The House District 53 seat held by Roy Edwards may not be vacant for much longer.
As reported by the Associated Press, eight individuals applied to fill the vacancy created by Edwards’ death earlier this month. Edwards died the day before the general election (County 17, Nov. 2). It was later confirmed by Edwards’ son that his father had died from complications related to COVID-19 (County 17, Nov. 16).
As required by Wyoming statute, the Campbell County Republican Central Committee sought applications from interested citizens to fill the vacancy. Applicants must be a resident of the district that Edwards represented and unlike county-wide positions (like the recent county attorney vacancy), only those central committee members who are committee men and women for Edwards’ district can vote on the three names to be advanced to the Campbell County Board of Commissioners. Commissioners make the final selection from the three names provided by the party.
The eight applicants include Chris Knapp, Tom Murphy, Thomas Rothenbuehler, Nichole Shelstad, Joshua Dillinger, Joel Marquiss, Terry Sjolin, and Kimberly Zehner.
Knapp is a former county commissioner and owner of Rocky Mountain Business Equipment.
Murphy is a former Gillette mayor, city councilman, and the owner of Total Lawn Care, LLC. Murphy challenged Edwards in the Republican primary, but lost to the incumbent Edwards (County 17, Aug. 18).
Nichole Shelstad is the wife of Commissioner Del Shelstad. At yesterday’s county commission meeting Shelstad indicated he would abstain from the selection of Edwards’ replacement.
Joshua Dillinger is a Campbell County School District art teacher who launched a website called wyomingneighbors.org in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic (County 17, Mar. 27).
Joel Marquiss was a candidate for Campbell County Commissioner earlier this year, but did not advance to the general election (County 17, Aug. 18).
Terry Sjolin was previously a candidate for Gillette City Council and sales manager for the Campbell County Conventions & Visitors Bureau.
A request for confirmation of the eight applicants from the Campbell County Republic Central Committee has not received a response. County 17 has also requested a copy of the application materials submitted by the applicants. An additional call to the Wyoming Republican Party has not been returned.
Those candidates who information was provided on above was gathered from previous County 17 reporting.