.
Kelly, a Republican, said after not being allowed to speak at the Save Wyoming rally held in Lander in July and failing to receive support from State GOP leadership and other major political groups like Gun Owners of America, he decided it was time to drop out of the race.
“The conservative leaders are rallying behind Brian (Schroeder),” Kelly said. “All I was doing by staying in the race was cutting into their preferred candidate.”
Kelly, a political science professor, holds no animosity toward the Wyoming Republican Party and others who did not support him in his campaign, which he described as a “long shot” and “not well funded.”
Kelly told incumbent Superintendent of Public Instruction Brian Schroeder during the race he was a good man, but Kelly was not going to vote for him. Shortly before making the news official that he was dropping out, Kelly said he sent Schroeder a note telling him he was changing his tune.
Kelly is a college professor and chair of the political and military science department at the American Military University, a private, for-profit, online school based in West Virginia. He also served on the City of Sheridan Planning Commission from 2019 to 2021. He was also a public-school teacher for 10 years.
Kelly said he doesn’t want to dilute the vote and prevent a “solid conservative” from winning the race, a move he encourages other candidates to make.
“I was never running for my ego,” he said.
Primary election day is two weeks away and Kelly’s name will still appear on the ballot. It’s likely he has already received votes on some early ballots.
“I hope the margin of whoever was voting for me doesn’t screw the race up,” he said.
Republicans still in the race are Schroeder, Megan Degenfelder, Robert White III and Jennifer Zerba. The winner of the Republican primary will face Democrat Sergio Maldonado Sr. in the general election.