CHEYENNE — Anti-abortion activist and fringe Democratic presidential candidate Randall Terry on Thursday pledged to stop an illegal robocall campaign urging state Republicans to switch parties and vote for him in next month’s Democratic caucuses.
In addition, Terry is mulling a potential legal challenge to overcome a much more serious problem: a state Democratic Party order that he can’t run in the caucuses at all.
Terry, the founder of the anti-abortion group Operation Rescue and until recently a lifelong Republican, is running as a Democrat this year in a handful of caucuses and primaries on essentially two messages — abortion is murder and anybody but President Barack Obama. He turned heads last month when he won 18 percent of the vote in the Oklahoma Democratic primary.
Now, Terry said he’s focusing solely on Wyoming, as its caucus system and small population of Democrats make it the easiest state to win.
On Thursday, Terry’s campaign launched a series of robocalls directed at Wyoming Republicans asking them to register as Democrats and vote for him in next month’s Democratic county caucuses.
“I only need about 500 votes to win the entire state, and you can be heard by the entire nation,” Terry said in the call.
However, under Wyoming law, making automated phone calls for “promoting or any other use related to a political campaign” is a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in prison and a $750 fine.
But few, if any, offenders have been prosecuted, because — as in Terry’s case — they usually stop the calls on their own after getting a warning from state elections officials.
After several call recipients — including many Democrats — complained to the Wyoming secretary of state’s office, Deputy Secretary of State Pat Arp and Terry met in Cheyenne on Thursday afternoon.
Terry told the Casper Star-Tribune that he didn’t know that robocalls are banned in Wyoming and said he would order them to be immediately stopped. He said he wasn’t sure how many calls had been placed in Wyoming.
Terry’s next challenge is to make sure that he even has a chance at winning any Wyoming delegates at all.
Earlier this week, Wyoming Democratic Party Executive Director Robin Van Ausdall instructed all county chairs not to recognize any Terry delegates that might be elected during county caucuses.
That’s because the Democratic National Committee ruled earlier this year that Terry isn’t a “bona fide” Democrat, as he’s a lifelong Republican who, by his own admission, is running only so he can cripple Obama and plans to run as an independent in the general election.
Terry said he plans to meet with the Wyoming attorney general’s office today to urge the state to step in and pressure the Democrats to allow his delegates to be recognized. If that can’t happen, he said, he might resort to legal action. Terry previously said he intends to file a lawsuit in Kansas to get his name on the Democratic primary ballot there.
“That is a criminal act,” Terry said of the decision by the Wyoming Democrats. “I mean, what is this, Cuba?”
Van Ausdall held that the Democrats were within their rights to invalidate any Terry delegates, and she predicted county caucuses would end up being “uneventful” affairs.
“We’re not going to have a circus,” Van Ausdall said. “We’re just not going to do that.”