Posted: January 5, 2008 12:44 PM
With Few Watching, Wyoming GOP Casts Its Vote
As the major candidates criss-crossed New Hampshire Saturday ahead of back-to-back debates, Republican party faithful in Wyoming headed to county conventions to select the candidate they think ought to represent the GOP in the fall campgain.
Wedged between first-in-the-nation Iowa caucus and the first primary in New Hampshire, the media and most of the campaigns have sidelined the Western state that gave up half its delegates to the national convention this year in order to move up in the process.
But it was a gamble that Wyoming may have lost.
“Wyoming’s been a bit overlooked,” the Associated Press quoted Amy Larimer, executive director of the Wyoming Republican Party, as saying Friday.
Some analysts blame the media more than anything else for marginalizing the Equality State.
Jim King, who teaches political science at the University of Wyoming, told AP, “Yes, there have been some appearances by the candidates in this state that otherwise wouldn’t have occurred this early in the process, but candidates are where the media are — in Iowa and New Hampshire.”
Others chalked the lack of attention Wyoming is getting to its arcane system of awarding delegates.
Each county party organization — whether it is in the relatively populous capital or the most rural area — will select one delegate to the convention on Saturday from a pool made up of active Republican committee members.
John McCormack, writing in The Weekly Standard, concluded, “the majority of county delegates who will choose Wyoming’s 12 national delegates were not elected because of their presidential preference, but were vested with this power on account of being active party members.”
Still Mitt Romney, Fred Thompson and Ron Paul have all appeared in person to campaign in the state and surrogates for the other candidates have made speeches, but come Saturday evening, it appears unlikely that Wyoming will have much of an impact on the direction of the Republican campaign.