Washakie Republicans Host Governor Debate Without Gordon
On Thursday evening, the Washakie County Republican party hosted a debate with two of the four candidates running to be Wyoming's Republican nominee for governor.
Jeff Pomeroy, a member of Washakie County Republicans, said that they have invited all four candidates for governor, Mark Gordon, Brent Bien, James Quick, and Rex Rammell.
However, they received word on Wednesday from Gordon that he would be unable to attend due to him going to Buffalo for the funeral of marine Seth Rasmuson.
Pomeroy said that James Quick was also unable to attend due to a scheduling conflict with his work.
During the debate between Rammell and Bein, with occasional mentions of Gordon, both candidates agreed on most of the issues.
Whether it was abortion, out-of-state hunting licenses, school vouchers, climate change, taxes, vaccine mandates, critical race theory, gun control, or President Joe Biden, they ended up agreeing with each other and having a very similar answer.
Both Rammell and Bein were against abortion and both wanted to remove the exception for rape, incest, and the life of the mother that was placed in the trigger ban that the legislature put in place in the previous session.
Both Bein and Rammell said that climate change doesn't exist, though Rammell said that carbon capture was a waste of money, while Bein said that humans don't do anything to contribute to the climate.
Both Rammell and Bein were against any form of vaccine mandate and both criticized Gordon for shutting down businesses at all, Rammell saying he doesn't believe the government should ever close down businesses or require vaccines in the event of a pandemic.
The differences arose in terms of how to address the federal government.
Rammell said that if he becomes governor, he would use his power to kick out members of the Bureau of Land Management and other members of the forestry service in order to take back all federal land for the state of Wyoming in order to fund the state government.
Bein said he would prefer to use legal avenues to address issues that Wyoming has with the federal government, rather than kicking it all out, and doesn't think that Rammell has a concrete plan to seize all federal land.
The two also disagreed to some degree on the issue of marijuana legalization, as Bein was not in favor of any kind of legalization, while Rammel said there could be some wiggle room when it comes to medical marijuana but not recreational.
Both candidates agreed at the end of the debate to step down from the race by the end of July if neither one was ahead of Gordon, as Rammell said he wants to make sure Gordon doesn't win.
During the debate, the moderator Taylor Haynes said at several points to gesture to Gordon's empty podium seeking an answer, and at one point said he was very upset that Gordon didn't attend.
While this is the first year that the Washaki Republicans have hosted a debate, Pomeroy said that they hope to host debates again before the general election in November, and in 2024.