CHEYENNE — Gov. Mark Gordon announced Thursday night that he selected Uinta County resident Karl Allred to serve as interim secretary of state.
Allred, who last month lost the Republican primary to Jon Conrad in the state Legislature’s House District 19 race, was chosen from three candidates selected by the Wyoming Republican Party’s Central Committee on Saturday.
Allred didn’t respond immediately to a request for comment.
State law requires the governor to choose within five days from three names submitted to him by the Republican Central Committee. Right to Life of Wyoming President Marti Halverson and Sheridan County GOP Chairman Evan Miller were the two other contenders, and both are members of their political party’s central committee.
A total of 11 candidates were vying for the office.
Halverson received 55 votes, Miller received 52, and Allred received 43 during Saturday’s meeting.
“I have selected Mr. Allred from the candidates forwarded to me by Wyoming Republican Party Chairman Frank Eathorne,” Gordon said in his announcement, which followed interviews with the three contenders. “We will coordinate with Mr. Allred to arrange for his swearing in as soon as possible.”
Allred will replace former Secretary of State Ed Buchanan, who resigned on Sept. 15. to become a district court judge in Goshen County. Buchanan was appointed by Gordon to the 8th Judicial District seat earlier this year, and was unsuccessfully asked by Wyoming GOP leadership to remain as secretary of state until after the Nov. 8 general election.
“In our view, elections are one of the most important functions performed by the Wyoming Secretary of State,” Wyoming GOP Chairman Frank Eathorne wrote in a letter to Buchanan. “Most incoming secretaries of state have almost two years to prepare for their first general election. However, if you resign in mid-September, when there is an election six weeks later, it may be setting your appointed successor up to fail.” Buchanan and some others have said that county clerks, not the secretary of state, play a bigger role in general elections.
Allred ran for seats in the Legislature in 2010 and 2014.
He was endorsed this year by Right to Life Wyoming and rated highly by Family Policy Alliance of Wyoming and the National Rifle Association for his positions on relevant issues.
“I feel it is my duty as a father, a pops, a friend and a patriot to take a stand against the rising ideology of socialism,” he said in a biography on his campaign website. “In my travels to places like Russia, Hungary and China, I have seen firsthand how the people suffer under a socialist regime, and I do not want that for my family or friends. I believe that the Constitution is a God-inspired document meant to secure our liberties and to restrain the government.”
Allred is known for openly wearing a holstered pistol on his hip during public meetings.
He was one of several attendees open-carrying a gun inside the University of Wyoming’s convention center in violation of university policy during the Wyoming Republican Party’s 2018 annual convention.
Fellow Uinta County resident Lyle Williams was cited for violating the law during that event, but Allred was not.
Allred has identified himself as a veteran of the U.S. Army, previous peace officer, lab technician and operator in the energy industry. He served as a Wyoming state elector in 2016 and 2020.
He listed election integrity as one of his top priorities in his campaign materials.
In his new written statement, Gordon noted two of the state’s five elected constitutional officers are now unelected appointees as a result of the statutory process for replacing such officials.
Current Superintendent of Public Instruction Brian Schroeder was appointed by Gordon earlier this year after Jillian Balow resigned to take a similar position in Virginia.
Allred will serve until a new secretary of state is sworn in on Jan. 2. It is widely expected that will be state Rep. Chuck Gray of Casper, who won the Republican primary last month and faces no official challengers in the general election.