The Most Bitter Political Feuds In Wyoming History
Mark Gordon isn't the first Wyoming Governor to cuss out a political rival. Like Gordon and Cheyenne Mayor Marian Orr, Joseph Carey and F.E. Warren were both Republicans, they shared common political beliefs, and they hated each other's guts.
In 1881, Carey was elected as Mayor of Cheyenne. In 1885, Warren replaced Carey as Mayor. What began as a rivalry for influence and power eventually turned into a bitter feud that lasted for decades. When a Warren-led faction within the party helped to deny him the Republican nomination for Governor in 1910, Carey defected to the Democratic Party and won. They remained political and personal adversaries until Carey died in 1924 at the age of 79.
Another infamous political feud came to a head in 1913, when the Republican Speaker of the Wyoming House of Representatives Martin Luther Pratt was challenged by House Democrat William Wood. After trading verbal jabs, the showdown turned physical when Pratt shoved Wood off his chair. A fistfight ensued and quickly escalated into an all-out brawl as members of both parties traded punches for nearly 45 minutes. The melee finally ended when one legislator took a photograph from the wall and smashed it over his opponent's head.
In recent years, two family feuds have made national headlines. When Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney unsuccessfully ran for Senate in 2014, she was involved in a public spat with her sister Mary, who criticized her stance against same-sex marriage.
In 2018, six members of the Gosar family from Pinedale spoke out against their brother Paul, now a conservative Congressman in Arizona. In the ad "A Family Defends Their Honor", Tim, Jennifer, Gaston, Joan, Grace, and David Gosar endorsed their brother's opponent in the race for Arizona's 4th district. The video was filmed in the state, including one segment at the University of Wyoming's War Memorial Stadium.
No political feud in Wyoming history was bloodier than the battle between the Wyoming Stock Growers Association and ranchers in the Powder River Basin. The prominent group of cattle barons yielded power and influence, enlisting hired gunman to wage a range war against homesteaders in the region. The Johnson County War continued for several years before President Benjamin Harrison finally ordered the United States Cavalry to intervene.