By 1935, Roosevelt's programs were provoking strong opposition. Many conservatives regarded his programs as infringements on the rights of the individual, while a growing number of critics argued that they did not go far enough. Two figures stepped forward to challenge Roosevelt: Huey Long, a Louisiana senator and Father Charles Coughlin, a Catholic priest from Detroit. .
Huey Long was Governor of Louisiana from 1928 to 1932 and was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1930. Ambitious, endowed with supernatural energy, and totally devoid of scruples, Long was a fiery, spellbinding orator in the tradition of southern populism. As governor and then U.S. senator, he ruled Louisiana with an iron hand, keeping a private army equipped with sub-machine guns and a "deduct box," where he kept funds deducted from state employees' salaries. Yet the people of Louisiana loved him because he attacked the big oil companies, increased state spending on public works, and improved public schools. Although he backed Roosevelt in 1932, Long quickly abandoned the president and opposed the New Deal as too conservative. Long championed the "little man" against the rich and privileged (Williams). .
A farm boy from the piney woods of North Louisiana, he was colorful, charismatic, and controversial. By playing up his country origins and ridiculing the rich, he became a popular legend. He even went so far as to give himself the nickname "Kingfish" because, he said, "I'm a small fish here in Washington. But I'm the Kingfish to the folks down in Louisiana" (Graham 216).
Early in 1934 Long announced his "Share Our Wealth" program. Vowing to make "Every Man a King," he promised to soak the rich by limiting private fortunes to $50 million, legacies to $5 million, and annual incomes to $1 million. The confiscated funds, in turn, would be distributed to the people, guaranteeing every American family an annual income of no less than $2,000, in Long's words more than enough to buy "a radio, a car, and a home.