- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 25, 2014

POWELL, Wyo. (AP) - A longtime state senator who led the effort to strip power from Wyoming Superintendent Cindy Hill has narrowly survived a censure by fellow Republicans in Park County.

A majority of GOP convention delegates voted to reprimand Sen. Hank Coe at the county party’s convention in Cody Saturday, but the resolution needed a two-thirds majority to pass. Delegates voted 32-25 in favor of censuring him, seven votes shy of the minimum needed for it to pass.

Coe, who didn’t attend, told The Powell Tribune (http://bit.ly/1fffPYC) that the vote doesn’t change anything for him.

“I’m focused on doing good things for Park County and for the state and my constituents. That’s all I care about,” he said.

Coe described the effort as coming from radicals who he says don’t represent the majority of Republicans in the county.

While many disagreed with Coe’s actions, some delegates didn’t want to see him censured or only wanted the reprimand if a supermajority supported it.

The vote came over eight hours into the meeting, after 19 voting delegates had already left.

“In my opinion, what happened was the Park County (Republican Party‘s) Central Committee said that we wanted to hold our elected officials accountable,” county party chairman Larry French said.

The censure vote follows a failed effort earlier this month to oust tea party member Bob Berry from the county GOP’s executive committee over his public opposition of Coe.

Berry’s phone number appeared in an advertisement calling for people to sign a petition asking Coe to resign over his support for the bill shifting the duties of the state’s elected superintendent of public instruction to an education director appointed by the governor.

The Wyoming Supreme Court declared the measure unconstitutional earlier this year.

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Information from: Powell (Wyo.) Tribune, http://www.powelltribune.com