By Bradley Harrington
“This whole thing has been an attack by the Cheyenne swamp; it seems as though Wyoming has its own Deep State out to perpetuate itself.” — Taylor Haynes, “Personal Interview,” Aug. 7, 2018 —
If there’s been an issue in Wyoming gubernatorial politics that’s roiled the waters more than the Taylor Haynes residency controversy, I sure can’t think of it.
But first, let me make full disclosure: I support Haynes’ run for governor and it is my sincere desire that he be our next governor.
That position, however, does not blind me to the facts — and, for those who’ve been on Mars for the last several months, let’s review the timeline:
■ On June 25, “An anonymous email — signed by ‘Anonymous Citizens of the State of Wyoming’ — was sent to the Laramie Boomerang … from a protonmail.com address, an encrypted email service. The email said Haynes ‘has misrepresented his residency in order to meet the qualifications for elected office.” (“Haynes: Residency accusation a pack of lies,” www.laramieboomerang.com, July 10.) Subsequent information makes it clear that this email was sent to all major Wyoming news outlets.
■ On July 5, Wyofile breaks the following news story:
“A complaint has been filed against gubernatorial candidate Dr. Taylor Haynes … Records suggest the complaint could involve the legitimacy of Haynes’ claim of Wyoming residency in his filing for his current campaign for governor.” (“Gubernatorial candidate Taylor Haynes’ residency questioned,” www.wyofile.com.) The core of the complaint is that Haynes’ ranch — the Thunderbasin Land, Livestock and Investment Company — straddles the border of Wyoming and Colorado, with the actual residence buildings on the Colorado side.
■ Two days later, in a video posted to his website, Haynes calls the accusations “a pack of lies” and states that “he has lived, worked and paid taxes in Wyoming for nearly 35 years with no residence in any other state.” On July 9 Ed Buchanan, the appointed Wyoming Secretary of State who quit gubernatorial candidate Harriet Hageman’s campaign to accept that job back in May, makes it known that both his and Wyoming Attorney General Peter Michael’s offices are reviewing the matter.
■ On July 21, the Wyoming SecState and AG’s offices declare that “Haynes is not eligible to run for governor,” that the “Republican candidate’s ranch home lies in Colorado,” and that they are seeking a court ruling “ordering Dr. Taylor Haynes to withdraw from the race or otherwise cease his campaign.” (“Wyoming officials: Haynes ‘not eligible’ to be governor,” WTE, July 22.) A hearing is set for Aug. 1 and a trial date for Aug. 7.
■ On Aug. 3, Laramie County District Court Judge Thomas Campbell throws out the entire ball of wax, declaring that “it is impractical and unfair to the Defendant to bypass the Wyoming Rules of Civil Procedure entirely and compress the litigation process into less than a three-week period” — as Plaintiff Buchanan had been demanding. Campbell also notes that “at this juncture, the affidavits and the parties’ assertions might be sufficient for the court to doubt the likelihood that the Plaintiff will prevail on the merits.” (Docket No. 190-183.)
So, Dear Readers, just exactly what is going on here? An “anonymous” source, completely devoid of the guts to stand up and make these accusations in public, argues that Haynes’ ranch buildings are on the Colorado side of the border — and that this fact should invalidate Haynes’ gubernatorial campaign.
And yet, as Haynes has stated repeatedly, his ranch, addressed at 795 Bull Mountain Rd., Laramie, WY, 82070, has ALWAYS been considered as a Wyoming address.
To verify this, I contacted Ruth Rowe, the individual who sold Haynes the ranch and who lived at that property for about 20 years prior to that sale. When asked that question directly, she said: “My address has always been 795 Bull Mountain Road in Laramie, Wyoming. It was printed on my vehicle registrations, my driver’s license, my tax forms, you name it.”
So the question then naturally arises: Since 795 Bull Mountain Road has ALWAYS been considered by both Colorado and Wyoming as a Laramie address, what would motivate everyone to start thinking differently about it now? The fact that it’s now owned by Taylor Haynes?
Powerful political forces and people, obviously, are out to ensure that Haynes does not become Wyoming’s next governor. And, when considering the fundamental planks of Haynes’ campaign — promoting our individual liberties coupled with a greatly-reduced federal involvement in our state — it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why: Haynes poses a threat to the “powers-that-be” that they find intolerable.
Bradley Harrington is a computer technician and a writer who lives in Cheyenne. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
NOTE: This column was originally published in the Wyoming Tribune Eagle on August 12, 2018. Here is this column’s original downloadable PDF file.