There will be a battle between two Laramie Democrats to determine who will run for Rep. Liz Cheney’s U.S. House seat in November.
Greg Hunter, a Laramie-based consultant, announced he will run for the Democratic nomination for the seat. He will face Laramie attorney Travis Helm in the August primary for the seat.
Cheney will face two challengers in the Republican primary: Buford’s Rod Miller and Cheyenne’s Blake Stanley.
Hunter specializes in public lands and water consulting, his campaign manager, Aidan Adams, said Wednesday. He’s been in Wyoming since 2002, and previously worked for a Washington D.C.-based consultant. Hunter now has his own firm and consults for a number of federal agencies, Adams said.
Hunter’s priorities include health care, public lands and public education. He supports expanding Medicaid and, ultimately, instituting a “Medicare for all” system nationally. That plan generally involves removing the age limit on who qualifies for Medicare.
The idea — an ambitious attempt to completely reorganize America’s health care system — has been supported most prominently by Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Vermont Independent and 2016 candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination. His “Medicare for all” bill was introduced late last summer but, in a Republican-controlled Congress, has gone nowhere.
Hunter, who was not available for comment Wednesday, would also advocate for better education spending, Adams said. Adams acknowledged that the current education funding crisis in Wyoming is one only the state can solve but added that Hunter would work for better funding and grants at the federal level.
Hunter, whose website touts him as a product of public schools, is not in support of charter schools, Adams said. There are very few of these institutions in Wyoming: Two years ago, Natrona County’s school board rejected a charter school proposal.
Elsewhere, Hunter does not support a ban on assault weapons or any firearm. He’s “really passionate about ... the Second Amendment,” Adams said, but would support more stringent requirements for those who want to purchase AR-15s, for instance. Adams highlighted the language of the Second Amendment, particularly the “well-regulated” provision.
“What we need to do federally ... is treat the gun industry and handle guns as they do in the military,” he said. “We don’t hand out AR-15s to first-year recruits.”
He added that Hunter would support a list that would bar certain people from purchasing firearms.
“When it comes to things like No Fly, No Buy,” Adams said, referring to a bill that would block people on the so-called “No Fly” list from purchasing firearms, “we don’t want weapons falling into the hands of terrorists or folks who shouldn’t have them.”
In 2002, Hunter ran for the U.S. House in Ohio as a Republican. Adams said in a follow-up email that Hunter switched parties after the 2003 invasion of Iraq “demonstrated to him that the GOP was no longer Eisenhower’s party of progressive taxation, supporting unions and workers, and defending programs like Social Security and Medicare.”
Both Hunter and Helm, his opponent for the Democratic nomination, are former Republicans who say they were turned away from the GOP by the invasion of Iraq.
In an interview with the Wyoming Tribune Eagle, Helm called Hillary Clinton, who lost to Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election, a “garbage candidate.” Adams blasted that comment, suggesting Helm demeaned the Democratic Party “to score cheap political points.” Hunter was running to help unite the party and the state, Adams said.
As for Cheney, who Hunter will likely face if he beats Helm in August, Adams said the congresswoman was “out of step with the common person.”
“He was really disgusted by what was clearly the U.S. being led down a rabbit hole by the Bush administration and mainly Dick Cheney on information that was not entirely accurate,” Adams said of Hunter and the Iraq War. “The same ideology is coming out of Liz Cheney.”
“Greg is running to let Wyoming voters know that there is an alternative,” he continued.