The Republican candidate pool for Wyoming secretary of state grew by two on Monday.
Ed Buchanan, a five-term state House lawmaker who retired from the Legislature in 2012, announced his bid to run for the office.
He was joined by Pete Illoway, a former House lawmaker from Cheyenne who also left the Legislature two years ago.
Adding the two former Republican lawmakers makes the secretary of state’s race the most sought-after statewide elected officer in the run up to the Aug. 19 primary elections. The current secretary, Max Maxfield, announced on March 14 he would not seek a third term.
Buchanan and Illoway join Rep. Dan Zwonitzer, R-Cheyenne, who will give up his legislative seat to battle for the position, and Clark Stith, a former Sweetwater County GOP chairman.
Illoway and Buchanan are familiar with one another and no stranger to Maxfield. The two candidates both worked together in Cheyenne during their terms in office.
Buchanan was speaker of the House and gave up his seat after citing what he called a self-imposed term limit. Illoway served seven terms and was chairman of the House Corporations, Elections and Political Subdivisions Committee, the legislative body with jurisdiction over the statutory needs of the secretary of state’s office.
The secretary is known as the state’s record keeper. Those elected to the job are responsible for monitoring documents filed by businesses, politicians and companies selling securities. The secretary of state also has a seat, along with the other four statewide officials, on powerful boards including the State Loan and Investment Board.
Illoway, Buchanan and the other candidates are touting a few similar talking points. All want to see more filings available online. Buchanan wants a searchable database of financial information filed publicly in the office. Illoway wants a searchable database for state agency rules and regulations. Both also lauded their experience in passing laws that reformed laws governing the secretary’s office.
The Legislature passed laws to crack down on fraud in the state when Illoway was the corporations committee chairman and Buchanan the speaker.
Lawmakers reformed how “shell companies” and registered agents can conduct business in the state.
“We were the most fraud-friendly state in the nation,” Illoway said. “That didn’t sit well with anybody.”
Buchanan said he would also consider changing ballot access laws in the state. Nationwide, Wyoming has some of the most stringent requirements for allowing third-party candidates access to ballots.
Parties don’t earn a spot on the ballot unless they collect at least 2 percent of the vote in any election. The other way to get on the ballot is petitioning the state and collecting the signatures of at least 2 percent of signatures from registered voters.
“It’s something I would certainly take a look at and see what the pros and cons of lowering those standards are,” Buchanan said.
Buchanan, 46, is an attorney in Torrington and said he already has a finance team and campaign chairman for fundraising. He’s begun campaigning and attended GOP county conventions to stump for his candidacy.
Illoway, 73, is a former employee of Cheyenne LEADS, the city's economic development organization, and current board member on the Wyoming Business Council.
As the oldest candidate running for the office, Illoway said age isn’t a factor.
“My health is great,” he said. “I don’t think age has anything to do with it.”
The first day for filing as a secretary of state candidate is May 15. Registration ends on May 30.