The Wyoming Republican Party selected three nominees for interim secretary of state at its central committee meeting Saturday in Pavillion — Karl Allred, Marti Halverson and Bryan Miller. Gov. Mark Gordon has until midnight on Thursday to make a final decision.
Former Secretary of State Ed Buchanan left office before the end of his term earlier this month to begin a judgeship. Until the newly elected secretary of state takes office in January, the position will be filled by an interim secretary. With the general election on Nov. 8, it’s a critical time for Wyoming’s chief elections officer.
Process and applicants
The initial nomination process was left to the GOP, per state statute. Applicants had to meet three qualifications for the office: be at least 25 years old, a United States citizen and a registered voter in Wyoming. For the interim appointment, the applicant also had to be a registered Republican.
Eleven Republicans applied to fill the vacancy, according to a press release from the GOP. The pool included: Mark Armstrong, Bob Ferguson, John Holtz, Pete Illoway, Jennifer James, Mary Lankford, Janet Marschner and Patrick Miller.
Armstrong recently lost a bid for secretary of state, coming in third in the Republican primary. The winner, Rep. Chuck Gray (R-Casper), was constitutionally prohibited from serving in the interim due to his legislative term. Gray will not face an opponent on the ballot in November.
James, Marschner and Miller also lost in August in their races for the Legislature, while Illoway and Halverson are both former lawmakers.
Lankford spent 32 years as the clerk for Sublette County. Patrick Miller currently works in the Wyoming Attorney General’s office, according to his application, where he advises the three boards and commissions the secretary of state sits on.
Ferguson spent the last two years as treasurer for the GOP, which has been struggling financially due to withheld dues and a series of lawsuits. Holtz, former Converse County Court Judge, lost a bid for Wyoming’s U.S. Senate seat in 2020.
Halverson secured the most votes with 55, according to the Casper Star-Tribune, while Miller received 52 votes and Allred received 43. All three are voting members of the Wyoming Republican Party.
Of the three, Halverson is the only nominee with experience serving in state government. She is currently chair of the Lincoln County Republican Party, according to her application, and president of the anti-abortion group Wyoming Right to Life.
Allred, chairman of the Uinta County GOP, works as foreman at a gas plant, according to his application.
Miller lost his race for House District 51 to Rep. Cyrus Western (R-Big Horn) by 136 votes. He is the owner of a private business, according to his application. He’s also chairman of the Sheridan County Republican Party.
The three nominees will interview with Gordon. Those interviews were still being scheduled, the governor’s spokesperson Michael Pearlman told WyoFile Monday morning.