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Longtime Wyoming GOP treasurer leaves role over dispute with party leadership
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Longtime Wyoming GOP treasurer leaves role over dispute with party leadership

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Republican Convention

An elephant covered in campaign stickers welcomes guests to the 2016 Wyoming GOP Convention at the Parkway Plaza in Casper. The state Republican Party's longtime treasurer Doug Chamberlain has resigned from his post.

A longtime Wyoming Republican Party official revealed last week he would no longer serve as the group’s parliamentarian and treasurer after months of growing tensions with state party leaders.

In a letter to state party chairman Frank Eathorne that was distributed to the 80 members of the state party’s central committee over the weekend, Doug Chamberlain – a former 18-year member of the Wyoming Legislature and a onetime speaker of the House – announced he would no longer be serving in the volunteer roles due to a series of recent decisions by party leadership that Chamberlain wrote “challenged my integrity.”

In the letter, Chamberlain cited several issues that contributed to his decision. He accused Eathorne of being reluctant to introduce him to people at a fundraising dinner in Worland and then only did so by describing him as the party’s “acting” parliamentarian and treasurer. He described being shouted down by party members at a party meeting when he attempted to advise Eathorne on the word “censure,” and that Eathorne then effectively ruled him out of order.

He also raised concerns about the party’s decision to censure Natrona County state committeewoman Joann True earlier this month for her role in a political action committee committed to electing female candidates from both major parties. That move, Chamberlain wrote, was carried out without the proper due process.

Chamberlain’s letter also criticized “shameful” conduct by party members at the party’s state convention in Gillette over the summer, which included an alcohol-induced fight between two county chairpersons, a male delegate cursing at a member of Natrona County’s delegation that resulted in a near physical confrontation, and a delegate attacking his patriotism because “he did not believe I was standing in a posture that was respectful of the American flag,” Chamberlain wrote.

“All,” he wrote, “are indications that the WRP is headed in the wrong direction, in my opinion.”

Eathorne did not respond to an email and text message requesting comment on the letter or on Chamberlain’s exit from party leadership.

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The letter – which was marked “confidential” – was distributed to all of the members of the state central committee over the weekend, with rumors about its contents making the rounds through the county parties as early as Monday. The Star-Tribune obtained a copy of the letter from a rank-and-file individual outside of the state party leadership structure late Wednesday afternoon. Copies of the letter have also been posted onto social media.

Several members of the state central committee – including two county chairs — declined to comment on the record about Chamberlain’s exit from the party when reached by phone early this week, only to confirm that he had, in fact, left his post.

Reached by phone Wednesday afternoon, Chamberlain declined to comment on the contents of the letter after a Star-Tribune reporter declined to name their source for the document. He did clarify to the reporter that he did not resign.

“I’m just no longer volunteering,” he said. “That’s it.”

A longstanding member of the Wyoming Republican Party, Chamberlain developed a reputation over the years as a highly conservative but principled member of leadership, serving under five different chairpersons throughout his tenure.

His exit was not explicitly acknowledged by party leadership. However, on Wednesday the state party published a statement on social media thanking Chamberlain for his years of service to the party.

“All Wyoming Republicans have been impacted by the devoted service of Doug Chamberlain,” the statement read. “During his tenure he offered a listening ear to new ideas, encouragement from his lessons learned and enlightenment resulting from his robust exposure to all things Wyoming. We appreciate all you’ve done Mr. Chamberlain and the solid foundations you’ve laid to help us continue accomplishing the Party’s mission.”

Chamberlain now joins a growing list of individuals – including former Republican Party Chairman Matt Micheli – to criticize the current direction of the party, writing that Eathorne ignored his advice to curtail the party’s activities and instead continued to enable them.

“Your leadership in regards to how you treat me has ‘crossed the line I have personally drawn,’ beyond which I will not allow myself to be treated,” Chamberlain wrote, referencing a violation of the Code of the West.

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Politics Reporter

Nick Reynolds covers state politics and policy. A native of Central New York, he has spent his career covering governments big and small, and several Congressional campaigns. He graduated from the State University of New York at Brockport in 2015.

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