Ammon Bundy Files for Idaho GOP Gov. Run but He's Banned From State Capitol

Anti-government activist Ammon Bundy has filed to run in the Republican primary for governor of Idaho despite the fact he remains banned from visiting the state capitol.

Bundy is perhaps best known for leading the 2016 occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Harney County, Oregon to protest federal control of public lands. He was arrested and faced federal charges but was later acquitted.

Bundy was banned from visiting the Idaho State Capitol in Boise for a year on August 26, 2020, after being arrested there twice in two days on charges of trespassing and resisting and obstructing officers as part of a protest while the state legislatures considered measures relating to the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Friday, Bundy filed the paperwork with the Idaho secretary of state necessary to collect donations for a gubernatorial campaign, according to The Idaho Statesman.

The state's Republican governor, Brad Little, has not announced whether he will run again in 2022, though he is eligible.

Despite his ban from Idaho State Capitol, Bundy returned there on April 8, 2021, where he was arrested twice over the course of two hours. He was initially arrested on suspicion of trespassing and removed from the building but reportedly returned after being bailed from that arrest. He was subsequently arrested a second time.

His most recent arrests mark the fourth and fifth time Bundy has been arrested in Boise since August 2020. An outstanding trespassing charge from the August incident is proceeding in court, according to the Associated Press (AP). Bundy is representing himself and he has pleaded not guilty.

Bundy was due to appear in court on the trespassing charge on May 15 along with another man, Aaron Schmidt, but they tried to enter without wearing masks as required in the Ada County Courthouse and consequently were not present when the hearing began. As a result, the judge issued a failure to appear warrant, and the two were arrested outside the courthouse.

Lt. Governor Janice McGeachin has also announced a bid for Idaho's top job. There are four other Republicans in the race - Jeff Cotton, Edward Humphreys, Lisa Marie, and Cody Usabel, according to The Oregonian. No Democrat has yet declared an intention to run in the deep red state.

McGeachin has reportedly clashed with Little over the state's COVID measures and attended a mask burning rally at the Capitol earlier this year. Little did not impose a statewide mask mandate.

"Everything that makes Idaho great is under assault and with radical leftists now controlling Congress and the White House, your governor must be on the front lines of defense every day defending our individual liberties, our state sovereignty, and our traditional conservative values," McGeachin said on May 19.

Newsweek has asked the Bundy family for comment.

Ammon Bundy Speaks to the Media
Ammon Bundy, the leader of an anti-government militia, speaks to members of the media in front of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters on January 6, 2016 near Burns, Oregon. Bundy has filed paperwork to run for governor of Idaho. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images