GOP Leaders In Idaho Have Ties To Rising Militia, Extremist Movements
According to the Idaho Statesman, right-wing extremist groups have made inroads in all levels of leadership in Idaho. From the state’s lieutenant governor to precinct chairs, a number of Republican leaders either affiliate or sympathize with militia movements.
Through interviews, acquired emails and letters, and a review of social media profiles, the Statesman determined that there are a variety of elected Idaho officials with ties to groups like the Three Percenters, the Oath Keepers and the American Redoubt movement.
Tom Luna, chairman of the Idaho Republican Party, did not respond to requests for comment, nor did many elected officials whose ties to militia groups or extremist ideologies are mentioned in this story.
- The Statesman listed off a slew of Idaho Republicans with ties to extremist movements — though one official said using the term “extremist” is part of the problem.
- Brent Regan, the Kootenai County Republican Party chairman, told the publication: “The problem is that of perspective, as the average Idahoan would consider a socialist teaching at Cornell as a far left extremist while that same professor would consider the average Idahoan an extreme right conservative. Therefore the term ‘extremest’ (sic) is not helpful in understanding regional cultural variances.”
- Others who are sympathetic to the right-wing extremist movement include Idaho Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin, who “has employed security details with Three Percenter affiliations, the Post Register reported in 2019.”
- “McGeachin was also photographed in 2019 posing with two men who held up the ‘OK’ symbol,” the Statesman reported, which those who used it said represents the Three Percenters. The symbol also has ties to the white power movement.
- "McGeachin later deleted the post and issued a statement saying 'no messages were intended' in the photograph," the publication wrote.
- The Statesman listed several other officials:
Idaho state representative Heather Scott, R-Blanchard, has expressed outward support for the Oath Keepers, even taking the oath herself. Scott did not respond to requests for comment.
Sandpoint Police Chief Corey Coon “likes” the North Idaho Militia [on Facebook], while Bonner County Commissioner Dan McDonald likes Facebook groups such as the Oath Keepers of Bonner County, Oath Keepers of Shoshone County, The real 3%ers Idaho, Liberty for all 111%, 3% of Patriot Riders, III United Patriots, and the Idaho Light Foot Militia. McDonald likes three separate pages dedicated to Redoubt.
Another Bonner County Commissioner, Steven Bradshaw, likes the Oath Keepers of Kootenai County and the Oath Keepers of Bonner County. Asked for comment, Bradshaw wrote, “If you want to report on something, how about the Governors (sic) recent overreach of powers … That would be good journalism.”
- Elected officials also spoke at an event called “Freedom is the Cure” in August, featuring the Real Three Percenters leader Eric Parker, who is running for the Idaho state Senate.
“It’s coming — win or lose,” Parker said of the 2020 election, the Times-News reported. “The history of a peaceful transition of power in America is slowly going down the drain. If you’re not prepared for that, you’re behind the curve.”
Lt. Gov. McGeachin, Idaho Rep. Tammy Nichols, R-Middleton, Rep. Christy Zito, R-Hammett, Rep. Chad Christensen, R-Ammon, Rep. Barbara Ehardt, R-Idaho Falls, and Rep. Judy Boyle, R-Midvale also spoke at the rally, according to a poster shared on Facebook.