The Natrona County Republican Party's central committee during a special convention Saturday selected three candidates for an empty County Commission position.

One of the three will be chosen later this month to replace former commissioner Matt Keating, who was elected County Assessor in the November general election.

The central committee, composed of the party's precinct committee members in the county -- chose Brook Kaufman, Dave North and Mike Pyatt among eight candidates, Party Chairman Dr. Joe McGinley said.

Kaufman is the chief executive officer of the Casper Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.

North ran unsuccessfully in the Republican Party primary for the Natrona County Commission in 2018.

Pyatt was a council member of the Town of Mills, and ran unsuccessfully for mayor last year.

The central committee will forward these names to the Natrona County Commission, McGinley said.

The other four members of the Commission, all Republicans, will interview the three candidates and select one on Feb. 19.

On Jan. 2, the Commission elected its new leadership even though a new commissioner had not been sworn in yet and another commissioner about to resign had not been replaced.

That drew criticism from Tracy Lamont, who ran unsuccessfully for a commission seat in the Aug. 23 primary, as well as criticism from newly elected commission member Jim Milne who had not been sworn in at that time.

Saturday, McGinley said about 100 voting members attended the central committee meeting in the theater at the Ramkota Hotel. "It was a full house."

At the beginning of the meeting, U.S. Sen. John Barrasso and U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney spoke briefly to the participants, McGinley said.

The candidates were asked what they thought the role of a county commissioner should be, their opinion of the optional one-cent sales tax and how they would use the revenues, and the major challenges facing the county commission in this year.

"All eight of the candidates did a really good job of answering the questions," McGinley said. "The audience listened intently; it was great to see that type of engagement from the members of our central committee."


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