Joan Barron: "We Want It To Be As Pure As Can Be"

Cowboy State Daily columnist Joan Barron writes, "Does a Wyoming third political party have any chance at all to gain power this election year given the yawning fissures in the state’s dominant Republican party?"

Joan Barron

April 27, 20244 min read

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CHEYENNE — Does a Wyoming third political party have any chance at all to gain power this election year given the yawning fissures in the state’s dominant Republican party?

If I were a new resident or recently came of voting age, I might consider the GOP a big messy religious food fight I didn’t care to join. If I were trending toward the GOP I would be unlikely to consider the Democratic party.

But maybe something else, an alternative.

That’s why I have always supported third political parties; they are that “something else. They give voters an option. Historically though, third party candidates have not been very successful here.

According to the online source, “Smart Politics,” only three non-major party candidates have won 10 percent of the vote in races for the Wyoming’s one at large seat in the U.S. House.

This is out of 57 independents or third party candidates since statehood.

Only one, Dave Dawson a Libertarian computer consultant from Riverton, collected more than 5 percent of the vote during his first of two bids for the office in 1994. The other candidates for the U.S. House from Wyoming got a paltry 3.1 percent of the vote.

In the November, 2022 general election a near record number of independent and third party candidates sought legislative offices.

The tally was seven independents, seven Libertarians and three Constitution Party candidates.

All 17 lost the election as voters veered further right. The rejected list included incumbent Rep.Marshall Burt, a Libertarian, leaving the house and senate with only Republicans and a few Democrats.

It was a GOP rout.

Sometimes it’s hard to galvanize a party again after such a withering defeat.

Yet Dennis Piester of Cheyenne the chairman of the Laramie County chapter of the Wyoming Constitution Party has already begun to get some movement.

A retired firefighter who grew up in the sandhill area of west Nebraska, Piester said that while he has always voted this is his first involvement with a campaign.

He ran an ad recently in the local community newsletter announcing in a meeting of the chapter at the library.

The announcement was in free verse as follows

‘The reds and blues so set their ways, take advantage of all who are forced to make pay, the Constitutional Party is for the young who say, our young blood is boiling, don’t get in the way, for the rising pressure we will have our day.”

A couple of days after the meeting Piester did not say how many people showed up but obviously it wasn’t a large throng.

“We’re moving on; We’re finding more people every day both Republicans and Democrats who realized that in many cases the politicians are not there for the voters.” He said that criticism also applies to the Democrats —“the same game. promises not delivered.”

He stepped up after the county group kind of fell apart after the election and the secretary asked for people to come forward. Now there is a hard working group in Laramie County, he said.

The Wyoming Constitution Party currently is listed in the secretary of state’s office as a minor party, along with the Libertarian Party.

“I see this party as a future major party because we have lots of interest from young people,” Piester said in a telephone interview.

They are the ones, he said, who will have to clean up the messes made by their predecessors. The predecessors were those of his and his father’s generation who worked in a semi-industrial age where jobs and the wages and making money were the most important things.

The young people today, he said, are concerned about the environment, wildlife and climate change.

It’s difficult to differentiate between the Freedom Caucus that is taking over the Republican Party. Both cite the constitution but the Freedom Caucus is more concentrated on national social issues.

Piester said the Constitution itself is the core of the his party.

He and his team are working on a platform now. which they want to be somewhat different than the state platform; more concise maybe.

“We want it to be as pure as it can be,” he added.

Joan Barron can be reached at

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Joan Barron

Political Columnist