By Leo Wolfson, political reporter
The Wyoming Republican Party will consider censuring one of the state’s most prominent legislators at its State Central Committee meeting this weekend.
State Sen. Cale Case, R-Lander, has become a target of the party for allegedly voting and acting contrary to Republican Party values. The party now may ask him to no longer identify himself as a Republican.
“Our problem stems primarily from individuals who identify as Republican yet vote and act contrary to the platform of the Wyoming Republican Party,” the letter circulated within the party said.
The letter later went on to say that Case’s actions were the “proverbial straw which breaks the camel’s back.”
Case, a veteran legislator who has both moderate and staunchly conservative views, told Cowboy State Daily on Tuesday he has no plans to change his party registration or alter his voting. He also said he’s not sure he would be welcomed at the State Central Committee meeting if he attended.
“I’m really happy they thought of me,” Case joked. “No, I’m not trying to minimize their letter. They’re not happy with me. It’s an expression of displeasure.”
The letter says the purpose of the party is to recruit new members and further the GOP platform. It threatens to not recognize Case as a Republican and withhold financial and other mechanisms of support for him in future elections. The letter also requests Case to change his party affiliation or not register with any party.
Case was part of a recent effort to recruit an Independent candidate to run against State Rep. Chuck Gray, R-Casper, for Secretary of State in the general election. Gray won the Republican nomination for this position in August.
Case said multiple times he was looking for a conservative candidate who would run under the Independent banner.
This effort failed as he and others were not able to find a candidate before the third party candidate filing deadline.
Case was also one of the members of the State Legislature’s Corporations, Elections and Political Subdivisions committee that recently voted to approve a draft bill to strip the Secretary of State of their duty to oversee the state’s elections.
“Your recent attacks upon the duly elected winner of the Republican primary election for the Office of Secretary of State coupled with your guest column in the press are not consistent with the message of party unity,” the letter said. “The idea that an elected “Republican” would undermine the will of the Republican voters of this state is beyond the pale.”
The letter accuses Case of abusing his power and position.
“While you certainly have every individual right to support whomever you wish to in your individual capacity it is universally understood, as Republicans, we support or do not undermine the Republican winners of the primary race.”
Case said this message is hypocritical as he said the party openly opposed and supported certain Republican candidates during the primary election cycle. State elections law forbids political parties from campaigning for a particular candidate during the primary election.
The State GOP issued negative verbiage about U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney throughout the Republican U.S. Congressional campaign and the Park County Republican Party did not link to Cheney’s website or provide information about her campaign on its website. The only campaign listed on the county party’s website is for her opponent Harrient Hageman.
“They weren’t being unbiased in the primary,” Case said. “We have to be more inclusive.”
This letter has been endorsed by the Park County Republican Party and was approved on Aug. 29 for consideration at the upcoming Central Committee meeting.
Case said the Wyoming GOP doesn’t represent the “mainstream” views of the party.
In the recent primary election, many incumbent, establishment Republicans were voted out of the State Legislature. At a federal level, Cheney lost to Hageman by about 38% of the vote in the primary.
Case was censured by the Fremont County Republican Party in May, which accused him of no longer representing the people he governs. In April, Case wrote an op-ed for Cowboy State Daily, issuing a rallying cry to establishment Republicans, a minority faction of the party that has a turbulent relationship with current party leadership.
Even though the Central Committee meeting is taking place near his home in Riverton, Case said he will be out-of-state this weekend and unable to attend. He said no one has reached out to him personally from the party to give him a chance to respond.
The State GOP is set to consider a separate resolution this weekend against the Corporations committee for furthering the draft bill to strip the Secretary of State of their duty to oversee the state’s elections and form a nonpartisan elections commission. This resolution stems from a censure passed in Park County on Sept. 1.
Park County GOP has been a bellwether for many state-level censures, the first county to censure Cheney last year. This censure was followed around the state and nation, for her role opposing former President Donald Trump.
“The Park County Republican Party condemns the recent effort of the Joint Corporations, Elections and Political Subdivisions Committee to remove the elections duties of the Secretary of State by creating an elections commission,” the Park County Resolution read.
If passed into law, the bill would establish a nonpartisan elections commission to oversee state elections. The Secretary of State would take part in helping nominate candidates for this panel as a member of the State Canvassing Board. Gray’s election was one of the main reasons given for establishing the commission.
A censure holds no legal bearing and is a formal reprimand. The Wyoming Republican Party censured Cheney last year, a move that was followed by the Republican National Committee, refusing to recognize her as a Republican.