Eathorne Says He’ll Expose Fake Republicans If Reelected To Lead Wyoming GOP

Wyoming Republican Party Chairman Frank Eathorne says it’s his duty to strictly follow the majority will of his members that decide the party’s platform, and hold elected state GOP officials to the same standard. The two-time party GOP leader faces opposition if he's to win a third term.

Leo Wolfson

April 27, 20238 min read

Wyoming GOP Chairman Frank Enthrone at a May 2022 rally in Casper with form President Donald Trump.
Wyoming GOP Chairman Frank Enthrone at a May 2022 rally in Casper with form President Donald Trump. (Cowboy State Daily Staff)

In a roughly 30-minute interview with Wyoming Republican Party Chairman Frank Eathorne on the Wyoming Is Right radio show provided to Cowboy State Daily, Eathorne doesn’t mince words about how he feels about certain members of his party who oppose him, calling them “liberals” and his supporters the “grassroots.”

Whatever terms most accurately describe each side of the state GOP split likely won’t determine Eathorne’s chances of being reelected party chairman. What will matter is the strength of each side of the divide and how great a desire exists for party unity. Eathorne, who represents a farther right movement within the party, said unity can only be achieved by adhering to the party platform. 

On May 6, state Republicans will decide if Eathorne will win a third term at the party’s central committee quarterly meeting in Jackson. Former state legislator Frank Moore is running against Eathorne in his first contested party leadership election since 2019.

The Division

One of the biggest reasons Moore has given for why he should be elected is his ability to unite the party and accept a wide spectrum of views from members. 

The Wyoming Republican Party has been a battleground of sorts for the last few years, stripping certain counties critical of Eathorne of their seats at state conventions and central committee meetings on rules infractions and failing to pay their party dues. 

Eathorne said he sees the splits within his party along Democrat vs. Republican, conservative vs. liberal and party platform vs. self-serving interests. He believes the only way unity can be achieved is by strong loyalty to the party’s platform.

“If you disagree, there’s going to be conflict and that’s what we’re seeing to some degree,” he said.

Eathorne expressed a strong preference for the party to “get the truth out to voters” about future candidates it believes represent the party’s platform, and also those who “have a different agenda.”

He said one of his top priorities is not just electing Republicans, but also making sure they are representing 80% of the party’s platform. 

The platform is a 23-tenet document based on a variety of conservative principles such as anti-abortion, pro-Second Amendment, low taxes and spending, and anti-same-sex marriage stances. It is decided by a majority of the delegates who attend the party’s convention held every two years.

Eathorne said clarifying and acting on the party’s platform is the most important duty of the party’s chairman.

Will Of The Majority

Eathorne also complained about the media’s coverage of the party and those in the “minority” who have sued the state party in court.

He also criticized some of his detractors who say he is heavy-handed and controlling, and also doesn’t require proper decorum from his party members. 

“It’s got to be one or the other,” he said.

Eathorne mentioned lawsuits the party was successful in winning over the past few years, including one filed by the Natrona County Republican Party over a change to the party's bylaws in 2020. He said the courts have erred on the side of his party because the state GOP acts upon the will of its majority. 

“The battles are going to continue to rage, but I think that score is settled,” he said.

Although the new leadership of the Natrona County GOP is not aligned with Eathorne’s wing of the party, the GOP chair cited the state Legislature gains he thought were made in the Casper area as a win.

One outstanding lawsuit brought against the Uinta County Republican Party is being considered before the Wyoming Supreme Court.

Hunting RINOs

Eathorne said he has no problem with free speech, but believes the will of the majority should drive the agendas of the state party.

“We can have our political differences,” he said. “We have vibrant, strong opinions across the spectrum in this state … and everybody gets a chance to not only take their position, but try to influence others toward their position.”

But his acceptance of free speech ends when he believes statements come in conflict with transparency.

Eathorne is bothered by certain candidates in Wyoming running as Republicans and espousing principles of the party along the campaign trail, then vote differently after getting into office, a group of people many have labeled as “RINOS” (Republicans in name only). 

“We’ve had too many disappointments,” he said. “We must really help educate voters and get them to engage with their local candidates. That’s a civic duty that we must take seriously.”

Eathorne said he wants a strong Democratic Party in Wyoming so those he considers imposters within his own party can find others their views align with.

“Without that, we’ve got some form of a uniparty system, and it doesn’t work,” he said. “It confuses voters, there’s never clear lines within the party, we’re constantly having to clarify what it means to not only to interpret the platform, but live by it.” 

More On Moore?

Eathorne said certain state legislators and statewide elected officials use “fancy talk” to cloak alleged voting discrepancies, but he said it all comes to votes. He suspects Moore may be a product of this contingency.

“Those that have a different agenda do a masterful, clever job of trying to explain it. People aren’t buying it anymore,” Eathorne said. “You can see the transformation.”

Despite commending Moore’s accomplishments in the Converse County business community and his personal demeanor and intelligence, Eathorne said his opponent’s politics are a mystery. 

“I think that’s really required,” Eathorne said. “If you want to run an organization, you need to have some observation of what’s taking place, who the players are. What are the goals? What is the political will of a political organization?”

Moore hasn’t donated to the state GOP or been involved in its politics in recent years, but was in the Wyoming Legislature in the early 1990s.

“This is a matter of where do you stand on the platform? Do you know the platform?” Eathorne questioned. “Do you support it? Will you honor the majority, the political will in the central committee?”

In an interview with Cowboy State Daily last week, Moore said he is 100% in line with the party platform and a consistent conservative, voting for former President Donald Trump in 2016 and 2020.

Some further inferences can also be made about his political stances based on the candidates he has supported.

Moore donated $2,500 to Gov. Mark Gordon’s campaign and $2,900 to U.S. Rep. Harriet Hageman’s campaign during the 2022 election cycle. The last time he donated to the state party was in October 2019, when he gave $1,000. From 2016-2018 he gave a total of $2,000.

What This Election Means

The upcoming party election may set the tone for the 2024 elections in Wyoming, and possibly which delegates are sent to the Republican National Convention that summer.

Members of the establishment “big tent” wing of the Republican Party gained central committee seats in the recent county party elections in Wyoming, but these gains alone likely won’t be enough to shake enough of Eathorne’s support.

Eathorne described his base of supporters as “unwavering” and expressed optimism about the outcome of the upcoming election.

He also sees the upcoming party elections as a possible spark to a “red wave” in Wyoming’s future Legislature and statewide elections. The red wave phrase was used to predict the national Republican performance in the 2022 midterm elections, a prediction that largely fell short as the party only achieved a slight majority in the U.S. House and failed to take back the Senate.

“People in the grassroots, they put people in power and expect them to do certain things and uphold certain principles,” Eathorne said.

Eathorne’s full interviewon Wyoming is Right will air at 8 a.m. Saturday. It can be heard live in Northern Wyoming on KIX 96.5 FM.

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Leo Wolfson

Politics and Government Reporter