Idaho Republican gubernatorial candidate Ammon Bundy claimed America was under attack from an "invasive species" that must be destroyed in a video posted online a few weeks before he declared his candidacy over the weekend.
Bundy, a notorious anti-government militant, formally kicked off his gubernatorial campaign on Saturday, June 19. He joins seven other candidates who are already in the race, including Lieutenant Gov. Janice McGeachin, who has ties to the extremist Three Percenters militia group, members of which were arrested at the U.S. Capitol on January 6.
Current governor Brad Little (R) has not announced his reelection plans for what is likely to continue to be a Republican-held seat.In a video streamed online May 27, Bundy walked through an apple orchard on his property and noted that the trees were infested with an invasive species.
"What's happening in my orchard is what's happening in our country, and if we don't get serious about destroying the invasive specie[s], it's already doing terrible damage to our orchard or to our country," said Bundy.While Bundy did not specify to what he was comparing the invasive species, he has a long history of criticizing the federal government for overreach and supposedly violating the Constitution — something he has described as "tyranny."
"We can not afford to have state leadership that lets the federal government bully us, or walk all over us," he wrote on his official campaign site. "... Because we know that the Federal Government under Joe Biden and the existing establishment will continue their onslaught against the people, and we simply can't afford to have leadership in our state back down, and comply with federal tyranny."
In the announcement for his gubernatorial campaign, Bundy accused President Joe Biden once again of being the puppet of a "Deep State" that "control[s] him."
Bundy has a long history of anti-government activity, including being involved in multiple standoffs, some of them armed.
In 2014, Bundy was a part of the standoff between the federal government and his father, rancher Cliven Bundy. The Bundy family claimed that the Bureau of Land Management did not have the right to stop them from grazing their cattle on publicly owned land without permit; the government, as a result, attempted to confiscate the cattle but were blocked by armed protesters and later charged Bundy and his father with conspiracy against the United States. Those charges against were later thrown out after a federal judge declared a mistrial, citing misconduct by the federal government.
In his gubernatorial campaign announcement, Bundy defended the 2014 standoff, describing it as "fighting back" against "federal tyranny."
In 2016, Bundy led an armed group of anti-government extremists who occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon. The standoff lasted for 40 days until Bundy and his allies were arrested. One of the men who helped Bundy to take over the facility, Robert "LaVoy" Finicum, was shot and killed by federal authorities during the standoff. Bundy was later acquitted in a federal case stemming from the occupation.
Bundy has also protested several bills at the state level to implement COVID-19 safety measures. In August 2020, he was arrested for trespassing when he entered the Idaho State Capitol and refused to leave despite police orders. Bundy and others were there that day to protest legislation including a mask mandate, which was intended to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Bundy was removed from the building a second time, one day later, while strapped to an office chair, with police claiming he had been uncooperative.
After the incident he was barred from entering the Capitol for a year.
On his campaign site, Bundy denounced the state's handling of the pandemic, claiming Gov. Brad Little "took Idaho down a socialistic path, introducing over 25 executive orders with nearly every one of them having unconstitutional elements that violated peoples rights and destroyed people's lives."
"No Governor has the Constitutional authority to shut down businesses and prevent trade or commerce, nor to designate some businesses as essential while others are non-essential. It is simply unconstitutional," he wrote. "... I have been fighting against unconstitutional overreach since the beginning of this so called crisis ... This insanity has got to stop—but fortunately in Idaho, this insanity will never begin because I will not allow it."
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.