Attacking Problems, Not People; McGinley & Pyatt Vie for Natrona County GOP Leadership
Dr. Joseph McGinley and Mike Pyatt used to serve together on the Natrona County GOP Executive Committee. McGingley served as the Chairman, while Pyatt served as the Vice Chair.
Both men would even say they were friends but, when it comes to the direction of the Natrona County GOP - the two have vastly different ideas about what should and should not happen.
On Wednesday night, the two former colleagues were both vying for the position of the Committeeman for the Natrona County GOP. McGinley already held the title, and Pyatt wanted it.
It wasn't the first time Pyatt tried to usurp power from McGinley, either.
According to the Casper Star Tribune, "Back in 2017, Pyatt and a group of hard-line conservative Republicans in the county attempted to oust then-Chairman McGinley from his seat, the Star-Tribune previously reported.
"Cathy Ide, the spouse of now-freshman Sen. Bob Ide, called for a meeting during which attendees voted to remove McGinley from his post and put Pyatt in his place. While McGinley described the event as a 'rogue activity' and said that those who organized it didn’t follow rules for calling a meeting, some in the county party nevertheless believed Pyatt to be the new chairman. In the end, McGinley maintained his seat."
History repeated itself on Wednesday night, though the meeting was official this time and it included the entirety of the Natrona County GOP.
Both men spoke on their own behalf, pitching themselves to voters as they eyed the position of Committeeman.
"I want to make sure that people realize that the state committeeman...this isn't about Joe [McGinley] and myself," Pyatt said during his speech. "What is it about? It's about the spirit of individual virtuous liberty that swept over the barren Natrona County in the 2022 primary, when citizens awakened to that movement and four candidates who stood for the status quo were ousted."
Pyatt is no stranger to liberty. He is the president of Liberty's Place 4 U which, according to Pyatt, is about 'virtuous liberty,' as opposed to 'licentious liberty.'
When asked what liberty meant to Pyatt, he told K2 Radio News that "Liberty, to me, is the ability and the God-given right to pursue anything you want, as long as it is virtuous liberty."
Pyatt said that licentious liberty means you can do whatever you want to fulfill and take care of yourself.
"I believe you can do what you want as long as it is righteous and just; virtuous," Pyatt said.
When asked who gets to determine what is righteous or virtuous or just, Pyatt said that his "allegiance is first, to Jesus Christ; second, to the Constitution. Our mission is to advance virtuous liberty in Natrona County and beyond, and now we're beyond."
In his speech, Pyatt referenced the ongoing friction between the Natrona County GOP and the Wyoming Republican Party.
"It's irrational to believe that the State GOP is the boogeyman and the Natrona County GOP is as pure as the driven snow," Pyatt said. "It's also irresponsible, in my opinion, to be sending Joe McGinley to represent the party again, [it] will do anything but marginalize your members and your voice."
McGinley, in his speech, said that the point of the Natrona County GOP is to fight for the Republican Party; not to fight with each other.
"What we're focusing on is success," McGinley said. "As a member of leadership in this party, we focus on attacking problems, not people. You may not know this, but my counterpart running against me and I are actually friends outside of this room. And if I'm reelected, I'm gonna continue to fight for you."
Pyatt agreed that the two were friends. In fact, McGinley has even been Pyatt's doctor.
"He's been my physician a couple times," Pyatt revealed. "I had to make sure what was in the needle, though."
Pyatt kept needling McGinley throughout his speech, but McGinley took it in stride.
"It's nothing personal," McGinley told K2 Radio News. "We're sparring partners within the party, I would say. And we get along outside of here. We just disagree on the direction of the party. I really believing on focusing on problems, not people. You heard it in his speech; he was personally attacking me while he was up there. And that's not really what politics is about."
So, what is politics about?
"You should be able to disagree and then shake hands and say, 'Well, how do we make the best of this?'" McGinley shared. "How do we move forward? That's how the Republican Party has been built. Those are the principles of Ronald Reagan and that's what we need to get back to. As a party, we have a great set of platforms, but there's room for discussion, there's room for debate, and there's always room for growth."
Growth is what the Natrona County GOP hopes to experience and they want to do it with McGinley at the helm. He defeated Pyatt for the position of Committeeman, winning 127 votes while Pyatt received 66 votes.
McGinley will continue to serve as the Natrona County Republican Party Committeeman, and he will continue to serve as a voice for his fellow Republicans.
"I like contributing back to the community," McGinley said. "This is just another way of giving back. I like to help guide what's best for our city, for our town, and for our state. And this is the way to do it. Every individual has such a powerful voice, they just don't realize it."
Hopefully, McGinley said, he can be that voice.
Video of the speeches from Dr. McGinley and Mike Pyatt can be seen below: