Center for American Progress Action

RELEASE: New Installment in ‘Bundy’s Buddies’ Series Identifies Candidates in Competitive Elections in the West Who Want to Seize or Sell Off U.S. Public Lands
Press Release

RELEASE: New Installment in ‘Bundy’s Buddies’ Series Identifies Candidates in Competitive Elections in the West Who Want to Seize or Sell Off U.S. Public Lands

Washington, D.C. — Today, the Center for American Progress Action Fund released the third installment in a series that examines the growing fringe of right-wing politicians and organizations who share Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy’s views about public lands and believe that those lands should be either seized by the states or sold off to the highest bidder.

The analysis, which focuses on competitive 2014 elections in the American West, identifies four nonincumbent candidates who have recently won their party’s nomination and whose views on federal lands and federal authority are similar to those of Bundy.

“As this election season takes shape, we are seeing an emerging fringe of politicians who are running on the radical argument that public lands should be sold off or seized by the states,” said Matt Lee-Ashley, Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress Action Fund. “But standing with Cliven Bundy means standing well outside the mainstream of Western values. Most Americans believe we should be honoring our commitment to our parks and public lands, not selling them off to the highest bidder.”

The four “Bundy’s Buddies” candidates identified in today’s column include:

  • Clackamas County Commissioner Tootie Smith (R), the challenger for Oregon’s 5th Congressional District seat who continues to vocalize her support of removing public lands from federal control
  • Former Saratoga Springs Mayor Mia Love, a “highly touted Republican recruit” running for Utah’s open 4th Congressional District seat, who has affirmed her support for state seizure of federal lands
  • State Sen. Mark Hutchison (R), a candidate running for lieutenant governor in a race that could be the “most expensive in Nevada’s history”
  • State Rep. Lawerence Denney, the current co-chair of Idaho’s Federal Lands Interim Committee and the Republican candidate for Idaho secretary of state, who is continuing to promote efforts to seize public lands

Today’s report also profiles upcoming primaries in several states in the American West where Bundy’s Buddies are running for office.

Despite the growing list of Bundy’s Buddies on the ballot in November, these views continue to be out of the mainstream public sentiment in the American West. Recent public opinion research by the Colorado College State of the Rockies Project shows that Westerners deeply value their public lands and are less likely to vote for a candidate who supports selling public lands to reduce the deficit. The poll found that nearly three in four respondents said they would be less likely to vote for a candidate who wants to sell public lands to reduce the deficit.

The previous two installments in the series and the new website, BundysBuddies.com—launched recently by the Center for Western Priorities—provide an in-depth look at Bundy’s most prominent supporters and 15 members of Congress behind the land-seizure movement in the West.

Read the latest from Bundy’s Buddies:

For more information or to speak to an expert on this topic, contact Tom Caiazza at 202.481.7141 or tcaiazza@americanprogressaction.org.

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