by Mike Pyatt
Before my Conservative friends call for my lynching, hear me out before you conclude the cheese has slipped off my cracker.
One can likely hear Rex Rammell screeching in the background, “What about me?” The Rock Springs Constitutionalist veterinarian has a valid argument. Despite his pugnacious style, his stance on Wyoming controlling federal lands, and unshakeable pro-life position, is attractive to many liberty minded voters. Before switching to the Constitutional Party, he alleged that the Republican Party was planning to undermine its own nominee, Mark Gordon. State GOP Party chairman was quoted by the CST, “I don’t have any knowledge of it,” he said. “The Party is going to stand by the primary winners. Period.” In a recent interview with Glen Woods on KGAB radio, Rammell explained his rationale for switching to the Constitutional Party, and maintains that he could launch a strong run against Gordon. If the election was based on swagger, he’d be a shoo-in. Many conservative like his ideas, but are leery of his “bull-in-a-China shop” style.
Rammell acknowledged he’ll need the support from other Conservative campaigns, like Taylor Haynes, Foster Friess and Harriet Hageman’s supporters. Rex’s first order of business would to be to “professionally escort” the federal government off public lands through an executive order, and take over Wyoming public lands. Second, he’d start a Wyoming Bank, like North Dakota’s model. He claims that would save nearly $90 million not being paid to New York money managers. Rammell touts this would be a major boost to Wyoming’s economy. What are his chances against the GOP moderate’s darling Mark Gordon, and Democrat Mary Throne, who was unseated in 2016, by a 29 year old, political newbie, Jared Olsen? How strong is she outside the safety zone of the Democratic Party? Given that GOP nominee Gordon garnered about one-third of the GOP votes, how strong will he be if a the lion’s share of conservative voters flee elsewhere? Would some disenchanted conservatives, bolting from the State GOP’s vow to “stand by the primary winner,” consider voting for Rammell? Or to derail Mark Gordon, would they vote for Mary Throne? Many conservatives have opined, “There’s not a whits difference between Gordon and Throne!” Should Throne prevail, the GOP controlled house and senate would be a check on her liberal bent. They might even put on their “big boy” pants and take a principled stand.
Many liberty minded conservatives find Matt Mead’s clone, Mark Gordon’s record of donating to left leaning causes like the Sierra Club, is proof that he’s not with us. The final GOP governor debate at Casper College revealed Gordon as “partially” pro-life, just like his predecessor. He stood “morally naked” in a pack of “no exception pro-life candidates.” Though morally repugnant, at least Democratic candidate Mary Throne stuck to her thoroughly pro-choice stance without reservation. Conservatives routinely stress that one should be consistent with one’s convictions-even those we’d oppose with our entire being. The much maligned “Switch Wyoming” robocalls urging voters to register as Republicans, and cast their vote for Gordon, many believe changed the primary outcome. Gale Geringer, Gordon’s campaign manager, denied their campaign had anything to do with it. No proof-plenty of suspicion.
As reflected in Wyoming’s primary election, many are convinced that there’s still much work to do prior to the general election, and the chances of electing a genuine conservative are bleak. Some are still troubled by the unresolved issue of Taylor Haynes residency. A few are asking who Friess, Galeotos, Hageman, and Haynes will support. One Wyoming pundit thinks Galeotos will dutifully toe the party line behind Gordon. Some wager Haynes will be solidly behind Rammell. Harriet has been silent. Many think it would be a hard pill to swallow for her to back Gordon. Stranger things happen in politics.
According to the AP, on Thursday, August 30, Friess dismissed further speculation of a write-in campaign after he and Gordon apparently made amends at the GOP’s unity breakfast in Cheyenne, signaling Foster’s support of the establishment’s hopeful. Did Friess fear a write-in campaign would siphoned off votes away from Gordon, and boost Throne’s chances in the general election? Did he recall when Democrat Dave Fruedenthal upended Republican Eli Bebout in 2002? It was confirmed by one GOP official that Bebout was one of those who persuaded Friess from launching a write-in campaign. Some disappointed Friess backers thought he was more independent from party line politics.
Frankly, from a liberty minded conservative’s perspective, neither major party offers little hope for change or substantive challenges to the status quo. That’s another reason Rex Rammell provides an alternative-with a warning label. To calculate the math, there’re too many x-factors, like which of the remaining gubernatorial candidates would publicly voice support for him? Gordon only garnered over a third of GOP votes. How many will actually darken Rammell’s circle on the ballot on November 6? How many will merely leave a blank? How many will do write-ins for Foster or their Crazy Uncle Harry? How many genuine conservatives would make mischief, and cast a vote for Democrat Mary Throne, to spite Mark Gordon and the moderate GOP wing who crow about unity? The proposition may be more accurately stated, “Should a genuine conservative vote for Democrat Mary Throne?” One may determine that’s a matter of the conscience. Others may conclude it’s pure political mischief.
To actually darken the circle by Throne’s name would likely cause a genuine conservative voter to sweat profusely, to tremble slightly, to pray diligently, to take a deep breath, and with quivering hand, and a sigh of relief…you’ll have to decide. Making a choice and living with it are two different ventures. Are we stoking political naughtiness? Some have asked, “What was on the menu at the unity breakfast?” Political solipsism? What do you think?
Mike Pyatt’s a Natrona County resident. His email’s firstname.lastname@example.org