Ariz. man only Dem. contender in Wyo. House race
By BEN NEARY, Associated Press
Published 6:11 pm, Friday, May 30, 2014
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming Republican Rep. Cynthia Lummis drew just one Democratic opponent by Friday's registration deadline: an Arizona man who says he entered the race with no hope of winning but only to spur Wyoming Democrats to field a candidate of their own.
Richard Grayson of Apache Junction, Arizona, said Friday he's run for Congress several times before in other states. He said he's a writer who has worked as a college professor and lawyer and now divides his time between Arizona and Brooklyn.
As the clock wound down on Friday afternoon with no other Democratic candidates coming forward, Grayson expressed surprise he could have the party's congressional nomination to himself for no more effort than sending in his candidacy papers.
"I'm not going to get elected obviously," Grayson said. "Otherwise somebody from Wyoming would have run. I assume somebody else will file."
Robin Van Ausdall, director of the Wyoming Democratic Party, said Friday the situation shows it's tough for the minority party to recruit viable candidates. "I am not thrilled with it, but I also am not willing to twist somebody's arm," she said.
Grayson said he briefly lived in Wyoming in 1998, when he went to a writer's workshop in Ucross. He said he's gay, not married and has no children. Asked if he intended to campaign in Wyoming if he were the only Democrat on the ballot, he said, "I guess so, yeah."
But Grayson, who turns 63 next week, noted Wyoming is large, with the smallest population of any state, and said it would be a tough state to campaign in.
Van Ausdall said the Wyoming Democratic Party would have liked to field a strong contender in the House race, but didn't turn up the right candidate. "It's a big thing to ask of somebody to quit a job, and ask every single person they know for money and raise several million dollars for a long-shot chance," she said.
A Democrat hasn't held statewide office in Wyoming since Gov. Freudenthal ended his second term nearly four years ago. Registered Republicans outnumber Democrats statewide better than three-to-one.
"Either we run somebody who spends two years or more, raises millions and runs a perfect campaign, or we run somebody for the sake of running them," Van Ausdall said. "It's either-or; those are the options. There's no middle ground."
Lummis,one of the richest members of Congress, last month announced she's seeking re-election to a fourth term to the state's lone seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. She faces a primary challenge from Jason Senteney, a state corrections officer from Yoder.