Sen. Cale Case (R-Lander) watches a presentation during a House Transportation, Highways, and Military Affairs Committee meeting March 30, 2021, inside the state Capitol. (Michael Cummo/Wyoming Tribune Eagle/Wyoming News Exchange)

The Fremont County Republican Party voted to censure Sen. Cale Case (R-Lander) on Monday, citing his support for Medicaid expansion and a recent op-ed written by the lawmaker, among other things. 

“Wyoming State Senator [Case] consistently speaks and acts in [sic] contrary to the will and consent of the governed and the Wyoming Republican party platform,” according to the resolution. 

Wyoming Republicans have increased their use of the censure since 2020 — most notably as a response to U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney’s (R-Wyoming) vote to impeach former President Donald Trump. Party censure is a largely symbolic act that does not involve any material punishment such as removal from office or loss of authority. Instead, it’s a resolution expressing formal disapproval when no other recourse is available. 

The Wyoming Republican Party uses “censure and RINO-labeling of any dissenting viewpoint” to keep a “narrow focus alive,” Case wrote in an op-ed for Cowboy State Daily. The fact that he was censured shortly after the piece was published has only proven the point he was trying to make, Case told WyoFile. 

“What else can they do? They can’t send me to bed without my dinner,” Case said. 

The county party’s officials voted 11-7 in favor of censuring Case. 

A little history 

“A resolution of censure brings out the grumblings that are going on behind the scenes,” Republican and former legislator Marti Halverson told WyoFile. 

In 2020, Halverson wrote an op-ed in support of the state GOP party censuring JoAnn True, at the time a state GOP committeewoman for Natrona County. It was the first censure by the party in several years and, according to True, it marked the first censure of a woman in the history of the State of Wyoming. 

True’s censure was due to her role in founding a political action committee meant to increase female representation in office regardless of party affiliation. Like other non-partisan PACS, Cowgirl Run Fund gives money to both Democratic and Republican candidates. Despite the censure, True has remained politically involved and encourages others to do the same. 

“The average Republican needs to get involved or back involved in the precinct level partisan politics,” she said. 

Before 2020, one of the last times the party censured one of its own members was 2014. At that time, Republican Gov. Matt Mead was censured by several county GOP parties for signing a piece of legislation that stripped then-Superintendent of Public Instruction Cindy Hill of most of her powers. Despite the censure, Mead went on to win both the primary and general elections for his second term later that year. 

Elections

While such resolutions have since become more frequent — Case’s being the most recent — they don’t have much effect on voters, according to Jim King, a professor in political science at the University of Wyoming. 

“It might be part of the ‘drip, drip, drip’ that erodes candidate support, but in itself, the censure is not going to carry much weight,” King said.  

It certainly doesn’t look good for a candidate, he said, but voters may not take much of a cue from party leadership. Most voters will have already formed an opinion for or against the target of a censure by the time a political party takes action, according to King. 

In the case of Cheney, King said her many censures are indicative of the GOP’s move away from President Ronald Reagan’s gospel against speaking ill of other Republicans. 

“I think this is just one more part of that shift in the way the Republican Party is operating internally,” he said. 

Whether those censures reflect the minds of most voters will come to light in August, when Cheney faces a Trump-backed challenger and others in the 2022 primary election. 

“What else can they do? They can’t send me to bed without my dinner.”

sen. cale cale

Monday night

“This censure is not a tactic. It’s not bullying,” Steve Lynn, a precinct committeeman in Pavillion, said during Monday’s Fremont County Central Committee meeting. 

“There is room in our tent,” Lynn said, but the party could not be “everything to everyone.” 

While not a constituent of Case’s, Lynn brought the censure because he said it was his “duty to call to account” Case’s actions, like supporting Medicaid expansion

The program is government overreach, according to Lynn, and therefore unconstitutional. Case rebutted that idea and stood by his stance. He also pointed to a poll from October of last year that found almost two-thirds of Wyoming residents support Medicaid expansion. When broken down by party, 58% of Republicans were in support as were 98% of Democrats and 64% of independents. 

The censure also took issue with the character reference Case provided during a sentencing hearing for a former county official who was convicted of embezzlement. Everyone is entitled to a defense, Case said in response. 

“This entire country is a wreck on account of the conga line of RINO Republicans that we have in our midst,” John Pennington of Shoshoni said in support of the censure. 

Not everyone who spoke at the meeting echoed Pennington and Lynn. 

“If you’re serious about [this censure], I want to go down with Cale. I would be honored to be censured,” former secretary for the Fremont County GOP Jim Hellyer said. 

“The Wyoming Republican Party has a long-term goal of using punitive measures to lessen the impact of thoughtful, well rounded dissent,” Hellyer wrote in an op-ed in April

Case urged the body to reject the censure, but said no matter what he planned to “keep going because I believe in what I’m doing.” 

“I stand tall, and the people in my district are going to decide whether I need to be thrown out or not,” he said.

Case is up for re-election this year. He intends to run.

Maggie Mullen

Maggie Mullen reports on state government and politics. Before joining WyoFile in 2022, she spent five years at Wyoming Public Radio.

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  1. Why do these cranks think the voters sent them to Cheyenne? How does this behavior benefit the citizens of Wyoming? The Wyoming GOP has complete control of state government and this is how they spend their time instead of tending to State business? Very disrespectful to the voters and to the offices to which they have been elected…

  2. And so the Republican party implodes… Liz Cheney runs for President and wins as in Independent.

  3. House District 55 is next to Case’s district. Is that high achieving up and comer Ember Oakley going run again for representative? She’ll be governor someday, mark my words

  4. The Wyoming GOP has sold out to carpetbaggers and pretenders. Maybe that’s a good thing as it exposes who the whack jobs are and the rest of us can avoid ’em

  5. Cale, I took your advice and filed for Committee man. Maybe if enough of the folks who agree with you would do the same we might be able to bring sanity back to the GOP

    1. If you’re cut from the same cloth as Mr. Case, you have my well wishes.

      The new age trumplicans have no business in politics or honest debate. They believe in conspiracy theories over truth and claim nonsense as “facts”. The self identified “tea party” folks were bad enough. The new age repubs are “tea party” silliness times 1000.

      Good luck sir.

  6. It’s great to see someone standing up to reflect the overwhelming support for Medicaid shown by the vast tri-partisan polling results cited. Republicans in Wyoming should be ashamed of these corner-jumping defamers who seem to not care about those who have no or minimal health insurance. Medicaid is basic care. While I’m at it, Liz Cheney is the only star on your hat. She has cajones.

  7. The Wyoming Republican Party continues to prove George Washington’s fear of political parties was justified. Perhaps the first case of government overreach that should be addressed is the creation of political parties. As they have no state or federal constitutional basis and exist solely as a creation of the legislative branch it may be time to eliminate them and go to nonpartisan elections where the governed actually have to educate themselves on the positions and practices of all candidates and elect them based on that rather than the candidate’s blind adherence to party dogma. As for Senator Case, it has been my great pleasure to work with him for the nearly 30 years. We have often disagreed (sometimes with great vigor) but he listens to all of his constituents not just the privileged few in the leadership of his party. He has the courage to say what he believes, it seems to me that is a value the alleged conservative party in Wyoming should be celebrating, not censuring.

  8. A recent survey of Wyoming voters shows that 66 percent support expanding Medicaid. 57 percent of GOP voters are in favor. This poll was conducted on behalf of the American Cancer Society by New Bridge Strategy They mostly conduct polls for Republican organizations. Senator Case is expressing the will of the people

  9. If the vote was 11-7, that isn’t even a quorum of the county central committee.

  10. Thank you Cale for your support for Medicaid expansion. Thank you for standing firm for the civil rights of women. Health care is government overreach and state-enforced pregnancy is not?????

  11. Honestly; I am tired of GOP tactics, such as censoring, gerrymandering, voter suppression and book banning. This all is contrary to a healthy democracy and quite worrisome. As for the support that some of the GOP are still giving Trump, one only has to look around the world and at history to see what has happened when narcissistic nationalists have been in charge. We are currently seeing this in Russia. The GOP needs to get their act together and if this means removing his supporters then so be it. I might add this does not mean Liz Cheney. I don’t always agree with her politics, but she has something rare among politicians. The courage to stand up for what is right. I am also in favor of supporting the expansion of Medicare. If money is tight then remove the GOP tax break passed a few years back. I think the GOP has forgotten who they are supposed to be looking after and are only interested in who gives them money.

  12. The Republican Party as we have known it forever in Wyoming is gone. The Reasonable, Conservative and get the job done party is gone. They are now just making it a career of evil. They are blind followers…..

  13. Having been born in Wyoming in 1956. Going to school and graduating in Central High School in 1974. Spending countless hours watching the legislature debate and address problems before the state. Then leaving the state in 1979 and returning in 2016 with the thought that reasonable people still live and care about this state and it’s future it saddens and worries me to have returned to a state more hyperbole and self absorbed then some of the previous states I left. The Republican Party has become the party of no ideas, no solutions, no peace. It leadership is now a parts of a group that rather overthrow then accept the results of a fair and legal election. It censures moderation and espouses hard right philosophy and conspiracies like they are real. It raise issues that are not apart of the local Wyoming discussion and demands fixes to problems that do not exists. It is willing to let it’s citizens die claiming government overreach ( Medicare) and would allow the big conglomerates and dirty business destroy our resources water and land for their profit against our benefit. Many of my Republican friends knew in 1970’s that coal would not always be a solution and some even believed in the science of climate impact. But these people have been found out and like good little Nationalist Socialist purged these good people from their ranks as they themselves follow a distant leader of little moral standing who’s only concern is his place among the oligarchs and autocratic leaders that he has championed in the past. Well, my Republican friends, we who really cherish this country and understand what these people who think this way are trying to obtain will eventually win. But remember, evil triumphs when people of good will do nothing! Don’t despair, there are many, many more of us who see this and we will prevail!

  14. “Wyoming State Senator [Case] consistently speaks and acts in [sic] contrary to the will and consent of the governed…” Well I’m among the “governed” and I it is my will and I support Medicaid expansion as do many Wyoming’s “governed”. ALL Senators are supposed to represent their constituents FIRST not the GOP or ANY political party. The Wyoming GOP, like nationally, is continuing to be the party of hypocrisy. They yell at tech companies for stifling free speech, but then do the same if anyone in their party dares to step out of line. However the GOP is worse since the tech companies are private companies banning hate speech and the spread of lies that harm the public health and our democracy. The GOP does it just because you disagree with them (or heaven forbit, actually tell the truth!). Just when I think have no more respect for the GOP…they show you can still go lower.

  15. Considering the current crop of extremist, radical Republican weirdos disallowing differing points of view and “spanking” those who speak in favor of common sense solutions, being censured by them should be seen as a BADGE of HONOR. Essentially, it means you aren’t afraid of their strong arm bullying and guerrilla tactics. The same can’t be said for those who blindly follow their whichever-way-the-political-winds-blow leaders.

  16. It is sad that the Republicans seek to punish someone for supporting broadening access to health care for the low-income working people upon whom we are dependent for services in Wyoming. We should be punishing those who fail to support Medicaid Expansion by voting them out of office. Now is the time for candidates to file to run against those who voted against Medicaid Expansion, whatever the party affiliation.

  17. Can someone please explain to me how Medicaid expansion is governmental overreach and impeding on a woman’s reproductive rights is not? Me thinks I smell hypocrisy.

  18. I may not agree with everything Mr. Case believes, but he has shown that there are reasonable Republicans left in the state. He doesn’t deal in absolutes. He is open to working with others, and has shown some integrity by calling out the whack jobs that are the new-age republicans

    Keep it up Mr Case.