Conservative activist Ammon Bundy has dropped out of the Republican race for governor, but not the governor’s race.
Bundy, of Emmett, will instead run as an independent.
He announced his decision over Twitter Thursday, and he took a few digs at Boise radio talk show host Nate Shelman in the process.
On Wednesday, Shelman reported that Bundy and Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin had cut a deal: Bundy agreed to drop out of the GOP primary and endorse McGeachin. According to Shelman’s report, Bundy agreed to drop out of the race entirely, should McGeachin win the May GOP primary, and McGeachin agreed to endorse Bundy, should incumbent Gov. Brad Little win the primary.
Here’s the Bundy statement, in full.
There’s a lot to unwrap here, but three quick reads:
First, Bundy’s move figures to help McGeachin in the primary. Bundy and McGeachin were vying for the same subset of hardline conservatives; the same goes, really, for every Republican challenging Little. The more the field narrows, the more it likely favors McGeachin, the best-known of Little’s adversaries.
Second, by running as an independent, Bundy stays in the political picture until November. His odds of winning the GOP primary were limited, anyway.
Third, there is plenty of scorched earth here. In June, state GOP Chairman Tom Luna disavowed Bundy and his “chaotic political theater.” By describing Idaho’s GOP establishment as “full of filth and corruption,” Bundy isn’t exactly backing down.
No statement yet from the Little camp. Here are two other statements:
From McGeachin: “Today’s announcement … makes it all the more clear that there is only one viable conservative candidate in this race. I am, as I have been throughout my campaign, entirely focused on defeating Brad Little and restoring the principles of State Sovereignty, Individual Liberty, and Traditional Conservative Values in Idaho. I strongly support the Idaho Republican Platform, which so many politicians routinely ignore, and I look forward to conservatives from across the state uniting behind our campaign to Make Idaho Free Again.”
From Republican gubernatorial candidate Ed Humphreys: “After speaking to thousands of Idahoans in all corners of this state it’s clear to me that Idahoans are tired of career politicians. My team and I remain committed to offering Republicans in Idaho a choice for bold, new and energetic leadership at the top of the ticket. We have many people who attend our events who have never been involved in politics before. This gives me great hope for our future.”