New official campaign finance reports show a series of new contributions from extremists, militia members, and former Ammon Bundy supporters to Janice McGeachin’s campaign for governor in the May 17 Republican primary election. Taken together, they underscore the consolidation of the fringe elements who appear to believe that McGeachin will provide them more access and influence in the state’s highest office.
McGeachin received contributions from militia leaders Todd Engel and Eric Parker of the Idaho III%. Engel and Parker previously supported Ammon Bundy. Bundy quit the GOP primary after some of his supporters abandoned him for McGeachin.
McGeachin has apparently grown close to Engel. She was spotted on Friday, April 1, with Todd Engel at the North Idaho ranch of Idaho Freedom Foundation board chairman Brett Regan. Engel, who is running for state legislature in District 1B, remains a leader in the Idaho 3% militia and served four years in prison for his role in the armed standoff in Nevada in 2014.
Regan has made headlines for racist comments and his support for antisemite David Reilly, who ran for the Post Falls school board in 2021 and recently was involved in a secret plot to take over the local Democratic party. Reilly attended the Charlottesville white supremacist riot in 2017 and has tweeted that: “All Jews are dangerous.”
An anti-Islamic hate group called G416, whose Facebook account is led by a Horseshoe Bend man named Warren Grover is also among McGeachin’s donors. Grover has also donated personally to McGeachin. Grover has had a hand crafting anti-sharia law bills for consideration by the Idaho Legislature.
Bonners Ferry-based Lordship Church, which claims slaves were better off in chains and minimizes the number of Jews murdered during the Holocaust is also among McGeachin’s donors. Contributions to political campaigns from churches are extremely rare. According to the Inlander, Lordship is a member of the Idaho Redoubt movement and its pastor has repeatedly preached that the Bible condones forms of slavery, saying Northerners were the villains in the Civil War, that whites are victims and blacks are whiners.
According to Secretary of State reports, there was also an $88,500 donation from SMC Properties to Citizens Alliance of Idaho PAC, which until 2020 was led by Stefan Gleason. Gleason is famous in Idaho political circles for bestowing what some call “obedience scores” from the Idaho Freedom Foundation to its preferred candidates, encouraging extremism and a focus on wedge issues. Today, Clint Siegner is listed as Manager of the LLC. Idaho Freedom Foundation board member Doyle Beck has also given to this PAC. Beck is the state committeeman for the Bonneville County GOP Central Committee, which has come under fire from the Idaho Republican party for donating to Freedom Foundation-favored candidates in the primary. The state party chairman Tom Luna pointed out in a recent letter to BCCC that doing so was against the BCCC’s bylaws.
It’s very rare to see county central committees bucking the state party. Traditionally, as outlined in Chairman Luna’s letter, the Republican party has stayed impartial in primary races. For example, the Ada County Republicans (one of the largest county parties in the state) just released their voter guide which does not advocate for any specific candidate in the primary.