The Wyoming Republican Party’s State Central Committee recorded a unanimous vote of “no confidence” against Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon last weekend – but at least one representative in the room says she voted “no.”
Fremont County Republican Party State Committeewoman Liz Philp said she voted against the resolution during the meeting, representing herself as well as Fremont County Republican Party Chairman Scott Harnsberger, who had given her his proxy vote before leaving the event.
“I did not know this vote was coming up,” Harnsberger said this week, explaining his absence. “It wasn’t on the agenda.”
Philp didn’t know the resolution was going to be proposed, either, nor did Fremont County Republican Party State Committeeman Doug Thompson, who had also left the meeting by the time the issue arose.
“I stayed through the resolutions that I thought (were on the agenda),” Thompson said this week. “Then we took a break, (and) I had to get back to town for something Sunday morning, so I left.”
He noted, however, that it’s not unusual for resolutions to be introduced during Central Committee meetings without appearing on the agenda – in fact, he said, at the end of each meeting, “they ask, ‘Are there any other resolutions?’”
“(It’s) standard procedure,” Thompson said.
Regardless, Philp said the voice vote on the resolution “happened really fast” last weekend, with “no discussion.”
“(They) called for the question, and then the chairman just asked for the vote,” she recalled.
“I don’t think many people heard me (when) I voted no.”
The decision was declared unanimous “right away” after the voice vote was taken, Philp said, and she decided not to “say anything else” at that point.
When the Wyoming Republican Party Chairman returned to his seat “right behind me,” however, Philp told him she had actually voted against the resolution.
In response, the Chairman said, “Oh, I didn’t hear you,” Philp recalled, but he did not make any moves to correct the record, and neither did she, though she believes other Committee members “would have protested” the resolution as well if they had been present at the meeting.
“Some counties were lacking people,” Philp explained.
Those comments were “kind of bold,” Philp said, but she pointed out that Wyoming has been involved in “carbon capture experiments” for years, and Gordon “did have his reasoning” – even if his “side wasn’t presented at all” during the Central Committee meeting.
Harnsberger, who said he would have voted against the resolution, too, if he had been present, also expressed confidence in Gordon this week, noting that, while there are “things I disagree with (him) on … I believe he’s doing the right things.”
“I know that Gov. Gordon knows where the tax revenue comes from in this state, and that he is not trying to eliminate minerals at the cost of the services the state provides to the taxpayer,” Harnsberger said. “I don’t think that anything that he would support would (hinder) the ability of the State of Wyoming to support mineral production in the state.”
Thompson chose not to speculate about how he would have voted if he had been present for the remainder of last week’s meeting, noting that he “wasn’t there and didn’t hear any discussion (and) didn’t get to read the resolution.”
“I might not have voted … the way (Philp) did,” he added. “(But) I respect their vote.”
The local delegates “don’t vote in lock step,” Thompson explained – and they don’t have to, unless the Fremont County Republican Central Committee passes a resolution directing them to “vote a certain way.”
“Generally, the county Central Committee and the executive committee know my political leanings, they know Scott’s, they know Liz’s,” Thompson said. “They send us down there and trust our judgment. If we differ … we don’t go ‘rock paper scissors’ down there and then all vote the same way. (Our) political philosophies affect what we’re hearing and how we want to react to it.”
For the Republicans who voted in favor of the “no contest” resolution last week, Thompson said Gordon’s comments were “inappropriate,” and while the Committee “didn’t go so far as (to) censure” the governor, they did tell him they “didn’t like what he said.”
“It’s an opinion, (and) it probably won’t have any impact,” Thompson said, pointing out that political parties “pass a lot of resolutions.” “I don’t expect (Gordon) to withdraw his comments. … He thinks they’re justified. In his mind that’s appropriate.”