RENO — Ryan Bundy, son of famed rogue rancher Cliven Bundy, says he plans to run for Nevada governor.
Bundy plans to officially file as an independent candidate for the position on March 14. The Nevada Independent was the first to report the news Thursday.
Bundy said Thursday he doesn't think other candidates running to replace term-limited Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval would properly protect the state's liberty.
The Mesquite resident says after he files candidacy papers in Las Vegas he'll embark on a statewide speaking tour.
Bundy’s arrival in the race would count as an unwelcome development for Republicans, since the upstart candidate will likely siphon off general election votes that might otherwise go to the winner of an upcoming GOP primary race for the governor’s seat.
The 45-year-old anti-government activist and militia movement icon could not be reached for comment by the Reno Gazette Journal on Thursday.
Bundy, like his father Cliven, first rose to prominence in 2014 amid a tense, headline-grabbing showdown with federal agents at the family’s Southern Nevada ranch.
That heavily armed standoff — the culmination of a decades-old dispute over unpaid federal grazing fees on the Bundy’s land — saw more than a dozen participants arrested and indicted on federal felony charges. The case against the Bundys was dismissed by a District Court judge in January.
Ryan Bundy added to his national profile in January 2016, when he helped lead another well-armed clash with federal authorities at the seized headquarters of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns, Ore.
The militant-led occupation, initially billed as a protest against the jailing of two area ranchers accused of arson on federal land, soon grew into an anxious 40-day faceoff with government agencies seeking to reclaim the building.
More than two dozen occupiers faced federal firearm and theft charges after the last of the militants surrendered to federal agents. Ryan Bundy, his brother Ammon and five others were charged with conspiring to impede federal workers from their jobs at the refuge.
All seven were acquitted of federal criminal charges stemming from the occupation.
Contributing: The Associated Press. Follow James DeHaven on Twitter: @JamesDeHaven