CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — A Wyoming man who announced his candidacy for the U.S. Senate on Friday has posted material on Facebook in recent months denigrating Jews and expressing agreement with beliefs of Hitler and other Nazis.
Thomas Bleming, a resident of Lusk, filed papers with the state declaring he will challenge incumbent Sen. John Barrasso. R-Wyo., for his seat.
Bleming, 66, hoisted an M1 carbine at a saloon south of Cheyenne as he made his announcement. He said he believes that Barrasso has proven himself a traitor by voting in favor of the Patriot Act, which gives the government authority to search records and conduct roving wiretaps in pursuit of terrorists.
“If I was John Barrasso, I would just resign,” Bleming said to a sparse crowd of reporters and a handful of supporters. “I wouldn’t even attempt to run.”
Dan Kunsman, Barrasso’s chief of staff, said he had no response to Bleming’s statements. Kunsman said the senator will make an announcement about plans for a positive campaign later this month.
Tammy Hooper, chairman of the Wyoming Republican Party, said she didn’t know anything about Bleming other than that he had contacted the party in recent weeks to say he would run. She said the party doesn’t take sides or endorse candidates in contested primaries.
In an interview Friday, Bleming acknowledged that he wrote a Facebook post saying that Hitler and Goebbels were right about the destructiveness of Jews.
However, he said he doesn’t regard himself as a Nazi.
“I wouldn’t say so,” he said. “I’m an American.”
Bleming displayed an array of military commendations on tables in front of him. He said he’s disabled from military service that included combat in Vietnam.
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