A man raised in Wyoming who spent 30 years with the U.S. Army is returning to his hometown to run for Congress.
Everett “Denton” Knapp told Cowboy State Daily he will be arriving in Gillette on Tuesday to begin the process of becoming a Wyoming resident so he can challenge U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney in her re-election bid.
“I’ll be getting my beautiful bucking horse license back,” he said. “I am not wasting time. It’s time to come home.”
Knapp, who currently lives in Orange County, California, said one of the issues he will run on is dissatisfaction with recent votes and statements by Cheney, including her vote to impeach former President Donald Trump.
“It means something when you see your state is represented by elected officials who do not follow what their constituents want,” he said. “I feel Wyoming has lost trust in our elected official and I think the nation has lost some trust in the election process and I want to get that back.”
The retired colonel stressed he has been a “longtime fan” of the Cheney family.
Knapp said as a member of Congress, he would also focus on things that are “broken” in the federal government, such as the immigration system.
“I understand what immigration means and what the process is,” said Knapp, who added his own mother was from Japan and became a naturalized citizen after much hard work. “And there has to be a process.”
Knapp was raised in Gillette and won an appointment to West Point, which began his 30-year career in the U.S. Army. He was nominated for the school by former U.S. Rep. Dick Cheney, along with Cheney’s colleagues U.S. Sens. Al Simpson and Malcom Wallop.
Knapp went on to serve around the country and the globe for 30 years, including multiple combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. He retired as a colonel in 2017 and moved with his wife Heather to California so the two could be with their family.
For the last several years, Knapp has served in the California State Guard and has served as the director of veteran services for Goodwill Industries of Orange County.
Knapp said he has kept abreast of Wyoming’s issues and challenges with regular visits to the state to see his parents and brother, Christopher Knapp, who is a member of the state House of Representatives.
“I’ve not lived there, but I’ve paid attention to what’s going on,” he said. “Because I am a Wyomingite, I stayed a Wyomingite. I’ve been brown and gold my whole life.”
Knapp, the seventh candidate for Wyoming’s lone U.S. House seat, admitted he is entering the 2022 primary race a little behind some of the other candidates.
“I’m a fast learner,” he said. “I’ve got some catching up to do.”
He added he plans to attend this weekend’s meeting of the Wyoming Republican Party’s Central Committee in Cody.
Knapp said he would like to discuss the race with the other candidates challenging Cheney for the party’s nomination in 2022.
“We’ve got some months here, we have to figure out as a group of candidates what is best for the state,” he said. “If what’s best for the state is to defeat the incumbent, then we have to communicate with each other and not sabotage our efforts to take care of the Wyoming people.”
Darin Smith, a Cheyenne attorney and businessman, announced last week he will run for the office.
Other candidates include state Sen. Anthony Bouchard, R-Cheyenne, and state Rep. Chuck Gray, R-Casper.