County sends “uncommitted” delegate to national GOP convention

(Sarah Pridgeon photo) Crook County Republican Party delegates vote during Saturday’s convention in the courthouse basement.
(Sarah Pridgeon photo) Crook County Republican Party delegates vote during Saturday’s convention in the courthouse basement.

By Sarah Pridgeon

While the majority of Wyoming’s counties pledged to support Ted Cruz over the weekend, Crook County voted for a delegate who has not yet committed to one of the presidential candidates. Ogden Driskill will represent the county at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland this July.

Driskill was nominated alongside Ted Davis and Julie Baker, both of whom pledged to support Cruz. During the first round of voting, no candidate received the necessary 51 percent of the vote; Baker, who received the fewest votes, withdrew her name from the ballot.

A second round saw 31 county convention delegates vote for Driskill and 27 for Davis.

Across the state, according to the result tally, 66.3 percent of Wyoming’s counties voted for delegates who support Cruz, 19.5 percent for Marco Rubio supporters and one county for Donald Trump.

Attendees at the convention also voted for ten delegates to represent Crook County at the state convention, where the remaining national delegates will be allocated. Those ten delegates are Sherry Wood, Jeff Mickle, Dale Wood, Rachel Fross, Nels Smith, Julie Baker, Darrel Baker, Jeannette Smith, Tom Marshall and Bobbi Betts.


Party business

The county convention saw two delegates represent each precinct, with a total of 60 delegates attending. Alongside voting for state and national delegates, attendees reviewed the Crook County Republican Party’s bylaws and platforms.

Vice Chair Ann Marie Mickle presented the proposed platforms and resolutions, which had been devised during the recent precinct caucus. Several saw spirited debate, such as one to support the idea of defining one woman and one man as the traditional family as this is the best institution to provide for our children and prepare them to participate in our government.

Another resolution supported reform of Wyoming’s asset forfeiture laws so that only those found guilty of a crime are subject to seizure of their private property. Representative Tyler Lindholm noted that changes were made to the state’s laws during the recent legislative session and said that losing one’s property for months can be devastating for a family.

Davis, on the other hand, commented that the laws as they stand have been successful in preventing the drug trade from taking hold in Wyoming and that altering them would support greater distribution of illegal drugs and encourage the cartels who do so. The resolution passed with 35 votes to 25.

Delegates chose not to pass a resolution that would support the hemp trade in Wyoming and allow the plant to be grown for commercial purposes, such as making rope. Proponents of the resolution believed it could help to diversify the economy and argued that it is a different crop entirely to marijuana.

Arguments against the resolution included the concern that it would be one step down the path of allowing marijuana to be legalized and that, though it is not possible to get high from smoking hemp, it would not prevent teenagers from attempting to do so.

Other resolutions passed by the delegates supported the repeal of all gun free zones in the state, the idea of private property owners being able to take game for consumption on their own land without a permit according to current hunting laws, food freedom, a ban on elective abortions and the removal of livestock investigators.

Delegates also reviewed and approved the bylaws, which, according to Suzette Livingston, had been cleaned up over the course of several months by a committee.