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It’s another messy chapter in Idaho’s 2022 Republican gubernatorial primary, the only one in the nation in which a sitting governor is being challenged by a lieutenant governor of his own party.

What’s happening here isn’t simply about an overly ambitious second-in-command. In a deeply conservative state that’s a proving ground for feuding factions in former President Donald Trump’s GOP, the primary revolves around a derivative of Trumpism — resistance to coronavirus-related mandates and restrictions.

“Our party is struggling with its identity. It’s going to come to an ugly head,” said Kay Lynn Smith, the GOP chair in rural Butte County.

“We are so bipolar right now. We are one of the big strongholds for the ultra-conservatives and they’re looking to make this their kingdom,” she said. “Moderates and a lot of the people who had the money and the power are aging out and losing interest. They’re not interested in supporting a party with radicals.”

In Idaho, as in a handful of other states, the governor and lieutenant governor don’t run on the same ticket — they are separately elected. Little hails from an older establishment line of Idaho Republicans. McGeachin, by contrast, flourished as a new tea party conservative and gained more influence with the rise of Trump-era conservative populism, which went into overdrive during the pandemic.

By at least two key metrics, Idaho was a pandemic success story under Little: It has the sixth-lowest unemployment rate in the nation and ranks 41st in Covid death rate. With the good economy and Republicans largely in lockstep about low taxes, gun rights and fewer regulations, McGeachin’s campaign has instead centered around mask mandates, appeals to personal freedom and bashing the federal government — even when she benefited from coronavirus relief money.

Early on in the pandemic, McGeachin spoke at rallies protesting the governor’s brief stay-at-home order issued in the spring of 2020.

“The tension between the governor and the lieutenant governor is to be expected because they are of completely different political persuasions,” said Dean Mortimer, a Republican and former state senator and representative. “So we got a conservative lieutenant governor and a middle-of-the-road governor and there is going to be a difference of opinion.”

China Gum, who advised former GOP Rep. Raul Labrador’s 2018 gubernatorial campaign against Little, said the governor opened himself to a primary challenge because of what many conservatives saw as a heavy-handed approach to the pandemic. McGeachin, she said, is more of an heir to the brand of conservative politics practiced by the tea party, Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, whose laissez-faire approach toward keeping Florida open contrasted with Little’s policies in Idaho.

“A lot of people were saying he’s not DeSantis enough … DeSantis is a lot more symbolic of what Idaho Republicans want,” Gum said. “I don’t understand why Brad Little has been more California in his approach, more shut-down on this issue.”

DeSantis was the first governor in the nation to essentially ban local governments from implementing mask mandates, which McGeachin highlighted when she issued her short-lived mandate once Little stepped out of state. Local conservatives loved it.

“Half the party or more is on the DeSantis train. We would like a DeSantis,” said Boise County GOP Chair Eric McGilp.

Rebecca Crea, the GOP chair in Lewis County, said there’s a feeling among many in the party that Little was too strict with pandemic restrictions. She said Little was a RINO (Republican in Name Only) who won his office in 2018 thanks to slick ads and a crowded GOP primary that siphoned votes from the more conservative candidate, Labrador. Little beat Labrador in the primary by 37-33 percent.

“People are paying attention now,” she said. “You had people not paying attention [in 2018] and they vote for people simply because they have a cowboy hat, and Little is a rancher … We want him to be more of a governor than he is. Janice has been for the people all the time. She’s on the ground. She knows the people. And everyone loves her.”

An adviser to Little, who did not want to publicly weigh in on the divisive primary, said the governor’s team believes he’ll win because McGeachin represents a vocal minority. But the primary revealed how politics are changing in the state.

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“Everybody says, ‘oh, it’s about the economy, about the economy, about the economy.’ Sure. But it looks as if the Republican Party is moving away from economic issues, because in a place like Idaho, it’s already so strong,” the adviser said. “So where do you go next? I mean, there’s been critical race theory discussions here in Idaho, discussions about diversity programs in Idaho. The conversations are starting to change in this Republican primary. The litmus test is no longer, ‘did you vote for a tax increase? Are you Pro Life? Are you Pro Gun?’”

McGeachin isn’t Little’s only challenger on the right — her message is amplified by anti-government activist Ammon Bundy, a vigorous opponent of Little’s stay-at-home order and other Covid-related legislation.

Bundy gained a following after a 2016 standoff with federal agents at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge and last year zip-tied himself to an office chair during a protest of coronavirus restrictions at the Idaho state Capitol. Police promptly wheeled him out; he has been banned him from the building for a year.

The state Republican Party has disavowed Bundy as too extreme, saying in a statement “we do not support his antics or his chaotic political theater.”

In a state with a robust militia movement, McGeachin has her own ties to radicals — and, indirectly, Bundy. In February 2019, she signaled support for a state Capitol rally organized by the Real III Percent of Idaho militia group protesting the conviction of a Bundy associate.

McGeachin was photographed making a heart symbol with her hands as she was flanked by two militia members flashing an “OK” hand symbol that some associate with code for “white power.” She posted the photo on her Facebook page but then took it down and issued a statement disavowing racism.

More than a month later at another militia rally, McGeachin administered an impromptu oath of office to members of the Real lll Percent of Idaho Militia that’s usually used to swear in a member of the state’s National Guard. At the time, Gov. Little was traveling out of state, leaving her in charge. McGeachin again took advantage of Little’s absence to issue the mask rule when he traveled to a Republican Governors Association meeting in Tennessee.

“The tension between some legislators and the governor has been there for a while,” said state Sen. Mark Harris, the Republican caucus chair, who worries about further division in the party as the primary races continue.

“It seems in years past if Republicans had a Republican governor, they came in and supported him,” Harris said. “This year is different in the fact that we have had a Republican lieutenant governor that has announced that she is going to run against the sitting Republican governor. And there is going to be a split in the party.”

Dan Cravens, GOP chair in Eastern Idaho’s Bingham County, pointed out that Idaho has had a recent history of far-right candidates, notably Rex Rammell, who won about one-quarter of the GOP gubernatorial primary vote in 2010 after touring the state with a giant inflatable dinosaur — designed to symbolize his intent to “take a bite out of the federal government.” He became politically active following a confrontation with state officials.

“There’s a greater populism and a greater activism in the party than in the last few years,” Craven said. “We have a profound split in Idaho. It’s our constant battle within the Republican Party between one faction and another.”

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DHS is concerned about Trump reinstatement conspiracy theory, top official says

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Cohen replied that DHS is not aware of any specific, credible threats of violence linked to the conspiracy theory about Trump being reinstated. But he added that DHS is following discussion of the topic online among extremist communities. And he said department officials are highly concerned about it because it fuels the false narrative that the election was rigged — a narrative that may trigger a violent response from extremists.

The briefing’s topic was domestic terrorism. But Cohen also fielded a significant number of questions from members about violent crime, which has surged in 2020 and 2021. Cohen said DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has directed officials there to look at factors fueling the violence that fall in the department’s mission. And earlier this week, the Biden administration rolled out a strategy to combat violent crime.

Conspiracy theorists –– notably including Mike Lindell, the pillow magnate who appears frequently in commercials on Fox News — have claimed in recent months that Trump will be reinstated as president in August, The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman and National Review reported earlier this month that Trump himself has told acquaintances he expects to be reinstated as president by the end of the summer. Lindell told The Daily Beast that Trump probably reached that conclusion because he has been promoting it. Commentator Charlie Sykes wrote for MSNBC that the August date is “based on guesswork and conspiratorial theories tied to nonexistent election fraud in Arizona and a delusional hope that the Supreme Court will invalidate the election.”

“If Trump is saying August, that is probably because he heard me say it publicly,” Lindell said.

And Sidney Powell, who did legal work for Trump as he tried to overturn the 2020 election results, told a QAnon conference earlier this year that he “can simply be reinstated.”

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A Morning Consult/POLITICO survey from earlier this month showed that almost one-third of Republican voters have bought into the conspiracy theory. It traffics in the same themes of election-rigging that fueled the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Republican members of Congress blocked an effort to establish a 9/11-style commission to investigate that attack. So this morning, Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that she will set up a select committee to probe the event.

Meanwhile, the Biden administration has made combating domestic terrorism a priority. The White House released a strategy document earlier this month detailing their approach to the problem. And the Department of Homeland Security has set up a dedicated team of intelligence analysts focused exclusively on the topic. But the work has generated concerns among civil liberties advocates, who say they worry about expanded government surveillance of activity the First Amendment protects — along with potential disparate impacts on marginalized communities.



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CAN’T MAKE THIS UP: AOC Says Humans Can Save the Earth with Unionized Tree Planters

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AOC EXPLODES: AOC Says Netanyahu ‘Banning’ Anti-Israeli Reps Because They’re ‘Muslim Women’

posted by Hannity Staff – 8.15.19

Controversial Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez erupted on social media following the Israeli Prime Minister’s decision to block entry to Reps. Tlaib and Omar Thursday; suggesting Netanyahu’s decision was rooted in Islamophobia.

“[Members of Congress] are frequently asked to visit Israel to ‘see things for ourselves.’ But Netanyahu choosing to ban the only 2 Muslim women in Congress from entering tells the US that only *some* Americans are welcome to Israel, not all. Trump is exporting his bigotry &making matters worse,” posted Ocasio-Cortez on Twitter.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denied access to the country for Representatives Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib Thursday; saying they routinely “deny Israel’s legitimacy” and call for a boycott against the Jewish State.

Read his full statement below:

No country in the world respects America and the American Congress more than the State of Israel. As a free and vibrant democracy, Israel is open to critics and criticism with one exception: Israeli law prohibits the entry into Israel of those who call for and work to impose boycotts on Israel, as do other democracies that prohibit the entry of people who seek to harm the country.

In fact, in the past the US did this to an Israeli member of Knesset, as well as to other public figures from around the world. Congresswomen Tlaib and Omar are leading activists in promoting the legislation of boycotts against Israel in the American Congress.

Only a few days ago, we received their itinerary for their visit in Israel, which revealed that they planned a visit whose sole objective is to strengthen the boycott against us and deny Israel’s legitimacy.

For instance: they listed the destination of their trip as Palestine and not Israel, and unlike all Democratic and Republican members of Congress who have visited Israel, they did not request to meet any Israeli officials, either from the government or the opposition.

A week ago, Israel warmly welcomed some 70 Democratic and Republican members of Congress, who expressed broad bipartisan support for Israel, which was also demonstrated a month ago in a resounding bipartisan vote against BDS in Congress.

However, the itinerary of the two Congresswomen reveals that the sole purpose of their visit is to harm Israel and increase incitement against it.

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In addition, the organization that is funding their trip is Miftah, which is an avid supporter of BDS, and among whose members are those who have expressed support for terrorism against Israel.

Therefore, the minister of interior has decided not to allow their visit, and I, as prime minister, support his decision.

Nonetheless, if Congresswoman Tlaib submits a humanitarian request to visit her relatives, the minister of interior has announced that he will consider her request on the condition that she pledges not to act to promote boycotts against Israel during her visit.

AOC EXPLODES: Cortez Says She ‘Doesn’t Care Anymore’, Screams ‘I’m the Boss’ on Climate Change

posted by Hannity Staff – 2.25.19

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez continued to deflect criticism of her ‘Green New Deal’ over the weekend; repeatedly yelling “I’m the boss” when it comes to climate-change policy and future legislation.

“You know what? I don’t care anymore. Again, I’m at least trying and they’re not. The power is in the person who’s trying regardless of the success. If you’re trying you’ve got all the power,” claimed Cortez.

“I just introduced ‘Green New Deal’ two weeks ago and it’s creating all of this conversation. Why? Because no one else has even tried… You try, you do it. Because you’re not. Until you do it, I’m the boss. How about that?” she yelled.



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REP. BOEBERT: ‘President Biden Should Have a Cognitive Test’

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BIDEN on ???: ‘What Kind of Country Are We Going to Be with 4 More Years of George??’

posted by Hannity Staff – 10.26.20

Former Vice President Joe Biden continued his gaffe-filled basement campaign over the weekend; apparently warning the country of the dangers posed by “four more years” of “George.”

“What kind of country are we going to be?” asked Biden alongside his wife Dr. Jill Biden. “Four more years of George, uh, he uh, we’re going to find ourselves in a position where that if Trump is gets elected we’re going to be in a different world!”

 

Watch Biden’s bizarre comments above.

BIDEN on ???: ‘You Know… The Rapidly Rising, uh, um, In With uh… I Don’t Know…

posted by Hannity Staff – 6.15.20

Former Vice President Joe Biden continued his gaffe-filled campaign this week; launching an incoherent rant about something “rapidly rising” before admitting “I don’t know.”

“You know, the rapidly rising, uh, um, uh, in with uh, with uh, I don’t know, uh,” Biden told reporters.

Watch the bizarre moment above.



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