Ammon Bundy Is Running to Be Idaho’s Next Governor


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Mother Jones reporter Stephanie Mencimer has been following Ammon Bundy for years. He's the guy you'll remember who became a kind of folk hero on the far-right after he joined his father, rancher Cliven Bundy, in leading an armed standoff against the Bureau of Land Management in Nevada in 2014. Two years later, Ammon led the armed takeover of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge in Oregon, which left one occupier dead. Bundy went to trial twice on criminal charges related to the standoffs but federal prosecutors failed to win a conviction.

Now he’s a big-time celebrity activist and running for governor of Idaho. Shortly before the pandemic started, he created what has been dubbed “Uber for militias”—a kind of network that can summon armed protesters for all sorts of far-right gatherings, including anti-mask and anti-vaccine protests during the pandemic.

He’s a messianic figure, and Mencimer wanted to understand what the appeal was. She found a complicated and very-American story about violence, religion, and public lands battles in the West. This in-depth profile was published in Mother Jones earlier this year, and reproduced in read-aloud form here by our partners at Audm.