Senate President Dan Dockstader filed to run for Wyoming secretary of state on Tuesday, the same day that the current officeholder, Ed Buchanan, announced he would not seek a second …
Senate President Dan Dockstader filed to run for Wyoming secretary of state on Tuesday, the same day that the current officeholder, Ed Buchanan, announced he would not seek a second term.
Dockstader, a soft-spoken Republican, has been in the Legislature since 2007.
His Senate seat is not up for reelection this cycle, so if he loses the secretary of state race, he can remain at his Senate post.
According to state elections records, Dockstader filed Tuesday. He did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Buchanan’s announcement came as a surprise. He said he would run for reelection less than a month ago. Instead of pursuing a second term, Buchanan will vie to be district judge in the state’s Eighth Judicial District, he said in a statement.
The notification of that opening was not released by the Wyoming State Bar until after Buchanan had announced his reelection bid in April, according to Monique Meese, communications director for the secretary of state’s office.
“Recently, the opportunity presented itself to apply for a judicial position in my hometown of Torrington, Wyoming. While I have been so grateful for the time I have spent as the Secretary of State, it would not be appropriate for me to explore a judicial opportunity while also running for this important office,” Buchanan said in a statement. “After much prayer and contemplation, I have decided not to seek reelection as Secretary of State.”
A former lawmaker and one time House speaker, Buchanan assumed office in 2018.
As secretary of state, he oversees statewide elections, campaign finance and business entity registration, among other things.
His role as Wyoming’s top elections official has taken on new prominence amid a time of growing concern over election integrity in the state, which has increased since former President Donald Trump claimed, without evidence, that the 2020 presidential election was rigged.
Over the last several months, Buchanan traveled around Wyoming and delivered a presentation on the security of the state’s 2020 elections. He did not spare many details, getting deep into the weeds on exactly how the state’s election systems work.
Some audiences were more skeptical than others, Buchanan previously told the Star-Tribune.
Buchanan will finish out his current term while also applying for the upcoming vacancy in the Eighth Judicial District, according to his statement.
The Eighth District Court, which serves Converse, Goshen, Niobrara and Platte counties, is one of nine district courts in the state.
“Stepping away from this role has been one of the most difficult decisions of my career,” Buchanan said.
This is not the first time Buchanan has applied for a position in the judicial branch. In 2015, he sought the same district judge position he will be going for again — and was one of the top three nominees. Gov. Matt Mead ultimately went with another candidate.
Then in 2019, Buchanan applied to be a circuit court judge and was again a top-three nominee before eventually losing out to another candidate.
“Being a judge has been a goal of his legal career,” Meese said.