Wyoming GOP Director Kathy Russell Announces Run For Legislature

Kathy Russell, the executive director for the Wyoming Republican Party, announced Monday she’s running for the state Legislature for the seat held by veteran Cheyenne legislator Rep. Bob Nicholas. She is considered to be much more conservative than Nicholas.

Leo Wolfson

March 11, 20244 min read

Kathy Russell, executive director for the Wyoming Republican Party
Kathy Russell, executive director for the Wyoming Republican Party (Courtesy Photo)

One of the most public faces within the Wyoming Republican Party announced she plans to run for the state Legislature.

Kathy Russell, the paid executive director of the Wyoming GOP, plans to run for House District 7 in Cheyenne, a seat now held by incumbent Bob Nicholas.

“Conservatives are not thrilled with the leadership coming out of the Capitol. It’s all political games and bowing to a Democrat agenda, and not nearly enough of conservative priorities like protecting children, taxpayers and jobs,” Russell said in a Monday announcement.

“I will fight for conservatives. I have the business experience to keep our jobs on track. I am ready to go to work for the people of Wyoming," she said.

Russell told Cowboy State Daily she’ll bring a structured and organized approach to her lawmaking efforts if elected, something she said is lacking at the Legislature.

“Not a lot of structure, not a lot of predictability,” she said. “To have faith in our government, it’s got to be effective, efficient and predictable.”

Nicholas did not immediately respond to Cowboy State Daily about whether he’s planning to run for reelection. He has held this seat since 2023. Prior to redistricting, he represented HD 8 from 2011-2022.

Russell has been executive director of the state GOP since 2018, and said she has no plans to step down from this job if elected.

“We have looked at any areas of potential conflict and those are being handed off to other people,” she said.

Although the executive director role is more of a business administration position than political, Russell is a prominent name in Wyoming Republican circles, frequently speaking at state Republican Party Central Committee meetings and other events.


She also has testified at the Legislature numerous times during the past year promoting social conservative views.

Russell said she aligns with the Republican Party platform.

Specifically, she believes there needs to be more focus on family and parental rights put into law. Although there were some steps made toward this during the most recent session, Russell described this effort as a “mixed bag.”

“When you have a family that’s functioning and happy and healthy, we need to be protecting them,” she said.

In 2023, Russell testified before the Legislature that there ​​should be no vaccine mandates of any kind, mentioning how her daughter suffered blood clots from a vaccine as a young child.

She also spoke against a bill in 2019 that would have made it illegal to hire, fire or discriminate against an employee in “matters of employment” like compensation based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Russell said that if elected, she’ll lean on people with expertise in certain fields rather than the popular experts for guidance on how to bring effective solutions to problems.

“What they will get from me is somebody who will look for answers, do their homework and do their answers that will address the issue and the problems that we are seeing need to be fixed,” she said.

State Rep. Bob Nicholas, R-Cheyenne, and Kathy Russell, executive director for the Wyoming Republican Party
State Rep. Bob Nicholas, R-Cheyenne, and Kathy Russell, executive director for the Wyoming Republican Party (Matt Idler for Cowboy State Daily; Courtesy Photo)

The Race

Nicholas is a prominent legislator, serving as chairman of the House Appropriations Committee since 2017. As part of this committee, Nicholas played a major role in crafting the state’s biennial budget during the recently completed legislative session.

Although she said Nicholas is a “known quantity,” Russell also considers herself to be fairly known as well because of her work with the party. She believes some people in her district want change.

“I am hearing things that need to be addressed,” she said. “I know, and I believe I can address them effectively and efficiently and work well with others to get solutions to issues.”

Russell has been involved in the state GOP since around 2008, and around this same time served on the Douglas City Council for nearly two years.

She also worked 18 years as a project manager and senior regulatory analyst in energy production and transmission, with a focus on oil and gas in Wyoming.

Nicholas won his last Republican primary race in 2022 by around 350 votes. He hasn’t had a GOP primary race opponent come within 10 percentage points since 2016.

Leo Wolfson can be reached at leo@cowboystatedaily.com.

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Leo Wolfson

Politics and Government Reporter