Wyoming GOP Targets Democrat State Rep. Karlee Provenza In 2024; She Says Bring It On

State Rep. Karlee Provenza, D-Laramie, is using a Wyoming Republican Party resolution seeking to remove her from office to springboard her 2024 reelection campaign, saying the GOP pushback is “all fine with me.”

Leo Wolfson

May 10, 20234 min read

Rep. Karlee Provenza, D-Laramie, says she's running for reelection in 2024 and isn't concerned about a state Republican Party resolution calling for an effort to oust her from her House District 45 seat.
Rep. Karlee Provenza, D-Laramie, says she's running for reelection in 2024 and isn't concerned about a state Republican Party resolution calling for an effort to oust her from her House District 45 seat. (Cowboy State Daily Staff)

Rep. Karlee Provenza, D-Laramie, isn’t too bothered about a weekend resolution issued by the Wyoming Republican Party encouraging voters in in her Albany County district to boot her from office and “elect a legislator with better integrity.”

On Sunday, Provenza shared a Cowboy State Daily story about the resolution on her campaign Facebook page asking for people who support her to help jump-start her 2024 reelection campaign.

“My donor portal is in the comments. You can also support me by liking and sharing this post,” she said.

Twenty-eight people liked the post and six shared it, including the Wyoming Democratic Party.

Provenza did not immediately respond to Cowboy State Daily about the post.

The Post

In April, Provenza shared a controversial meme on social media showing an elderly woman holding a rifle with a scope and the words "Auntie Fa Says protect trans folks against fascists & bigots!" Auntie Fa is a reference to the left-wing anti-fascist group Antifa. 

The post ignited a firestorm of Republican response, with coverage on Fox News and many in the Wyoming Republican Party — including Chairman Frank Eathorne requesting House Speaker Rep. Albert Sommers, R-Pinedale, remove Provenza from her committee assignments. 

Sommers took no action against Provenza and said he found the apology she issued for sharing the post sufficient. Provenza said she shared the post in a show of support for the Second Amendment defense of LGBTQ people.  

Wyoming Republican Party members expressed less furor about addressing the post at their state Central Committee meeting Saturday than many had last month.

The resolution passed was watered down from an original version requesting she be expelled from the Legislature.

Some Republicans argued against the resolution altogether at the meeting, saying it infringes on free speech.

Although he wasn't at the meeting, state Sen. Anthony Bouchard, R-Cheyenne, has defended Provenza's comments, seeing it as constitutionally protected free speech.

2024 Campaign

The post could likely be seen as an official declaration for reelection. Provenza is the first legislator to start campaigning for the 2024 election in Wyoming.

“Being the representative for House District 45 is the greatest honor and privilege of my life and I will humbly be asking to represent you again next year when election season rolls around,” Provenza said in her Facebook post.

One of the most progressive lawmakers in the Wyoming Legislature, Provenza said in her post that she wants to keep House District 45 a “stronghold that fights for working families, public land access, health care, justice reform and equity.”

“The Wyoming Republican Party declared House District 45 a battleground for the 2024 election and passed a resolution to try and run me out,” Provenza wrote. “That’s all fine with me — a healthy democracy has at least two parties and gives the people options in their representation.”

The voters of Provenza’s House District 45 had no choice when it came to electing her in 2022, as she was unopposed. 

In 2020, Provenza beat Albany County Republican Chairman Roxie Hensley by about 4% of the vote.

On Saturday, Hensley requested that the state party help the Albany County GOP find a candidate to take on Provenza in the 2024 election, assuming she runs again. Hensley couldn’t run against Provenza again as she now lives outside that district.

HD 45 is a blue-leaning district that encompasses most of the University of Wyoming campus area. A Republican hasn’t won in the district since 2012.

Although the student body at UW tends to vote for Democrats, there is a growing chapter of Turning Point USA, a conservative political group, at the school.

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Leo Wolfson

Politics and Government Reporter