A Laramie judge has dismissed a Wyoming-based challenge to get former President Donald Trump and U.S. Sen. Cynthia Lummis off the state’s ballots, saying the issue isn’t ripe because neither of them are on the ballot yet.
“Making a determination at this stage of the process would be imprecise, subject to speculation, and would create rather than diminish future controversies, because it would require engaging in legal details made in the abstract and result in a decision rendered without concrete factual background,” wrote Albany County District Court Judge Misha Westby in a Thursday order.
The order dismisses the Nov. 1 lawsuit of retired Laramie attorney Tim Newcomb against Secretary of State Chuck Gray, urging Westby to make Gray purge both Trump and Lummis from the state’s ballots in perpetuity. Newcomb cited skepticism by Trump and Lummis regarding the results of the 2020 presidential election, linking those to the U.S. Capitol breach on Jan. 6, 2021.
Newcomb had alleged that Trump and Lummis are not qualified to be on Wyoming’s ballots under 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
This Is In The Future
Westby dismissed Newcomb’s lawsuit without prejudice, meaning Newcomb may be able to re-file it when the issues are ripe.
In her dismissal order, the judge cited Wyoming’s election processes. Those require a non-presidential candidate for primary-election nomination (like Lummis) to submit her application for nomination between 96 and 81 days before the primary election.
Then, 68 days before the primary election, the Secretary of State shall give each county clerk in Wyoming a list of people who have filed their applications.
Lummis is not up for reelection until 2026, so she’s nowhere close to being on a ballot and causing an actual controversy about whether she’s qualified to be on that ballot, Westby noted.
Presidential elections are different in Wyoming. Parties determine who their general-election presidential candidates will be via caucus, not by a primary-election vote.
Still, Westby continued, that caucus isn’t scheduled to happen until April. Wyoming does not yet have its presidential candidate on a ballot for the November 2024 election.
“Many intervening events such as the primary caucus in Wyoming in April and the results of the primary elections in other states will happen before either individual is named on a Wyoming ballot,” the judge wrote.
Responding to Westby’s order, Newcomb said he was grateful it came quickly.
“I’m extremely grateful to judge Westby for her expedited ruling,” Newcomb told Cowboy State Daily on Friday.
He declined to comment further at this phase.
Gray expressed delight with the dismissal in a Friday press release.
Gray, a Republican, was endorsed by Trump during his candidacy for the seat he now holds.
“I am extremely pleased with Judge Westby’s decision to dismiss Mr. Newcomb’s outrageously wrong and repugnant lawsuit to remove Donald Trump and Cynthia Lummis from the ballot in Wyoming,” reads Gray’s announcement. “I have been working to make sure that Donald Trump will be able to be on the ballot, and I am happy our motion to dismiss this lawsuit was granted.
“I will continue to fight against this nationwide effort in order to protect the integrity of our elections and ensure that the people of Wyoming can choose who to elect for themselves.”
Clair McFarland can be reached at Clair@CowboyStateDaily.com.