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BOISE — Though there’s still more than six months before candidates can formally file, the GOP primary for governor next year has gained yet another hopeful and is now up to at least eight, with the entry of current Bonner County Commissioner Steven Bradshaw.

Bradshaw filed his campaign treasurer notification, permitting fundraising to begin, on Wednesday and also sent out a press release, launched a campaign website, and dubbed his campaign “R.O.A.R. Idaho,” for “Restore Our American Republic.”

In his announcement, he railed against Washington, D.C.; opposed any requirements for vaccines or masks due to the COVID-19 pandemic; aimed ire at federal land management agencies and at transgender youth athletes; and said, “We will not deem patriots as ‘domestic’ terrorists, nor will we deem a political gathering an ‘insurrection.’”

Current GOP Gov. Brad Little has not yet announced his re-election plans, but he has a current campaign treasurer filing and has been fundraising. The other Republicans already in the race include current Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin; anti-government activist Ammon Bundy of Emmett; Eagle businessman Ed Humphreys; and several other hopefuls. One Democratic hopeful has announced, Melissa Sue Robinson of Nampa; and two unaffiliated candidates have filed campaign treasurer notices.

BUNDY: ‘SET ASIDE’ CAMPAIGN FOR ANTI-MASK PROTEST

On Wednesday, after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control announced new guidance advising masking in public indoor spaces for both vaccinated and unvaccinated Americans due to the fast-spreading delta variant of COVID-19, Bundy sent out an “official statement” from his gubernatorial campaign strongly objecting, claiming erroneously that “no evidence has proven that COVID passes from youth to adult,” and declaring, “If need be, I am willing to set aside the campaign banner to gather my friends once again and combat these psychopaths who hate this country and the individual liberty it fosters.”

The CDC reports on its website, “Children and adolescents can be infected with SARS-CoV-2, can get sick with COVID-19, and can spread the virus to others.”

Bundy noted that last year, after he refused to wear a mask at his son’s high school football game, the game was canceled and he was “trespassed from the property.” He’s also currently banned from the state Capitol after two trespassing arrests there last August. On July 1, Bundy was convicted by a unanimous Ada County jury of trespassing and resisting arrest.

“I spent approximately 65 hours in jail over these matters,” Bundy said in his statement. “Where were the legislators then? Where was the Lieutenant Governor? Silent!”

Though he’s running for governor, Bundy has acknowledged never having registered to vote in Idaho.

DAILY BEAST STORY FOCUSES ON MCGEACHIN, MILLER

The Daily Beast has published an extensive story about Idaho Freedom Foundation analyst Parrish Miller, headlined, “Idaho Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin Wants to Be Governor. Her Crony Keeps Talking About Killing Cops.” The article delved into frequent online posts by Miller over the years equating arrest with kidnapping, declaring, “Just remember, shooting someone who is attempting to kidnap you is ALWAYS justified,” and the like; similar posts by Miller were highlighted in two Post Register editorials in 2020.

Miller has an $800 a month contract with McGeachin’s office, paid with taxpayer funds, and also receives additional payments from the lieutenant governor’s office for professional services, web hosting and other expenses. Since McGeachin took office in 2019, according to state records, her office has paid Miller more than $26,000. The payments drew scrutiny during McGeachin’s budget hearing before lawmakers this year; Sen. Janie Ward-Engelking, D-Boise, said then, “I was concerned about the ethics of it.” The funding ended up getting approval to continue.

The Idaho Freedom Foundation is a nonprofit libertarian “think tank” that’s heavily involved in advocating for legislation and public policy in Idaho, including lobbying the Legislature; the group’s website says it “exists to advance conservative principles.” It has an arm called “Idaho Freedom Action,” a 501©(4) nonprofit that is active in political campaigns. IFF lists Miller as its “Idaho Freedom Index Analyst.”

The Daily Beast article also included this quote from Bonneville County Sheriff’s Sgt. Bryan Lovell, president of the Idaho State Fraternal Order of Police: “We are not privy to the exact nature of that relationship or what boundaries are set between Mr. Miller and the Lt. Governor, but what I can tell you is when any elected official has ties to someone who is clearly anti-law enforcement and who openly advocates for the killing of cops it naturally raises concerns and questions from our membership.”

McGeachin provided the Daily Beast with this statement: “I have been a strong and consistent supporter of law enforcement throughout my life and my political career.”

The Daily Beast is a national news website focused on politics, media and pop culture; founded in 2008 and created by former New Yorker and Vanity Fair editor Tina Brown, it is based in New York.

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Betsy Z. Russell is the Boise bureau chief and state capitol reporter for the Idaho Press and Adams Publishing Group. Follow her on Twitter at @BetsyZRussell.

This article originally ran on idahopress.com.

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