Secretary of State Chuck Gray said he has no plans to play judge when it comes to who is and who is not allowed to be listed on Wyoming’s 2024 presidential election ballot.
Robert Reich, who served as Secretary of Labor under former President Bill Clinton, urged secretaries of state around the nation in a Guardian op-ed published Monday to refuse to put former President Donald Trump’s name on 2024 ballots, saying Trump “committed treason.”
That’s not going to happen in Wyoming, Gray said.
“Robert Reich’s unhinged demand that Secretaries of State keep President Trump off the ballot is deeply troubling and disturbing,” Gray told Cowboy State Daily. “Robert Reich is an example of how the radical leftwing mob thinks and operates.”
Reich couched Trump’s attempts to overturn the 2020 election and his role in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot as treason.
He said these acts amount to a violation of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits anyone who has held public office and engaged in insurrection against the United States from ever serving in public office again.
“Can any of us who saw (or have learned through the painstaking work of the Jan. 6 committee) what Trump tried to do to overturn the results of the 2020 election have any doubt he will once again try to do whatever necessary to regain power, even if illegal and unconstitutional?” Reich questioned.
In the aftermath of the 2020 election, Trump claimed that the election was stolen from him, pushed state officials to question their tallies, tried to persuade former Vice President Mike Pence to refuse to certify electoral college votes and sought access to voting machine data and software.
These efforts drew harsh criticisms from Democrats and some Republicans, like former Wyoming congresswoman Liz Cheney.
Cheney helped pass the Electoral Count Reform Act before she left office, which creates a new threshold for Congress to object to a slate of electors (one-fifth of the members of both the House and the Senate), and clarifies that the role of the vice-president is “solely ministerial” in the certification of electoral college votes.
Gray said he considers Reich’s rhetoric an attempt by Democrats to hinder a lawful election.
“Reich and his left-wing friends are willing to do anything to stop Americans from voting for a conservative,” he said. “And then these Marxist authoritarians accuse us of what they’re guilty of with their friends in the leftwing media.
“I will absolutely allow President Donald J. Trump to appear on the ballot.”
No secretary of state or other election official has gone on the record saying they will comply with Reich’s request.
It will ultimately be up to Republicans whether or not Trump’s name will appear on the 2024 ballot.
Wyoming Republicans will caucus and select delegates to represent the party at the Republican National Convention in Wisconsin, which is scheduled to be held in July 2024. Here, the party’s nominee for president is officially chosen. Since the convention is held before Wyoming’s primary, the Cowboy State’s three electoral votes are largely symbolic.
Gray has never wavered in his strong support for Trump.
In 2021, he attempted to receive Trump’s endorsement for his bid for the U.S. House against Cheney. This endorsement eventually went to U.S. Rep. Harriet Hageman.
But Gray was endorsed by Trump in his 2022 bid for Secretary of State.
Reich also expressed concern that Trump could get secretaries of state and governors who are loyal to him to alter election machinery to ensure he wins.
A Gray Area
Although Gray is responsible for overseeing the state’s elections, it is ultimately the responsibility of local county clerks and their election staffs to manage election equipment in Wyoming.
A brief attempt was made after Gray won his primary election to prevent him from being able to solely oversee the state’s elections.
"We may be in a precarious position when it comes to election administration for the next four years," said state Rep. Dan Zwonitizer, R-Cheyenne, during an interim committee meeting in 2022. "And I would feel more confident and comfortable, personally, having a separate operating agency of government made up of all five statewide elected officials who oversee a director of an office of elections."
Trump announced his intention to run for president in November. On Tuesday, President Joe Biden officially announced he will run for reelection. If Trump wins the Republican nominee, it will set the stage for a potential rematch of the 2020 election.