Skip to content

Frontier Republicans – about civility or control?

So the Frontier Republicans are demanding civility in Wyoming’s political discourse. Is that what they want, or are their motives more sinister?

Recently an email was sent out from the Frontier Republicans calling for civility while in different forums they vilifyied others as extremists and implied they are cockroaches. (Yeah, they really did that, they demanded civility and called other people cockroaches. Yikes, hypocrite much?)

We’ve already seen how two critical players in the Frontier Republicans are really disgruntled, angry, and frustrated that they didn’t get their way.

Read Laramie County Republican Party Chairman Olsen’s own words. Is this civil discourse? She calls members of the state party “corrupt” and accuses them of criminal behavior. In my opinion, it’s the ranting of an upset person looking to cast her opponents in the worst possible light.

It also helps to look at what other Frontier Republican influencers have done and said. Doug Camblin is a founding Frontier Republican out of Campbell County. What’s his history?  

I have a bit of inside knowledge. Three years ago, I was chairman of the Campbell County Republican Party when Mr. Camblin and his wife became precinct people.  

To start, he was mild-mannered and civil, but clearly not happy with the conservative direction of the party in Campbell County and around the state. His anger began to manifest when the 0.25% tax for the community college was the only issue on the 2017 ballot. The CCGOP came out against the tax. ‘No new taxes’ was the order of the day, and the matter was defeated handily. Mr. Camblin was not shy about letting his displeasure with the CCGOP and the position on the tax be known. However, in my opinion, his conduct was well within acceptable bounds.

But that changed after I left the chairmanship to work on a political campaign.  

Jump ahead a few months to the resignation of Commissioner Kissack from the Campbell County Commission.

When Commissioner Kissack resigned, the CCGOP did a great job managing the nineteen people who applied for the position. The three selected candidates included a retired Army colonel, a retired Army staff sergeant, and a prominent local businessman.

What happened next was revealing and essential to understanding the nature of Frontier Republicans.

Much to Mr. Camblin’s displeasure, his candidates were not among the three chosen to send to the County Commissioners. For the first time I can remember, the conservatives got their act together. They organized the majority of precinct people to elect their preferred candidates.  

Almost as soon as votes were tallied, the bad-mouthing of Chairman Vicki Kissack (wife of Commissioner Kissack) and the CCGOP began. While I don’t recall if Mr. Camblin said it himself, individuals were accusing the CCGOP leadership of malfeasance in much the same manner of Chairman Olsen’s diatribe against the Wyoming GOP.

Mr. Camblin was quite vocal on Facebook, at the very least, complaining about the qualifications of the individuals selected by the CCGOP. It was grossly offensive that two veterans who served our county in Granada, Panama and Iraq could be so poorly treated. I was so appalled that I penned a letter to the local paper to support the selected candidates. 

So what we’ve seen of the Frontier Republicans is beginning to establish a pattern: 1. Lose a decision; 2. Get indignant and call those in charge corrupt or incompetent. 3. Optionally paper over the bad behavior with phony calls for civility.

In my view, Frontier Republicans don’t want civility. They want control. Calls for civility are the deception they use to try to achieve it.   What these Frontier Republicans fail to see is that their vilification of fellow Republicans as extremists is precisely the uncivil conduct they supposedly stand against.

In contrast to the Frontier Republicans, after the 2018 gubernatorial primary, I took a lot of heat from my more passionate conservative friends. See, I dared to call for party unity.  

Rex Rammel, a friend and candidate for governor, was incensed I put party over principle and let me have it with both barrels on Facebook. If you remember, over 60% of Republicans voted against Governor Gordon in the primary. Yet he was our Republican candidate, and the perils of a Governor Mary Throne were too great to risk.  

I understand the Frontier Republican frustration; it’s rough when you are on the losing end repeatedly. For most of my political life as a conservative it is what I have endured. I fought many similar battles, enduring many defeats. It’s frustrating.  

As Republicans, we are individuals, and we all exercise our individual freedoms. It’s why we abide by Ronald Reagan’s 80/20 rule. The 80% we agree on is way more important than the 20% we don’t.

If you are genuinely looking to improve the party and process, then work within the party and the process. Its what I have done and what I think everyone should do.

Frontier Republicans think they are too good for that. It’s the give away that shows what they want is not about making the Wyoming Republican Party better, but rather gaining control of the party through any means necessary.

I encourage everyone to get involved, stand your ground stand up for what you believe. Be respectful, and if you’re right, you’ll eventually convince people.

Don’t be a Frontier Republican, unless you’re a proud hypocrite.

About Post Author