Ammon Bundy, the anti-government activist who led the armed takeover of a national wildlife refuge in 2016, announced Saturday he his running for governor of Idaho.
“I’m running for Governor because I’m sick and tired of all of this political garbage just like you are,” Bundy, who is running as a Republican, said in a campaign announcement video.
“Joe Biden and those in the Deep State that control him, will simply not be able to help themselves — they are going to try to take away our gun rights, freedom of religion, parental rights, and more — and further violate the Constitution in unimaginable ways — even more than they’ve already done,” he continued.
Bundy, 45, is best known for his role in multiple armed confrontations with the US government, which he alluded to in his announcement video, saying his family knows what it’s like “when the federal government unlawfully attacks the people.”
Bundy also has two misdemeanor trespassing charges against him in Idaho for visits to the statehouse in protest of COVID-19 legislation. On one occasion, when he would not leave the building, police used an office chair to wheel him out while in handcuffs, the Idaho Press reported. In August 2020, police barred Bundy from visiting the Capitol for one year.
In 2016, Bundy led a militia in the takeover and occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, managed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, in eastern Oregon.
The occupation, which lasted more than a month, was in part a protest over the federal government’s control of public lands. At the time Bundy said the armed group, which media estimates said was up to 30 people, would not leave until the federally run land was transferred to local property owners.
After weeks of negotiations, the Federal Bureau of Investigation was able to retake the refuge. More than two dozen militants were charged, and one, Robert Finicum, was killed by police. Bundy was arrested and charged but later acquitted of all charges.
It was not the first time the Bundy family made national headlines. In 2014, they took part in an armed standoff at the Nevada ranch owned by Cliven Bundy, Ammon Bundy’s father.
Cliven Bundy had spent years fighting the Bureau of Land Management and was ordered to pay the agency more than $1 million in unpaid grazing fees. After he refused to pay, BLM officials came to round up Cliven Bundy’s cattle that were illegally grazing on federal land.
It resulted in an armed standoff between federal agents and the Bundys and supporters of the family’s cause. The Bundys were charged with conspiracy against federal agents, among other things, though the case ended with a mistrial.
Federal prosecutors expressed interest in revisiting the case last year, NPR reported.