Wyoming Secretary Of State Wants To Dismiss Taylor Haynes Residency Lawsuit
The Wyoming Attorney General’s Office wants a court to dismiss the state's residency lawsuit against unsuccessful Republican gubernatorial candidate Taylor Haynes, according to a news release from Wyoming Secretary of State Ed Buchanan.
"My office had hoped that a ruling in this case would set a firm judicial precedent and provide guidance as to our authority relating to candidate eligibility," Buchanan said.
"The definitive primary election results in the governor’s race leaves the court without an active legal issue to consider," he said.
Buchanan will seek a legislative solution to the candidate eligibility question, he added.
Questions arose about Haynes' residency in July when Albany County District Attorney Peggy Trent received a complaint in June and began investigating his residency. The nonprofit, independent news organization Wyofile published a report that delved into the residency questions.
The Wyofile report said Haynes' swore an oath that he was a registered voter and lived at 702 S. Third St., in Laramie. That is the address of the building of Prodegi Corporate Benefit Services, which did not have a kitchen or shower, according to a real estate agent interviewed by Wyofile,
The number listed for Haynes in the Secretary of State's primary candidate election roster is for the Prodegi office. A message requesting comment from Haynes was not returned.
After the initial reports questioning Haynes' residency, the Wyoming Attorney General's Office asked the Laramie County District Court to rule on whether Haynes had lived in the state for five continuous years before a gubernatorial election -- a requirement mandated by the Wyoming Constitution for candidates for governor.
Haynes defended his claim of residency and called the allegations "dirty political tricks" and blamed the allegations on unsuccessful GOP gubernatorial candidate Harriet Hageman, who denied Haynes' assertions. Mark Gordon of Buffalo defeated Haynes, Hageman, Sam Galeotos, Foster Friess and Bill Dahlin in the GOP Aug. 21 primary.
Haynes' defeat at the polls rendered the lawsuit moot, according to the motion to dismiss the lawsuit.
The Wyoming Attorney General wanted an expedited hearing and review of the matter in July, but Haynes would not agree to it and instead wanted it to happen in January.
That's what will happen if the Laramie County District Court does not grant the motion to dismiss the lawsuit.
If the court grants the motion to dismiss, the two questions by Attorney General of the Wyoming Judiciary will remain unanswered:
"1. Does Dr. Taylor Haynes meet the residency requirement to hold the office of governor under Article 4 Section 2 of the Constitution of the State of Wyoming?"
"2. Does the Secretary of State, as Wyoming’s chief election officer, have the legal and statutory authority to act upon issues relating to a candidate’s eligibility?"
Regardless of what happens in court, Buchanan said the Secretary of State's Office will work with the Legislature to answer the question of candidate eligibility. "The legislature is the right body for this issue as the Wyoming Constitution instructs the legislature to ‘secure the purity of elections, and guard against abuses of the elective franchise.'"