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Frank Eathorne

Wyoming GOP Chair Frank Eathorne Says He Won’t Resign

in News/politics
Wyoming GOP Chair Frank Eathorne. Photo by Matt Idler

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By Leo Wolfson, political reporter

Although calls have been made by several GOP officials within county party organizations asking State GOP Chairman Frank Eathorne to resign, he is refusing to do so.  

Late Sunday night in an internal email sent to party members, Eathorne responded to his detractors and the most recent allegations, likening them to the spreading of false and misleading information. Eathorne never directly addressed or countered the allegations made or explained how they are inaccurate, but rather, spent most of his statement correlating it to an attack on the State Party, “conservative leaders, voters, platforms, and policies.”  

“I have spoken to the SCC (State Central Committee) openly regarding the matters contained within the allegations and consider the matter at rest,” Eathorne wrote in his letter. “If you have further questions, please feel free to reach out to me directly. I honor and respect you as leaders from your respective counties and am always happy to talk to you.”

Last week, a report with numerous pieces of photo and video evidence surfaced, showing Eathorne, much more involved and closer than he originally claimed to be to activities taking place during the Jan. 6 Capitol riot in Washington, D.C.  The evidence was verified with medium to high likelihood by facial recognition technology. Eathorne did not respond to a request for comment made by Cowboy State Daily last week.

During a Central Committee meeting earlier this year, Eathorne described the protest as “moving”. The audience applauded when he said the media’s coverage of him “doesn’t necessarily involve the truth.” 

Eathorne said he only made a “brief stop in the vicinity of the Capitol building property” and once he became aware there was violence occurring there, he left the premises. 

Time stamped photo and video evidence supplied by CapitolHunters, a group collecting and disseminating information on Twitter regarding the riot for the purpose of exposing those involved, shows he spent at least two hours at the event. The evidence also shows he was much closer to the Capitol building than he originally said, and would have been present when “flash bangs,” explosive devices designed to disorient people, and tear gas canisters were lobbed into the crowd.  

Call For Resignation

Natrona County Republican Party State Committeeman Joe McGinley sent an email Friday to the State Central Committee, calling for Eathorne to resign.

“Would this be acceptable to you in your home or family?” McGinley wrote of Eathorne’s action.  “Do you feel our chairman is leading by example?  Do you agree with destruction of public property and the Capital invasion?  I would encourage each of you to reflect on the platforms and then assess just how many were violated with the most recent and past behavior.”

CapitolHunters said based on the photos and videos, Eathorne would have also heard the crowd’s cheers for the breach of scaffolding and the seizing of the Capitol’s West Plaza. 

“The most disappointing fact is that Frank lied to each and every one of you,” McGinley wrote.

McGinley also referenced a recent report from WyoFile and the Casper Star Tribune outlining Eathorne’s history of infidelity and abuse of power as a law enforcement officer in 1994.   

“At some point, the acceptance of this behavior has to end,” McGinley wrote. “Many of you are strong conservatives with values based in Christian faith.

“I find this behavior despicable and not in line with our party values.”

McGinley has been involved in several instances of infighting within the party in the past.

“GOP Is United”

In his response to the letter, Eathorne said the “vast majority” of the Wyoming Republican Party is united, an accurate statement, at least with delegates to the state convention in May.

McGinley’s Natrona County Republican Party recently lost a lawsuit over a bylaw change that allowed the state party to greatly reduce the amount of Natrona delegates seated at the convention, as punishment for not paying its party dues.  

Kevin Taheri, Natrona County GOP chairman, said although he agrees with McGinley’s letter, which was written independently of his county party, he said it’s ultimately the chairman’s decision. Eathorne will be up for reelection as chairman next spring.

“It might be the best thing right now,” said Taheri of the proposition that Eathorne should resign. “In the light of all that’s happened.”

Others rallied behind Eathorne and against McGinley’s letter like Kari Drost, Weston County Republican party chairman. 

“I just felt the need to say that I am SO proud to be a part of the Wyoming Republican Party and feel blessed that we have Frank as our leader,” Drost wrote in a response to Eathorne’s letter.

“I would walk through barbed wire for him, and for the majority of this great group of principled individuals on this email. We are all accomplishing great things in our respective communities- and that is why the left- and the RINOS are afraid of us,” she wrote.

GOP Spike

Eathorne also made the claim that party membership is increasing daily. According to Secretary of State’s office data, there were 2,560 more registered Republicans last Wednesday compared to the same date in 2021. However, there were 13,052 more Republicans registered in January 2021 than the same time in January 2022, and 11,363 more registered than are today.

Due to the national spotlight cast on the U.S. Congressional race between frontrunners U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney and Harriet Hageman, this year’s primary election could see a record voter turnout competing with or even beating turnout from the presidential election 2020 year.


On Thursday night, Cheney will oversee hearings where findings from an investigation on the Jan. 6 event will be presented to the public on primetime national television.

Traditionally, presidential election years fuel a much greater voter turnout than non-presidential years like 2022, but compared to June 2020, there are already 41,300 more people registered as Republicans. 

Many GOP leaders and former President Donald Trump have accused Democrats and Independents of crossover voting in Wyoming, a process of registering with the Republican Party to influence the primary election, and then changing one’s vote in the general election in November to a candidate of their own party.   

One of the most common races used as an example of this was the 2018 gubernatorial primary, where Gov. Mark Gordon was elected as the GOP candidate over certain candidates deemed more conservative like Hageman and the late Foster Friess. There are 2,337 fewer Democrats registered today than there were in June 2018 and 8,363 fewer than June 2014.

Democrats do have 4,159 more registered voters since June 2020 and 2,056 more since primary election day 2020.  

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Photos, Videos Show GOP Chair Frank Eathorne Much Closer To Capitol Invasion Than Claimed

in Frank Eathorne/News

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By Leo Wolfson, Cowboy State Daily

Wyoming Republican Party Chairman Frank Eathorne was much closer to the violence incited during the Jan. 6, 2021, U.S. Capitol invasion than he had said earlier, according to photos and videos released on Twitter.

On Sunday and early Tuesday morning, photos and videos surfaced on Twitter showing Eathorne standing in an area beyond police barricades that had been knocked over during the riot at the U.S. Capitol.

According to NBC News and CapitolHunters, a group collecting and disseminating information on Twitter regarding the riot, Eathorne can be seen standing on restricted grounds on the west side of the Capitol after demonstrators bypassed several police barricades.

A number of photos and videos published by both organizations showed Eathorne standing in the crowd as critical events were playing out in the riot around him.

None of the photos or videos showed Eathorne taking part in violent behavior or the invasion of Capitol building itself.

Eathorne did not respond to a request for comment.

Previously, Eathorne said he “attended the organized and peaceful rally near the White House on January 6th” and only made “a brief stop in the vicinity of the Capitol building property.” Eathorne said he left the event in the mid-afternoon and watched news of some of the events on the news “I personally had not witnessed.”

Eathorne spoke at the rally for former President Donald Trump on Saturday, making the comment that he would run through a barbed wire fence for Trump.

The recently released photos show Eathorne spent at least two hours at the riot. In one photo he can be seen standing amidst a throng of people in front of the inauguration platform protestors climbed on.

As members of the mob yelled “Stop the Steal” around him, Eathorne can be seen in one video underneath a giant “TRUMP” banner hanging just a few feet above his head.

According to CapitolHunters, Eathorne was present when “flash bangs,” explosive devices designed to disorient people, and tear gas canisters were lobbed into the crowd.

The group said based on the photos and videos, Eathorne would also have heard the crowd’s cheers for the breach of scaffolding and the seizing of the Capitol’s West Plaza about 30 minutes later.

After the seizure, CapitolHunters reported Eathorne continued moving forward to the plaza. 

“It strains credulity that he could not know what was happening around him,” the group reported.

Eathorne, wearing a gray ball cap with an American flag on the back and a blue jacket, can also be seen in one photo from early on in the day holding a two-way radio transmitter. 

Authorities have determined the Jan. 6 event was highly planned and organized beforehand, but capitolhunters said radios were barely used during the riot. Eathorne is not seen with one at any other juncture.

Eathorne has been affiliated with Oath Keepers, an organization headed by a man now facing seditious conspiracy charges in connection with the Capitol attack

Eathorne (left) with Casper state senate candidate Bob Ide

Seen at Eathorne’s side in a number of photos is Casper resident Bob Ide, a current state Senate candidate. Ide did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

Most of the 846 people charged in connection with the Jan. 6 event went inside the Capitol building, although there were two people charged and sentenced who did not go inside or incite any violence.

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GOP Chair Frank Eathorne To Be Keynote Speaker At Trump Rally

in Donald Trump/News

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By Leo Wolfson, Cowboy State Daily

Wyoming GOP Chairman Frank Eathorne will be one of the keynote speakers at Saturday’s “Save America Rally” in Casper featuring former President Donald Trump.

Meanwhile, Trump and his son told a Wyoming radio host they were excited about visiting Casper.

“I’ll be there very soon and I look forward to that,” the former president told “Wake Up Wyoming” host Glenn Woods.

“I have a lot of friends there, we’re going to have a big one,” said Donald Trump Jr.

Eathorne, who did not deny reports he would speak, has been chairman of the party since 2019. He has been lately been criticized by a number of Republican Party members, who accused him of causing divisions and promoting intimidation within the GOP. His supporters, meanwhile, have rallied around him, describing him as a “patriot” and “not a politician.”

A recent WyoFile and Casper Star Tribune story documented a history of marital infidelity.

The State GOP issued a scathing response to the story, reiterating its support for Eathorne and belief in unity within the party.

“The vast majority of the Wyoming Republican Party stands united against the politics of personal destruction,” the statement said. “Tabloid-style journalism won’t cut it with Wyoming people. Tearing down others has always been the tactic of the Democrats and the weak in attempts to elevate themselves. We stand firm and united on principles of integrity, redemption, and personal accountability.”

Harriet Hageman, a challenger to U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney in the GOP primary for Wyoming’s lone U.S. House seat, is one of the headlining speakers at the event. 

Also speaking at the event will be Marti Halverson, a former state legislator who was one of the three finalists chosen by the State GOP to be appointed state superintendent of public instruction in January. Halverson was not chosen by Gov. Mark Gordon for the role and is not running for the position this fall.

“Of course I’m excited,” Halverson said of being given the opportunity to speak.

Another opening speaker will be David Iverson, host of the Cowboy State Politics podcast. Iverson, a self-described “illustrious host,” said on his show he’ll be making a big announcement during his speech.

On Wednesday afternoon Casper Police put out an event schedule saying that speakers will begin at 1 p.m. Saturday with Trump taking the stage in the parking lot of the Ford Wyoming Center at 4 p.m.

An event map reveals there will be a “45 Fest” on the event grounds. Such events have been associated with Trump rallies in the past. 

Parking for the event will be available beginning at 8 a.m. Saturday, but doors for attendees won’t open until 11 a.m.

A long list of items are prohibited from the rally, including alcohol, drones, firearms, laser pointers and umbrellas.

The State GOP is hosting a private fundraiser for the party on Friday night before the rally. The party will be hosting a $20 per-person screening of “2000 Mules” at the Rialto Theater. 

The documentary alleges that Democrat-aligned “mules” were paid by unnamed nonprofit organizations to illegally collect and deposit ballots into drop boxes in all of the states where Trump contested election results from the 2020 presidential election.

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Laramie County GOP Chair: Eathorne Selectively Enforcing Rules, Committing “Voter Fraud”

in News/politics

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By Leo Wolfson, Cowboy State Daily

A dispute over the way Laramie County’s Republican Party selected some of its delegates to the upcoming state GOP convention could result in the county’s party losing almost all of its convention representatives.

But the proposed action on the part of the state Republican Party just days before its biannual convention is being criticized by the chair of the Laramie County Republican Party as selective punishment. Dani Olsen told Cowboy State Daily the state party has never before punished a county party for such infractions.

“It is a shame that the Chairman of the State Party would use his position to spout falsehoods as a means of not seating the largest county in Wyoming and thereby disenfranchising over (20,000) Republican voices in Laramie County,” she said.

At issue is a complaint about the way Laramie County’s GOP selected delegates to the state convention. If the convention’s Credentials Committee decides to punish the county party for its actions, it could limit the county to only three delegates at the convention — the lowest of any county in the state.

A separate dispute involving Natrona County will see that county represented by only six people, meaning the state’s counties with the highest populations will have some of the lowest representation.

The state GOP convention is held every two years. During the convention, representatives of county parties from across the state meet to decide issues such as the party’s platform and express their support for various Republican candidates seeking office.

This year’s convention is to be held May 5-7 in Sheridan.

“Multiple Violations”

Laramie County Republicans have been accused of multiple violations of their own rules in selecting convention delegates.

The infraction was reported directly to the state Republican Party Executive Committee by Ben Hornok, a Laramie County precinct committee member. 

Hornok reported that the county party, at its convention March 5, took a voice vote when nominating delegates and alternates to the state convention, in his opinion violating its own bylaws requiring “some form of secret ballot.” 

He also said no additional delegate nominations were allowed to be taken from the floor after the initial 34 “pre-selected” names were accepted. Counting the three county executive committee members, who have a guaranteed spot at the convention, the party is sending 37 delegates to the convention.

Hornok, who was present at the county convention on March 5 and was one of the chosen delegates, did not bring the infraction to the attention of county leaders, but rather took it directly to state GOP leaders at their meeting March 28, an approach some have said was politically motivated.

“I don’t have a dog in the fight,” Hornok told Cowboy State Daily on Wednesday. “I just decided to speak up and write the complaint. The complaint speaks for itself.”

After Hornok made his report, the issue was submitted to the Credentials Committee, whose members decide which delegates are to be seated at the convention.

“Following Laramie County leadership’s admission of its failures to follow Bylaws in conducting the election, the State Republican Convention’s Credentials Committee will now review the matter and make a recommendation to the convention body as to how many delegates from Laramie County will be seated,” state GOP Chairman Frank Eathorne said in a Tuesday press release.

Laramie County, the county with the state’s biggest population and most registered Republican voters, could now have all but three of its 37 delegates stripped away, giving it the least representation of any county party at the state convention, less even than sparsely populated Niobrara County’s seven delegates and Natrona County’s six. 

Natrona is currently embroiled in a lawsuit with the state party over bylaws that allowed the state Executive Committee to reduce its delegates as punishment for not paying party dues.

Selective Enforcement

But Dani Olsen, chair of the Laramie County GOP, said the state GOP is selectively enforcing the rules.

“It is further alarming that while the State Executive Committee is passing motions to ‘vigorously enforce Bylaws’ that it has consistently stopped its enforcement efforts with only two counties – Laramie and Natrona counties,” she said in a news release.

Later, Olsen told Cowboy State Daily the party has never before enacted punishment for infractions and said she worries about the precedent it will set.

In her initial response to the Executive Committee, Olsen said she agreed the concerns raised by Hornok were legitimate and said the county’s delegate selection process used at past conventions and this spring did not fully follow the party’s own bylaws. She added the county party will consider addressing ambiguity in its voting rules at its next convention in 2024.

But in a later statement, Olsen had stronger words for the state party, referring to Eathorne’s statement as “fake news.” 

She also said the only “potential” mistake the county party made was the way it selected its alternates. 

In the initial response to the state GOP, Olsen did say some of these alternates will be called up to become delegates, as some of the chosen delegates have already communicated they cannot attend the convention.

State Leadership

Vince Vanata, a member of the state party’s executive committee from Park County, said the state leadership has taken no stance on the issue beyond sending the complaint to the State Credentials Committee. 

“We recognized it’s not for us to make a decision,” he said.

The issue will be brought before the committee during the first day of convention on Thursday morning. This committee will then make a recommendation that will be passed on to the all convention delegates to consider and vote on Saturday.

Joey Correnti IV, a staunchly conservative and outspoken member of the party and chairman of the Carbon County GOP, said if the credentials committee refuses to recognize Laramie County’s delegates, an argument could be made that these delegates could be prevented from even voting on their fate.

“As far as I’m concerned Laramie County members tend to only act in their best interest regardless of what the rules, decorum, or conflict would normally demand of them,” he said in an email.

Human Mistake

Olsen said she hopes the state party will use “grace” in its decision and recognize Laramie County’s officials made a human mistake. 

She said it would be “a shot in the dark” to predict the fate of her county’s delegates at this point but said the party will not let its delegates be removed “without a fight.”

Olsen also said Hornok’s complaint should not be considered because it was not brought up during the county’s convention in March, so bringing up the issue now would violate Robert’s Rules of Order. 

Olsen also said if the complaint had been raised at the county convention, the matter would have had to be voted on by the same body that made the mistake. 

Hornok said he chose to circumvent county leadership “because everything happens so fast” at convention and he “did not really know how to bring up the issue.” The roster of Laramie County delegates was approved with a 63% vote.

Hornok said other party members were aware of the possible infraction and he was worried the issue would not get brought up until the state convention, leaving the Laramie County delegates little notice they might not be able to vote.

“I did not want to see Laramie County send its delegates to the state meeting and all of a sudden be side-swiped by this issue,” he said.

Olsen disputed Honok’s allegation that no nominations were taken from the floor and stressed the county party has not admitted to any errors regarding its the selection of its delegates. 

She said the state GOP has committed its own share of errors and has found at least eight other counties that committed infractions during their conventions.

“We can only hope that the other counties will be able to hold themselves to the same high standard Laramie County has been held to and they will come forward with their own admission of errors, as we have done,” she said.

Politically Motivated

Olsen said she believes the proposal to strip Laramie County of most of its delegates is politically motivated, spurred on by the county party’s refusal to back the state party on every issue.  

“This is not a good reflection of Wyoming politics,” Olsen said. “What they’re doing is a type of voter fraud. By not allowing people to vote, they’re not protecting voter integrity, by selectively choosing which counties to protect.”

Hornok said the Laramie County party is made up of “some conservatives and moderates” and is “not very unified.” He said he would rather the county and state parties be more unified, but if the state decides to strip Laramie County’s votes “so be it.”

Vanata attibuted the situation to decisions by the Laramie and Natrona county GOP’s leaders.

“We’re not bitter towards the people of these counties,” Vanata said. “What caused this is their leadership. They created this situation and it’s unfortunate because Republicans are losing their delegate representation.”

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Wyoming GOP Sued By Former Speaker of House & Others Over Process to Replace Balow

in Frank Eathorne/News

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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

A federal court is being asked to stop Gov. Mark Gordon’s work to appoint a new superintendent of public instruction because of allegations the process used to pick three nominees for the job was unconstitutional.

Sixteen Wyoming residents, including several former legislators, filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court on Tuesday, alleging the selection process to pick nominees for the superintendent’s office failed to properly weight votes based on county population, reducing the influence of counties with larger populations. The lawsuit filed against the Wyoming Republican Party’s central committee and party Chair Frank Eathroen said such a disparity is a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. and Wyoming constitutions.

“The vote by the Wyoming Republican Party, which was supervised and controlled by (Wyoming GOP Chair Frank) Eathorne, was not conducted pursuant to one man one vote principals required by the Wyoming and United States Constitutions,” the lawsuit said.

Republican Jillian Balow resigned from the superintendent of public instruction’s office on Jan. 16 to take a similar job in Virginia. Under Wyoming law, Gordon must appoint someone to finish out her term — which ends in January 2023 — from a list of three nominees forwarded to him by the central committee of the Wyoming Republican Party.

The central committee, during a meeting in Douglas in Saturday, selected former legislator Marti Halverson and educators Brian Schroeder and Thomas Kelly as the three nominees from a field of 12 applicants.

Gordon interviewed the three Tuesday. By law he is supposed to appoint a successor Balow on Thursday, although the lawsuit asks that the process be halted on the grounds that the GOP’s selection process was unconstitutional.

The central committee is made up of three party members from each county, which the lawsuit said gives smaller counties as much weight in voting as large counties, violating the concept of one vote for each person.

“The citizens and voters of any county that is more populous than Wyoming’s smallest county by population, Niobrara County, will be denied their constitutional rights of equal protection under all state and federal laws and the bedrock principle of Wyoming and the United States that all citizens are entitled to the application of one man one vote,” it said.

Because the selection process for the nominees was unconstitutional, Gordon should be halted in his work to appoint a successor to Balow, according to the lawsuit and a request for a temporary restraining order also filed on Tuesday.

The lawsuit asks the court to rule the process used to name the nominees is unconstitutional and to order the state Republican Party not to nominate any candidates for vacancies in statewide or federal office.

The central committee selected the three nominees for the job during a meeting in Douglas on Saturday. Members were asked by one of the people named as a plaintiff in the lawsuit, former legislator and Gillette attorney Tom Lubnau, to change the nomination process to weight votes according to each county’s population.

However, the request was denied and Eathorne responded that the process used by the party Saturday is the same one that has been used to fill vacancies in statewide office for decades.

Pat Crank, a former Wyoming attorney general who filed the lawsuit for the group, told Cowboy State Daily on Tuesday that while the system may have been used in the past, it is now time to make the process comply with the Wyoming and U.S. Constitutions.

“The selection of an important office like superintendent should be done in as fair and as reasonable a method as possible and in absolute compliance with the constitution,” he said. “This process was not and so that’s why my clients wanted to bring a challenge to this process.”

Crank noted that such processes change over time and pointed as an example to the practice of advising a person of his or her right to remain silent after being arrested.

In addition to Lubnau, a former Wyoming House speaker, other plaintiffs to the lawsuit include former legislators Rex Arney and Charles Pekley, former Casper Star-Tribune Publisher Robin Hurless, former University of Wyoming official Chris Boswell, former Star-Tribune Editor Dan Neal and Cheyenne attorney Jack Speight.

Another one of the plaintiffs is Dave Northrup, a former legislator and one of the 12 people who unsuccessfully applied to the GOP to become one of the three nominees for the job.

The group includes both Republicans and Democrats and come from larger counties such as Laramie, Natrona, Campbell and Sheridan, Crank said.

“One of the critical factors in bringing a lawsuit is that you have people that have standing to make appropriate claims,” he said. “I certainly wanted to have a cross-spectrum of both political parties and people from the counties that suffered harm, the more populous counties.”

Arney, a Sheridan attorney, said he joined the lawsuit because he believes the process to replace Balow and other state officers who leave before the end of their term should be handled through a special election.

“I just feel it’s important that when replacing an elected officer, the process should be equivalent to somebody going into a primary or special election where we essentially have one man, one vote,” Arney told Cowboy State Daily on Tuesday. “There should be proportional voting in a case like this.”

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Frank Eathorne: It’s Just Joe Being Joe

in Frank Eathorne/Column

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By Frank Eathorne, guest columnist
Eathorne is the Chairman of the Wyoming Republican Party

Joe McGinley of Casper recently published yet another hit piece against the Wyoming Republican Party, accusing his fellow Republicans of “extremism.” For those of you who are unfamiliar with Joe, you may be surprised at the vitriol and contempt that he directs towards the Republican Party. You may be thinking that anyone who would be so vicious must have something big driving his passion and complaints. That, however, is not the case; it’s just Joe being Joe.

For those of us who have worked with Joe for the last several years, his latest smear comes as no surprise. It is simply the latest rant of someone who has been entirely unsuccessful in convincing his fellow Republicans to follow his lead as he seeks to compromise our long-held Republican principles, and to fundamentally alter the Republican Platform to where it is meaningless as a guiding document.

The officers of the Republican Party have been largely silent as Joe has thrown his public tantrums and spread falsehoods and misinformation. The State Central Committee is tasked with addressing these issues, and we have deferred to those grassroots members to set policy and to respond. We have always recognized Joe’s attacks for what they are – the antics of a sore loser who has been unable to get a foothold in taking over the State Party, with his fellow Republicans on the Central Committee also seeing him for what he. We only respond now at the request of a substantial number of Republicans around the State who are tired of his attempts at defamation and his efforts to destroy our Party from within.

While Joe spun his latest opinion piece in the vein of a recruitment letter asking folks to get involved, his real intention is obvious. He has again watched County Party after County Party around the State elect conservatives to their leadership team (Chairman, State Committeewoman and State Committeeman), and has realized that his dishonest and inaccurate hit pieces against the State Party have gone unheeded.

It is likely that Joe is thinking ahead to the upcoming state officer elections at next month’s Central Committee meetings, and is making a last-ditch attempt to smear anyone not on his personal slate of candidates by resorting to his favorite tactic – branding his fellow Republicans as “extremists.” This is clearly not the Dale Carnegie approach in “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” but again, we are dealing with Joe McGinley here, someone who thinks it is appropriate to call those same Republicans “cockroaches.” Perhaps we will soon be elevated to “extremist cockroaches.” You just never know what Joe will come up with next.

It is also important to understand that, while Joe’s disdain for the Republican Party and his fellow Republicans appears to be limitless, he doesn’t spend the same effort challenging Democrats or their policies. By way of example, while the Democrats in Washington, DC have publicly announced their intention to destroy Wyoming’s energy industries and indoctrinate our children to hate our Country, Joe has chosen to spend his efforts “warning” anyone who may be interested in becoming active with the Republican Party that they will first need to root out the “extremists.” He never says why they are “extremists,” everyone is just supposed to take his word for it.

Joe has a single-minded obsession with getting rid of the conservatives in the Republican Party. That seems to be a rather confounding way to further the goals of the Republican Party, but that has been Joe’s approach, and we doubt that he will change course now. That is just Joe being Joe.

As for the substance of his accusations, what Joe calls “extremism” is nothing more than a belief in and adherence to the conservative ideals and principles set out in the Wyoming Republican Platform (voted on and approved by grassroots Republicans from every County).

Because the Republicans of this State do not agree with Joe’s efforts to water down or, in some cases, entirely nullify, what we stand for, he decided that the best approach was to form a new group, one calling itself the “Frontier Republicans,” the purpose of which appears to be perfecting what would charitably be described as “how to be a moderate,” which, in today’s politics, is kind of like aspiring to be tapioca pudding.

If you think of Mitt Romney, Jeff Flake, and Lisa Murkowski you will get an idea of what the “Frontier Republicans” stand for. If you think of the now infamous “Lincoln Project” (formed solely to attack President Trump) you will get an idea of the purpose of the Frontier Republicans. These folks do not seek to further the conservative agenda; they seek to destroy those who believe in it.

You can say one thing for Joe, he knows how to follow the lead of the Biden administration, the Democrats and the national media. He has learned well that it is best to avoid engaging in a serious discussion about the issues, when calling your opponents “extremists” seems to further your agenda.

The policies and agenda coming out of the new administration in DC pose the greatest threat to the future of this Country that we have seen in our lifetimes, including open borders, campaigns to undermine and defund the police, Nancy Pelosi’s bill to destroy free and fair elections, packing the Supreme Court, attacks on private property rights, taking away our guns, destruction of our mineral industries, the closing of our coal-fired power plants, and energy poverty. These are just some of the threats that we face from Biden’s socialist policies.

The Wyoming Republican Party and its officers have been actively involved with pushing conservative solutions to counter the threats from DC, while also fighting for liberty and freedom. That is the agenda that we will continue to pursue. While Joe may consider our efforts in that regard to be “extreme,” few others do. Now is not the time for Joe’s petty internal party squabbling and name-calling. We have serious work to do to preserve the State and nation we know and love.

We expect that Joe will continue to sling mud, distort the facts, make baseless accusations, and pursue his quest to ruin the names of anyone who sees the world differently than he does. Please remember as you read one of his future diatribes, that it is just Joe being Joe, and most likely means that he lost yet another vote or another election. If you later run into him on the street, pat him on the head and tell him that you wish him well with those Frontier (Lincoln Project) Republicans.

Frank Eathorne
Chairman, Wyoming Republican Party
David Holland
Vice-Chairman, Wyoming Republican Party
Corey Steinmetz
National Committeeman, Wyoming Republican Party
Harriet M. Hageman
National Committeewoman, Wyoming Republican Party

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Trump Endorses Wyoming GOP Chair Frank Eathorne For Reelection

in Frank Eathorne/News

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By Jimmy Orr, Cowboy State Daily

When it’s election season, conventional wisdom says to get endorsements. 

For Wyoming GOP chair Frank Eathorne, who is running for re-election as the head of the party, he’s getting one of the biggest endorsements around as former President Trump on Thursday announced his support.

And, as usual, whenever he speaks about anything Wyoming, the former president brings up U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney — and never in endearing terms.

That record remained unbroken Thursday.

“Frank has Censured the incompetent Liz Cheney, who couldn’t care less about our brave soldiers overseas, and who is willing to fight ridiculous, endless wars instead of preparing for the Big Time enemies that may someday soon face our Country,” Trump said in a statement.

“Frank has my Complete and Total Endorsement for his re-election. He will never let you down!” Trump said.

Although winning 70% of the vote in the general election last year, the Trump name doesn’t always guarantee success.

Both Trump and his son Donald Trump, Jr. cheered against Cheney when the House held a vote to determine if she should keep her post in Republican leadership. She won handily, 145 – 61.

Donald Trump, Jr. was a main supporter for a bill before the Wyoming Legislature which could have made it more difficult for Cheney to be re-elected as it would have mandated a runoff if any candidate didn’t receive more than 50% of the vote.

That bill failed.

And now Trump has let it be known that Cheney is his top target for defeat in the upcoming 2022 primary election season in Wyoming.

On Wednesday, Trump said he would announce an endorsement for a candidate against Cheney “soon.”

That announcement came shortly after Cheney announced a record-setting quarterly fundraising effort that saw her campaign haul in more than $1.5 million.

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Wyoming Legislator Calls on GOP Chair Eathorne To Resign After Secession Comments

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At least one Republican legislator isn’t happy with Wyoming GOP Chairman Frank Eathorne’s recent statement that he’s looking with interest at fringe efforts in Texas to secede from the nation.

Rep. Landon Brown (R-Cheyenne) on Tuesday called on Eathorne to resign for his comments about former Trump advisor Steve Bannon’s podcast regarding his interest in secession.

“Floating the idea of secession as a party plank or statement is contradictory to my stance as a Republican,” Brown tweeted. “This idea is pathetic and ill advised – I am appalled that our chairman thinks he has this authority.”

Eathorne has received national attention for last week’s comments on Bannon’s show.

“We are straight talking, focused on the global scene, but we’re also focused at home. Many of these Western states have the ability to be self-reliant, and we’re keeping eyes on Texas too, and their consideration of possible secession. They have a different state constitution than we do as far as wording, but it’s something we’re all paying attention to,” Eathorne said.

The idea of secession, however, was too extreme even for Bannon, who said he is  “absolutely, 1,000% against any even discussion of secession.”

Rep. Brown told Cowboy State Daily that Eathorne’s comments in this instance and others have been too divisive for Wyoming.

“Frank Eathorne has done nothing but ostracize Republicans who don’t agree with him,” Brown said. “He does not represent the values of the Reagan-era GOP and I think we need to support Republicans in the party, not fractionalize the way our chairman has done.”

Eathorne and the Wyoming Republican Party have been critical of Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney’s call for impeachment of President Trump.

“We are receiving the message loud and clear that what happened yesterday [Cheney’s vote for impeachment] is a true travesty for Wyoming and the country,” said a statement from the Wyoming Republican Party.

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Wyoming Republican Party Condemns Liz Cheney’s Impeachment Vote

in News/Liz Cheney

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The Wyoming Republican Party is criticizing Republican Congresswoman Liz Cheney for her vote to impeach President Donald Trump.

The party on Wednesday condemned Cheney’s vote, stating that in recent memory, there has never been as much feedback from Wyoming Republicans as there has been against Trump’s impeachment and Cheney’s vote.

The statement — attributed to Wyoming Republican Party leadership — listed a number of comments the party has received since the vote — none of which are supportive of Cheney’s position.

“The consensus is clear that those who are reaching out to the Party vehemently disagree with Representative Cheney’s decision and actions,” reads the statement.

It goes on to list some of the feedback received from party members in order to share it with Cheney.

“President Trump did not incite anyone to riot. Read the transcript of what he said and watch the video,” reads one statement.

“Representative Cheney has aligned herself with leftists who are screaming that what happened last Wednesday is the ‘worst thing ever in our history’ (or similar such claims). That is absurd and shows their lack of knowledge of history as well as their willingness to skew the facts to further their corrupt agenda,” reads another.

In an interview with Wyoming reporters on Wednesday, Cheney addressed what she saw as the the historical significance of the storming of the Capitol on Jan. 6, stating that this is a “very dangerous moment for our nation” and noting the presence of U.S. troops in the Capitol.

“Some of you have probably saw the pictures of the troops sleeping on the floor of the Capitol Visitor Center,” she said. “It was a scene reminiscent of the Civil War, when troops were housed in the Capitol.”

“This is a moment when it’s important for all of us to recognize that our Republic is very fragile, and that we all have an obligation to ensure we’re doing everything that we’re compelled to do by our oath to ensure the survival of that Republic,” Cheney said.

Republicans from all over the state have offered their opinions. In a column for Cowboy State Daily, former Republican gubernatorial candidate Ray Hunkins called the riot a “gift” to Trump’s political adversaries.

“I was hopeful the rally in Washington would be a positive event; that the Joint Session of Congress on that day would provide an opportunity to hear the President’s position regarding the ‘stolen’ election and learn about the evidence his campaign believed supported that assertion. It didn’t happen. The riot that took place at the Capitol overshadowed all else,” he wrote.

Meanwhile, former Cheney foe Rod Miller, who lost a primary battle against her in 2018, praised the congresswoman’s vote and blasted — in advance — the Wyoming Republican Party for what he thought it would say.

“I also fully expect Frank Eathorne and the radical right in the Wyoming GOP to spew their tired and acrid rhetoric her way, thumping their chests and squealing, ‘Commie, deep state, but the emails, MAGA, MAGA, MAGA'” he wrote.

The GOP statement concludes by stating that the party respects elected officials in Wyoming and “assumes they will respect and represent their constituents.”

“We are receiving the message loud and clear that what happened yesterday is a true travesty for Wyoming and the country,” the statement reads.

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Wyo GOP Chairman Critical Of Party Members Who Don’t ‘Ride For The Brand’

in Frank Eathorne/Column

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By Frank Eathorne, guest columnist
Eathorne is the chairman of the Wyoming Republican Party

Jim Owens included ten principles to live by in “Cowboy Ethics: What Wall Street can learn from the Code of the West.” One of those principles is to “Ride for the Brand,” meaning to be loyal to your outfit, whether it be a ranch, an oil and gas company, a civic organization or a political party. 

It means being committed to the goals and ideals of that organization. It means that, when you sign onto that “brand,” you are agreeing to further its interests rather than your own. If you do not agree with what that organization does or what it stands for, then you shouldn’t pretend that you do, and you should not use that “brand” to further an agenda that is contrary to its stated purpose and goals.

The Republican Brand. We can think of a “brand” in a variety of ways in this context. In politics, the “brand” of any political party is found in its Platform and Resolutions. The preamble to the Republican Party’s Platform sums up our unchanging principles:

We believe there are Timeless Truths that will always inform and direct our party and our country regardless of current events and circumstances, changing strategies, goals, and leadership. These Truths put into action, maintain, protect, and defend inalienable rights to Life, Liberty, Property and the Pursuit of Happiness.

We have twenty planks in the Wyoming Platform addressing our commitment to life, equality, the 2nd Amendment, private property rights, religious freedom, and family values, among others. Our resolutions state how those principles should apply to the issues of the day, including support for the existing number of U.S. Supreme Court Justices, opposition to tax increases, and opposition to a state income tax, among others. The Republican Platform and Resolutions are not mandated from on high, but represent the core philosophy of our organization as defined, developed, and drafted by our grassroots members. The Platform has been largely unchanged for decades and presents what it means to be a “Republican.” We have been steadfast in these beliefs and make no apology for them.

Claiming the Brand. If you claim the Republican brand in Wyoming, you are signaling to the citizens and voters that you inherently share the Republican philosophy, that you believe in certain absolute truths, and that you value those things for which the Republican Party stands.

By claiming to be a Republican, you are presenting to the public that you will work to further our conservative values and our view of government, governing, family, freedom, and liberty. If you disagree with the Republican brand, then don’t claim it as your own for political gain. It is wrong to claim to be a Republican, while ignoring, scorning, or refuting the very “brand” that makes up what that means. If you do not believe in the Republican Platform, then don’t run on it or pretend to be a Republican.

“Riding for the Republican brand” does not mean merely describing yourself as a “conservative” every two, four or six years when running for office. It does not mean talking about conservative values when at a town hall, while voting for or fostering political outcomes that are contrary to the very “conservative values” that make up our brand. It does not mean using your role as a prominent Republican to elect Democrats, and if you are going to work for or endorse Democrats, don’t use your involvement with the Republican Party as your credential for doing so. That is not “riding for the brand.” That is using the brand to further the interest of people who are diametrically opposed to everything that the Republican Party stands for. If you as a Republican are supporting Democrat candidates at this point in time you are also advocating for such things as the Green New Deal (destruction of Wyoming’s economy), single-payer health care (destruction of our independent health care system), an end to fracking (destruction of the oil and gas industry being a priority for Joe Biden as declared during the debate last Thursday), an end to the coal industry (destruction of Wyoming’s economy), and boys competing in girls’ sports and using their bathrooms.

We stand for conserving the representative Republic. The Republican Party believes that the power of the people is foundational. We are a grassroots organization, with the State Central Committee being made up of those individuals who are elected at their local county level. We do not have a top-down dictatorial approach but respond to the wishes of our fellow Republicans in setting policy. We live by and implement our governing documents because that is what we committed to do when we agreed to ride for the Republican brand. As party leadership, it is our duty to support the actions of the body and further their agenda.

Unprincipled Use of the Brand. Over the last couple of years, a coordinated disinformation campaign has been pursued against the 74 members and officers of the Republican Party, some of the individual members of the County parties, and more recently the 500+ delegates and alternates to the State Convention. Attacks have come from inside and outside of our organization. The attacks are sometimes blatant (an example being the falsehoods spread by some in the Natrona County leadership the day after our State Convention regarding an altercation that took place the night before), and sometimes more

subtle (with a former Chairman recently writing two editorials decrying the “alt-right” but never explaining what he means or to whom he is referring, thereby accusing the entire party by implication). The term “alt-right” is a recent invention and is now being used to smear Republicans in general and conservatives in particular, while avoiding having to name names or engage in the debate. The goal is to shut down the discussion before it starts. It is not “alt-right” to support and work to further the Republican Platform – it is simply riding for the brand and seeking to implement those timeless truths described above.

Perhaps one of the most significant – and entirely disingenuous attacks – has come in the form of bandying about the infamous phrase “litmus test.” The “litmus test” crowd has been infuriated by the insistence of members of the Republican Party, most recently during the 2020 State Convention, that our elected representatives who claim to be Republicans be held accountable to our principles.

Contrary to the hyperbole bandied about by the vocal minority, the Republican Party did nothing more than restate the “Reagan Rule.” President Reagan counseled that Republicans should agree on the issues at least 80% of the time and agree to disagree over the other 20%.

The majority in the Wyoming Republican Party believes that, if you wear the brand, if you are running for public office under the Republican banner, and especially if you want the Party to give your campaign money, you should agree with 80% of the party Platform. Stated another way: If you are going to use the party’s “brand,” then you should also foster and believe in it. If you don’t, the party should not give you money. If the Party refuses to give a particular candidate money, the electors should consider whether that person is really as “Republican’ or “conservative” as they claim when campaigning.

Considering some of the accusations that have made, we believe it is important to address just a few of the more recent controversies, providing a full and factual account of what has actually happened.

State Convention. The Delegates and Alternates attended the State Convention and conducted the Party’s business. This year was an unusual year because we were required to hold two conventions, one via Zoom in May and a second one in June with an in-person meeting. Those who attended were allowed to participate in committee meetings and on the floor to raise issues, make their arguments, challenge votes, call for the question, seek to make changes to the Platform and Bylaws, and engage. There was a small group at the Convention who disagreed with the decisions that were made by the vast majority of their fellow delegates.

That small group has decided that, as the minority, they should have been able to dictate the outcome of these votes. Of course, that is not the way any organization works and they were defeated. They have joined forces with Wyoming’s most liberal newspaper and are now resorting to making threats of lawsuits to get their way. Their drumbeat of “corruption” and “unfair” is mere rhetoric and doesn’t mean anything substantive. They simply don’t like the Republican brand as it currently stands and seek to change it. They cannot muster the votes to do so through regular methods so they seek to use the liberal media and threats from attorneys to attempt to compensate for their lack of support.

Disagreements on Policy. Like any organization, there will be disagreements and differing ideas regarding direction, agenda, and policy. Those policy issues arise at nearly every Wyoming State Central Committee meeting, where discussion is had, arguments made, and votes taken. There is a vocal minority in the Party who adamantly opposes the decisions made by majority vote and apparently believe that, if they do not win, there is some nefarious effort afoot that must be destroyed. This small group of members have not been able to convince the Republicans that their ideas are sound or should be pursued. Their response has been to create a PAC (the “Frontier Republicans”) to further their agenda. They have the right to try to convince others that their ideas are correct. The remaining members of the State Central Committee – the overwhelming majority — have the right to reject them. It is the rejection they are apparently unwilling to accept. Their response has been to try to undermine the Wyoming Republican Party and anyone who disagrees with them, not by winning votes, but by running to the liberal media, by sending out scurrilous emails, by threatening lawsuits, and by making untrue accusations.

Censure of Central Committee Member. During its September 2020 meeting the Central Committee voted to censure an individual, a governing member of both the Natrona County Republican Party and the State Central Committee, for providing funding to Democrat candidates. There were several individuals who then sought to create division in the Party by claiming that such a move was sexist because this member was merely supporting women to run for office. That accusation is false; no one voted to censure this member because she seeks to help women run for office. The censure occurred because, as a member of our organization, she funds and teaches candidates how to run against Republicans. The “Cowgirl Run Fund” that she formed in fact rejected funding for at least two conservative women who were running for office, while funding nine (9) Democrat candidates against Republicans. The only reason that her efforts funding women candidates is newsworthy in the political context is because she is a Republican supporting Democrats. This member has chosen to help to elect individuals who do not share Republican values. The Wyoming Republican Party is not required to sit idly by while she furthers a liberal non-Republican agenda to our detriment and to the detriment of our candidates. The fact this member has been censured by the Republican Party makes her less effective as an advocate for Democrats and/or liberals. That was the intent.

Those who support her efforts to elect Democrats now claim that this is about “freedom of speech.” The Republican Party has never sought to prevent its members from speaking. She can say what she likes. The members of the Republican party, however, also have the right to speak, and may do so to challenge the use of the Republican brand to support Democrat candidates. That is the discussion. Those who pretend otherwise are trying to confuse the issue.

The Republican brand is important. It means something. If it didn’t, then people would not use it in their efforts to convince you that you should vote for a Democrat. The Wyoming Republican Party does not want people to use its brand that way. When someone stands up and says “I am a leader in the Republican Party,” everyone knows what that means; it is shorthand for “trust me, I am a conservative.” All that the Republican Party is asking is that you don’t use the Republican label to seek to harm the Republican Party or to elect people who are unwilling to “ride for the Republican Brand.”

Finally, we have listened to the accusations, heard the personal attacks, and observed the efforts to undermine the Republican Party coming from a small minority of people. We have largely ignored them, while also ignoring how the liberal media meets every one of their public tantrums and seeks to advance the false narrative that there is significant dissension in the Republican Party. We anticipate that they will again engage in finger pointing and name-calling as soon as this document is published. We see no value in engaging in an ongoing tit-for-tat with the vocal minority, but feel that it was necessary to set the record straight.

The vast majority of the members of the Republican Party understand what is meant by “riding for the brand,” and spend countless hours doing this important volunteer work for the State of Wyoming because they believe Republican values lead to good policy and good government. The reason most people devote time to serve in the various levels of the Republican party is to translate the Republican brand into governing principles applied through electing Republicans, who then in turn govern as Republicans. These squabbles are nothing but a distraction from what should be a unanimous effort to implement the Republican agenda, because our country has proven time and time again that when Republican values win, Wyoming wins.

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Website ranks 60 percent of Wyoming Republicans legislators as RINOs

in News

By Ike Fredregill, Cowboy State Daily

An anonymous website created by an unknown organization has judged 60 percent of the Legislature’s Republicans to be “Republicans in Name Only.”

Using voting records on 10 bills from the 2019 Legislative Session, during which legislators reviewed hundreds of pieces of legislation, www.wyoRINO.com assigned percentages values to the votes cast by each Republican member of the Wyoming House and Senate. If a  legislator did not toe the party line on at least seven of the 10 bills, their names were highlighted in red to indicate RINO status. The website attributes its creation to Ride for the Brand, Wyoming, a political organization Wyoming Republican Party Chairman Frank Eathorne said he didn’t know existed.

“This is nothing new, though,” Eathorne said. “We’ve seen other interest groups put out their opinions, ranking and analysis.”

The Wyoming Republican Party website on Nov. 11 published a clarification stating it has no affiliations with other individuals, organizations, groups or publications. 

“The party makes it positions known through its platform and planks adopted at its State Convention,” the website states. 

Nearly verbatim, the wyoRINO website also states its independence, following the declaration with a caveat specifying that  Ride for the Brand, Wyoming, reserves the right to revise its opinions and conclusions.

While Eathorne said wyoRINO was not a product of the party, he said there was no problem with the website claiming to represent party ideals. 

“It’s fine that they tie to the timeless principles of the Republican Party,” he explained. “But, we need to continue to clarify the WYGOP does not engage in that.”

Of the 77 listed Republicans, 46, about 60 percent, were labeled RINOs, while only 10 scored perfect rankings.

“They proved exactly the opposite of what they were hoping,” said Sen. Michael Von Flatern, R-Gillette. “They proved there’s very few ‘true’ Republicans.”

The site rated Von Flatern at 30 percent.

“(Smear campaigns have) come up about three times for me — about every four years around election time,” he said. “The ultra-conservatives are behind this site. They’re not inclusive. If you are gay or a little different than their conservative, Bible-thumping group, you are less of a person. You are a threat to them.”

Von Flatern said though he had suspicions, he wasn’t sure who created the website. He added he’s never heard of Ride for the Brand.

Wyoming. Sen. Tom James, R-Rock Springs, received a ranking of 100 percent and hosts a personal web page with several similarities to www.wyoRINO.com, but said he was not involved with the website.  

“I don’t rate other legislators, I just put out the spread sheets with the votes,” James said. “I think it’s good there’s outside people getting involved. I always feel that more data is better, but I think the website is a good start.”

Republicans may not see eye to eye on every topic, but he said if their voting record dips below 70 percent — the ratio of votes in line with published Republican values — they are lying about their affiliation.

“That speaks for the lack of integrity of the official,” James said. “If they are lying to the people — ‘I’m going to vote this way’ — then they don’t do it, that’s on the elected official.”

James said he was not familiar with Ride for the Brand, Wyoming.

While Gov. Mark Gordon was not available for comment, his office responded to an interview request via email. 

“The Governor doesn’t believe that an anonymous website with ‘rankings’ based on a small sampling of votes is an accurate way to characterize legislators’ beliefs,” wrote Michael Pearlman, Gordon’s communications director.

In Brief: Republicans choose Steinmetz for Committeeman

in News

Wyoming Republicans have a new National Committeeman. Corey Steinmetz of Lingle won a five-man race for the job on Saturday. 

State Party Chairman Frank Eathorne said of the election, “Corey Steinmetz is a multiple term county chairman and has been an active leader in the Wyoming Republican Party for years.  He was elected due to the members’ beliefs in his devotion to the timeless principles of the Republican Party.  I join National Committeewoman Marti Halverson in welcoming Corey to the team.”

The National Committeeman, National Committeewoman, and State Party Chair are the three voting members of the Republican National Committee from Wyoming. The RNC is responsible for setting the GOP platform, as well as fundraising and election strategy for the Republican presidential nominee.

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