Rammell Tries To Get Opponent Kicked Out Of Gov Race By Filing Lawsuit Against Wyoming SOS

Wyoming gubernatorial candidate Rex Rammell said he was filing a lawsuit against the Wyoming Sec of State for "dereliction of duty" in hopes that he can get fellow candidate Brent Bien kicked out of the race.

Ellen Fike

August 04, 20224 min read

Rammell press conference 8 4 22

Wyoming gubernatorial candidate Rex Rammell planned to file a lawsuit against the Wyoming Secretary of State within the next 24 hours of his announcement to that effect during a news conference on Thursday.

Rammell is going to sue outgoing Secretary of State Ed Buchanan for a “dereliction of duty,” or failing to file a court action against fellow gubernatorial candidate Brent Bien. He said he would file the lawsuit either sometime Thursday or early Friday in a Laramie County court.

Rammell is accusing Bien of being ineligible to run from Wyoming governor, as he has not lived in the state for five years prior to the election. Rammell hopes to get the lawsuit proceedings started quickly, in order to remove Bien from the ballot in time for the primary election on Aug 16.

“Brent has been hiding behind the word residency, because you can technically be a Wyoming resident without living here and Brent Bien is a perfect example of that,” Rammell said on Thursday. “He’s got a military exemption, but he hasn’t spent any time in the state of Wyoming for his entire adult life, except for the last two years, since he retired.”

Bien has denied these charges and said he checked with the Secretary of State’s office and other legal resources to make sure he was eligible before running. He said he has maintained residency since he was in college and has consistently paid property taxes and voted in Wyoming elections.

“This is the exact reason why people don’t want to get involved in the political process,” Bien said.

A Rock Springs veterinarian, Rammell recently filed a complaint to Buchanan’s office about Bien’s ineligibility. On Tuesday, the Secretary of State’s office responded and closed Rammell’s complaint.

“They reviewed it and agreed that this needs to go before the courts and define ‘residency,’ Rammell said. “The problem is the Secretary of State, in what I believe is a dereliction of [his] responsibility to ensure elections are fair, has backed out of it.”

He questioned why Buchanan would refuse to take action in this case, but did not do the same when it came to the question of Albany County rancher Taylor Haynes’ residency in the 2018 Wyoming governor race.

Bien said that is a false comparison because Haynes was not serving in the military.

“He’s comparing apples to oranges,” Bien said.

A complaint was filed against Haynes about a month before the 2018 primary.

“I don’t know if there’s any truth to it, and I hate to even suggest it, but Taylor Haynes is a Black rancher. Easy target,” Rammell said. “Brent Bien’s a military officer, white guy. I hope that’s not the reason that the Secretary of State’s backed out of this.”

Rammell also compared Bien to U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney, who has also received much criticism for allegedly not being a Wyoming resident.

“[Cheney] came back when she wanted to make a power grab,” Rammell said. “Brent Bien has done the exact same thing. He has not been in the state of Wyoming for nearly 30 years.”

Bien said he isn’t a fan of besmirching his opponents, but added that Rammell has been disrespectful during his campaign. He is refusing Rammell’s request that he drop out of the race and has accused the veterinarian of splitting the vote. 

Bien is optimistic about his chances of winning the Aug. 16 Republican primary election, saying many people have told him they already voted for him in their early ballots.

“There’s so much at stake with this election,” Bien said. “It’s too bad it’s come to this.”

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Ellen Fike