Republicans to debate at Saturday convention

Posted 2/29/24

Leaders of the Park County Republican Party will gather Saturday to set the party’s official stances on the issues and weigh in on their presidential nominee.

The local party’s …

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Republicans to debate at Saturday convention


Leaders of the Park County Republican Party will gather Saturday to set the party’s official stances on the issues and weigh in on their presidential nominee.

The local party’s biennial convention begins at 9 a.m. at the Park County Fairgrounds and could run as late as 5 p.m. The event is open to the public, but only convention delegates will be allowed to participate.

The day’s business will include setting the bylaws that lay out how the party conducts its business, approving a platform that spells out the party’s basic beliefs, passing resolutions that take a stance on various hot topics and electing a delegate to the Republican National Convention, who, in turn, will vote on the party’s presidential nominee.

Former Republican President Donald Trump has built a commanding lead in the national delegate count and he’s expected to do well in Wyoming — a state he carried by more than 43 percentage points in 2020.

Among those who attended the Park County GOP’s Feb. 3 caucuses at the fairgrounds, Trump was the clear favorite: In an unofficial straw poll, 99 attendees voted for Trump (90%), with 11 supporting former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley or other candidates.

Unlike their counterparts in other states, the Wyoming Republican Party does not allow its rank-and-file members to directly weigh in on the party’s presidential nominee, leaving the process in the hands of party leaders. On Saturday, the voting will generally be left up to the precinct committeemen and women who were elected by local GOP voters in the 2022 primary election; if those committee people can’t or choose not to attend, they’ll be replaced by alternates chosen at this month’s caucuses.

All party members were welcome to suggest changes to the platform and bylaws or to propose resolutions at the Feb. 3 event, and those proposals will be debated by convention delegates on Saturday.

“There’s going to be some discussion that’s going to be, I wouldn’t say heated, but sure as hell debated, on various things,” Park County Republican Party Chairman Martin Kimmet said Wednesday.

He expects one section of the bylaws — a provision that allows the party to remove precinct committee people from their positions if they miss three straight meetings without notice — to be one of the most contentious issues at convention.

The Park County GOP adopted the bylaw change in 2022 in response to some committee members routinely missing the party’s monthly gatherings. At an August central committee meeting, those in attendance voted to remove 22 of their fellow precinct committee members for too many absences.

However, 19 of those members have formally contested their ouster. In an October letter sent to Park County and state GOP leaders, Committeeman Colin Simpson demanded the group be reinstated. Simpson said the added condition about meeting attendance conflicts with state law and represents “an impermissible attempt to expel elected precinct committee people.”

The state party’s Dispute Resolution Committee has yet to render an opinion on the issue, but temporarily reinstated the committee members so they could participate in the caucuses and convention.

Check-in for Saturday’s GOP convention begins at 8:15 a.m.

As for the Park County Democratic Party, its caucus is set for April 13.