April Poley is a real estate broker and agent in Gillette, Wyoming. Lately, she’s been attracting a lot of her potential clients through a company called Conservative Move.
“Really, it’s a go-to service,” Poley said. “People come through this website. They say which states they’re interested in, and then if they mention Wyoming, it’s passed to me.”
Poley said what she’s hearing is pretty consistent: Buyers are looking for a place with high Second Amendment rights and low taxes.
“And they just feel like Wyoming could be a little less — we’re a little more where we just let people do what they want to do,” she said. “You do your thing and I’ll do mine” kind of attitudes here.”
Conservative Move is a company that helps people move to conservative places, founded in 2017 by Paul Chabot after he and his wife moved to Texas from California.
“When we arrived we realized so many people had made the trip obviously long before us, but also for the same reasons,” Chabot said. “We found out our neighbor across the street was from California, my postman was from Long Beach, California. The Home Depot guy is from Orange County.”
Chabot said he and his wife came to Texas for its conservative values and political leanings, and that’s when they came up with the idea.
“We decided to start a business based on this model of helping families move from blue states to red states, and the business literally exploded overnight,” he said.
Chabot said there are agents like April Poley in 40 states. If an agent helps someone sell their home and/or buy another in their new “red” community, Conservative Move gets a percentage of the agent’s commission.
Chabot knows that his business is not without controversy.
“People will say, ‘Well, moving is not political.’ I disagree,” he said. “And it’s not about political ideology or your orientation. It’s that everything in this world, in this country, in our cities and our states, is impacted by the political decisions made by those who are elected. “
But Zachary Taylor, who teaches political science at the University of Wyoming, said the venture could exacerbate political entrenchment.
“If you sequester any demographic, political or identity issue, it tends to make them more radical,” Taylor said.
It’s no secret that the country is very divided politically, and a service like Conservative Move reflects that. But Taylor said when we isolate ourselves from different perspectives, it becomes difficult to fight polarization.
“The further apart you go, the more you ignore that common ground, or establish that common ground as negative, the harder it becomes to bring the two parties or the two political beliefs together,” he said.
Paul Chabot of Conservative Move has a line ready.
“Look, we provide a service to anyone, we don’t ask you for your political affiliation,” he said. “But if you’re tired of left-wing politics that keep you from having the quality of life – or, more importantly, from achieving the American dream, which is owning your own land or property – then come for us, we will do everything we can.”
It’s hard to say how well this pitch works. The company does not release financial data, but Chabot said it has been profitable for three years. He estimated that his business had helped tens of thousands of families. Of course, he only makes a profit if this interaction results in the sale or purchase of a house.
Back in Wyoming, April Poley said that when she gets a call from a politically motivated buyer, she tries to give people a realistic impression of the state and points out that it’s not as seamless as some might believe.
“Maybe they’re tired of fighting and thinking, ‘Well, if we move to a place like Wyoming, we don’t have to fight politically,'” she said, adding: “I don’t really feel like that’s true.”
After all, she said there were purple, even blue, spots here.
A question about this story? Contact the journalist, Maggie Mullen, at email@example.com.
This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUER in Salt Lake City, KUNR in Nevada, the O’Connor Center For the Rocky Mountain West in Montana and KRCC. and KUNC in Colorado.