The Natrona County Republican Party is dropping its lawsuit against the State GOP.
Natrona County party chairman Kevin Taheri confirmed the decision was made at a county party executive committee meeting last Tuesday.
“We believe in the merits of the suit, but we just think it’s in the best interest of the Natrona GOP,” he told Cowboy State Daily.
No Pay, No Delegates
The Natrona County GOP sued the Wyoming GOP in summer 2020 for the procedure it used to adopt bylaws that require each county party to pay its dues or risk losing delegates at the Wyoming Republican Convention. As a result, Natrona was only allowed to seat six of its 33 delegates at the convention in Sheridan this May, where the bylaws were ratified.
The case was dismissed in Laramie County District Court but was appealed to the Wyoming Supreme Court in August.
Taheri would not comment as to whether costs related to the case played into county-level decision to drop the appeal.
The case weighed heavily on the state party’s bottom line, accounting for some of the $42,000 in legal expenses it reported so far this year.
Another drain on the state party’s income has been a refusal from the Natrona County and Laramie County Republican parties to pay their dues to the state GOP. The county parties owe a combined $37,000.
Natrona has not paid any dues since 2019 while Laramie, although currently paid up, has committed to not paying dues in the future.
Both county parties had a significant number of delegates removed for the state convention in May. Laramie was only allowed to seat three of its 37 delegates because a procedural mistake made during its county convention in the spring.
Taheri said his county party has no plans to pay the dues.
“There has not been a motion to do that,” he said.
A New Host
In response to some of the infighting between Natrona and the Wyoming Republican Party, the state GOP has elected to have a different organization host its central committee meeting in Casper in November.
The meeting will be hosted by Liberty’s Place 4 U WY, which describes itself on its website as “a small group of liberty minded citizens” who believe “that the current direction of the Natrona County GOP is counterintuitive to liberty, in its political form, composition, and aspirations.”
The group held a mock Central Committee Assembly in September, where the reported 48 precinct committee members were taught about Roberts Rule of Order.
“We’re convinced It will pay dividends down the road of in the pursuit of Liberty,” the group says on its website.
At its meeting last week, the Laramie County Republican Party voted to not discuss paying dues to the State GOP until after the 2024 state party convention.
Dani Olsen, chairperson of the Laramie County GOP, said her county party has paid 15% of its $15,000 annual dues for 2022, but did not to meet the June 30 deadline to have 50% of its annual dues paid off.
Because of this, Olsen said the county party was informed it would not be allowed to seat more than six delegates at the state convention in 2024, whether or not it pays the remaining owed any time in the future.