As the local arm of the Grand Old Party gathers for its bi-annual convention, some members are proposing a resolution that would censure state Sen. Hank Coe, R-Cody, and withdraw all party support from the seven-term senator.
The draft resolution to be considered at Saturday’s Park County Republican Party Convention in Cody criticizes Coe for:
• his 2010 support of two Democratic candidates;
• opposing the party’s current leadership and direction;
• sponsoring a 2013 bill (later found to be unconstitutional) that stripped State Superintendent of Public Instruction Cindy Hill of most of her powers;
• refusing to talk about that bill at a party meeting last year;
• endorsing a 2014 bill that would have asked voters whether they wanted the State Superintendent of Public Instruction to no longer be an elected position and;
• supporting a set of education standards known as Common Core.
One of the Park County Republican Party’s elected leaders — state committeeman Bob Berry — has been among those encouraging voters to sign a separate petition that asks Coe to step down from his office. Berry unsuccessfully ran against Coe in the 2012 Republican primary and then again in the general election.
The county party’s state committeewoman, Echo Renner, asked Berry to resign his post for his role in an advertisement placed in the Cody Enterprise titled, “Coe Must Go.” It directed readers to sign the no-confidence petition.
Renner said Berry agreed to resign as state committeeman — a contention Park County Republican Party Chairman Larry French rejects — but a clear majority of party members at a later meeting voted to keep Berry in the position, according to reports from KODI-AM and the Cody Enterprise.
Coe, meanwhile, took out an Enterprise ad last week calling upon Republicans to “take back the party” from what he calls extreme right-wing activists who are “mostly out-of-state wannabes who find fault with everyone and everything except themselves.”
“Anyone who does not subscribe to their extreme views is called a RINO (Republican in Name Only) — even if that person has worked long and hard for the Republican Party and its principles,” Coe wrote. “By the rigid standards of these activists, Ronald Reagan himself would be ridiculed by the local GOP leadership since Reagan was originally a Democrat.”
Only Republican leaders known as precinct committeemen and women, their designees or precinct delegates chosen at caucuses earlier this month can vote on the county party’s platform, bylaws, resolutions and GOP state convention delegates. However, all registered Republicans and the general public are welcome to attend and observe Saturday’s convention.
The event begins at 9 a.m. in the Cody VFW Hall (808 12th St.) and is scheduled to wrap up by 3 p.m.