Mike Enzi has new opponent: Democrat and former Catholic priest Charlie Hardy

2014-01-21T20:00:00Z 2014-01-21T20:10:47Z Mike Enzi has new opponent: Democrat and former Catholic priest Charlie HardyBy KYLE ROERINK Star-Tribune staff writer Casper Star-Tribune Online

Former Catholic priest Charlie Hardy will run as a Democratic candidate for the 2014 U.S. Senate race in Wyoming.

Hardy is 74 years old and has never held office or won a primary election.

"He is a public servant not a politician," said Hardy’s campaign co-chair Craig Thompson. 

The unfamiliar face in Wyoming political circles will have an uphill battle taking on Sen. Mike Enzi, a Republican establishment figure who is now the lone member of the GOP in the race. Enzi's challenger in the Republican primary, Liz Cheney, dropped out of the race earlier this month.

Hardy is the first candidate from a different party to announce a candidacy against Enzi.

A Wyoming Democrat hasn't held a congressional seat for more than 30 years. It's part of the reason why there's gridlock in the Capitol, Hardy said.

"It's time for fresh ideas," he said.

He attempted to run for U.S. House in 2012 as an independent. But Hardy didn't make it onto the ballot in the race because he failed to collect the signatures of 3,740 registered voters to support him. He fell about 500 signatures short, he said.  

This time around Hardy plans on using campaign contributions to fund his campaign. He's already raised more than $5,000 and received contributions from donors in 20 other states. Enzi raise more than $800,000 between July and October, according to reports from the Federal Election Commission.

Hardy said campaign contributions won't be the deciding factor in the race.

"If it’s a question of whoever has the most money will win the election, we will not win the election," he said. "We will do a grassroots campaign with small contributions from lots of people. We need fresh leadership. If that’s what the people are looking for we have a good chance of winning."

Hardy was born and raised in Cheyenne. He preached in Rock Springs, Laramie, Casper and Cheyenne during his career. He has a master's degree in education administration from the University of Wyoming. He also worked as a missionary in Venezuela for eight years and wrote a book about his experience called "Cowboy in Caracas."

Hardy's platform will focus on providing affordable health care and putting an end to “business as usual in Wyoming politics,” Thompson said.

“Hopefully we will break out of one-party domination,” he said. “I don’t think it’s served Wyoming well.”

Now that Enzi has a new opponent he will have to balance his Washington workload with campaigning at home. It won't be a problem for him, said Enzi for Wyoming spokeswoman, Kristin Walker.

"He looks forward to continuing his campaign and having the opportunity to discuss the issues most important to the people of Wyoming in the months to come."

Copyright 2015 Casper Star-Tribune Online. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(6) Comments

  1. Pioneerpete
    Report Abuse
    Pioneerpete - January 23, 2014 9:04 am
    He has two handicaps to overcome. First of all, Wyoming does not elect Democrats to national office, even after they have won state wide office. Second, why would we want to send some ordinary person to serve in a congress filled with millionaires. The facts about campaign funds are barely relevant, though we do prefer that the expenses of running for office are raised out ot state.
  2. Pops
    Report Abuse
    Pops - January 22, 2014 9:17 am
    "Run, run, run...till your daddy takes your 'T'-bird away."
  3. side oiler
    Report Abuse
    side oiler - January 22, 2014 7:52 am
    Good luck to any Democrat trying to gain office in Wyoming,your fight against the lying,crooked RINO's will be a tough one.The fiasco over Lummis and Gary Trauner proved that.
  4. 99Savage
    Report Abuse
    99Savage - January 22, 2014 7:34 am
    Hmmm. lesee now, Pelosi and Reid are both Catholics and very much pro abortion. I wonder, where does Hardy stand? Perhaps the CST will demand immediate and complete details of his platform like they did with Cindy Hill.
  5. Morning Joe
    Report Abuse
    Morning Joe - January 22, 2014 7:11 am
    Glad to see a new hat tossed into the ring.
  6. dd ric
    Report Abuse
    dd ric - January 22, 2014 1:44 am
    It's all good! ddric
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