Wyoming’s Donald Trump: Serial candidate Rex Rammell goes after another political office in the Equality State

By on January 10, 2018

Rock Springs Republican and serial candidate for elected office, Rex Rammell, has once again announced he will be running for office in the Equality State – only this time, he has a political brand name to compare himself to.

“In a way, I am Wyoming’s Donald Trump,” Rammell told the Casper Star-Tribune in a recent interview. “I speak my mind.”

Rammell announced last week he would run to replace Wyoming Governor Matt Mead, who cannot run for that office again because of term limits.

Ol’ Rex Rammell – a veterinarian and staunch supporter of “states’ rights,” – said if he becomes governor, he intends for Wyoming to take possession of lands belonging to the federal government.

He would even do so by force if necessary, Rammell told the Casper Star-Tribune.

“I would sign an executive order requiring the state police to arrest anybody that didn’t vacate their federal offices,” Rammell said. “We’re talking about the BLM, the Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife and the Park Service.”

Rammell later clarified that that he did not think taking the land by force would be necessary, since he felt the Trump administration could be compelled to give up the lands without a fight.

Western states like Wyoming taking possession of federal lands would allow the states to bypass many federal regulations, which Rammell sees as an impediment to economic development in the west.

Rammell’s latest foray into the political fray is another run for a man used to being a candidate for…well…something.

His gubernatorial run in Wyoming is not Rammell’s first attempt at becoming the head executive of a state. Rammell ran for governor in Idaho in 2009 against five other republican candidates. In that race, Rammell took home about 26 percent of the vote in the six-candidate field, the second highest percentage of the six candidates.

Butch Otter won the primary with 55 percent of votes cast, and eventually went on to win in the general election with 59 percent of the vote.

In 2008, Rammell ran for the U.S. Senate vacated by Idaho Senator Larry Craig, who resigned after he was caught in a bathroom sex sting incident at an airport in Minneapolis. Rammell ran as an independent, taking 5.3 percent of the vote. The seat was won by Jim Risch, the former governor of Idaho.

In 2002 and 2004, Rammell unsuccessfully ran in the primary for the Idaho legislature, losing both times. He tried going again for a seat in the Idaho legislature in 2012, with a second place finish in that primary with 30 percent of the vote.

Most recently, Rammell ran in the Republican primary for Wyoming’s at-large representative to the U.S. House of Representatives. With eight others vying for the nomination, Rammell dropped out of the race in July 2016, endorsing Darin Smith because of his conservative and religious values. Despite dropping out, Rammell got about 1 percent of the vote.

Liz Cheney, the eventual winner of the seat in the general election, got nearly 39 percent in the primary.

Rammell’s move to embrace Trump is a bit controversial – even for conservatives – as many in the Republican party have worked to distance themselves from the President.

Trump, who won in Wyoming with 68 percent of votes, just came off a weekend in which he was compelled to respond to questions about his mental fitness for the office of president. Saturday, Trump tweeted he was a “very stable genius” as proof of his fitness for office.

And Trump’s record low approval ratings nationwide have trickled down to Wyoming. According to recent polls, Trump’s approval in Wyoming has dipped to around 40 percent at the end of 2017, a far cry from the president’s near 70 percent win margin in November 2016.

Rammell’s identification with Trump’s waning brand identity might just be par-for-course for a controversial candidate known for a certain amount of color all his own.

In 2009, Rammell was embroiled in controversy when it was reported he said he would purchase a license to hunt Barack Obama, who was then only six months in to his first term as President. The incident took place at a town hall meeting about hunting when an attendee suggested “Obama tags.” Rammell reportedly said he would purchase such a tag.

Rammell eventually apologized for the remark.

In 2010, Rammell again stirred controversy after he held a meeting with fellow members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints where he discussed a purported prophecy of Joseph Smith, founder of the Church. Called the “White Horse Prophecy,” it claims Smith once predicted the constitution would “Hang by a thread,” and elders of the LDS church would be the only people capable of saving it. At the meeting, Rammell used the apocryphal prophecy as a means to draw attention to the political climate at the time.

The controversy led the LDS church to issue a formal statement saying the White Horse Prophecy was not official church doctrine, and that there was no evidence it was a genuine prophecy of Smith. The church also disavowed the meetings, saying the institution was politically neutral. Rammell later apologized not making the meetings public.

Planet Jackson Hole staff attempted to contact Rammell for comment about his announced run for governor, but the number listed on his campaign website went to a voicemail at a pet boarding business and no message was returned. PJH

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