Democrat, ex-priest enters Senate race

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - Charlie Hardy, a former Catholic priest, says he will run as a Democrat in the 2014 U.S. Senate race in Wyoming.

Hardy is the first non-Republican to announce a challenge against GOP Sen. Mike Enzi, the Star-Tribune reported Wednesday (http://bit.ly/1dUtk2p).

The 74-year-old Hardy has never held office. He ran as an independent in 2012 against Republican Rep. Cynthia Lummis, but didn’t make it onto the ballot because he didn’t collect the signatures of 3,740 registered voters needed to support him.

Enzi has an estimated $1.8 million war chest after Liz Cheney abandoned her bid.

A Wyoming Democrat hasn’t held a congressional seat in more than 30 years.

Hardy’s platform will focus on affordable health care, said his campaign co-chair, Craig Thompson.

“It’s time for fresh ideas,” Hardy said.

Hardy has raised more than $5,000 and received contributions from donors in 20 other states.

“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 said.

A Cheyenne native, Hardy has a master’s degree in education administration from the University of Wyoming. He preached in Rock Springs, Laramie, Casper and Cheyenne, and also worked as a missionary in Venezuela.

Kristin Walker, an Enzi for Wyoming spokeswoman, said the incumbent “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.”

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Information from: Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune, http://www.trib.com

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Information from: Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune, http://www.trib.com

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