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States' rights rancher Ryan Bundy to run for Nevada governor

By Keith Coffman

March 8 (Reuters) - Ryan Bundy, who was at the forefront of
two armed confrontations between right-wing militia activists
and the U.S. government over the past four years, said on
Thursday he planned to run for Nevada governor on a states'
rights platform.

Bundy, 45, said in a telephone interview he would mount a
petition drive to qualify for the November ballot as an
independent candidate, and canvass the state to gather support
in "face-to-face conversations" with voters.

"I intend to secure the sovereignty of the state of Nevada
and its land and resources for the people of Nevada," he said.

He did not elaborate. But his rhetoric echoed a conservative
political movement known as the "sagebrush rebellion" that has
called for the U.S. government to relinquish control of vast
federal land holdings within several Western states.

Nevada's Republican governor, Brian Sandoval, is barred
under state law from seeking a third term.

Bundy's father, Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, became a hero
of Western states' rights advocates in 2014 after his refusal to
pay grazing fees he owed the federal government, prompting the
court-ordered confiscation of Bundy's cattle.

Hundreds of supporters rallied to his cause, leading to an
armed standoff near Bunkerville, Nevada, about 75 miles
northeast of Las Vegas. Government agents and police, vastly
outgunned, ultimately retreated rather than risk bloodshed.

Cliven Bundy, his sons Ryan and Ammon, and militia member
Ryan Payne were all criminally charged as conspirators in the
case, but a mistrial was declared in December 2017. The judge
later dismissed the charges, citing prosecutorial misconduct.

In 2016, Ryan and Ammon Bundy were acquitted by a federal
court jury in a separate case stemming from their roles in an
armed takeover earlier that year of a federal wildlife refuge in

Ryan Bundy, who lives in the town of Mesquite, Nevada, near
the Arizona border, where he ranches and works in construction,
said he would file his campaign petition next week.

Under Nevada law, a candidate unaffiliated with either major
party must gather 250 signatures of registered voters by June 1
to qualify for the ballot.

Bundy said he was aware he may draw votes way from the
Republican nominee, possibly boosting the chances of a liberal
Democrat getting elected.

"I can't be concerned about that, this is about principles,"
he said, adding that both major parties had failed to uphold the
rights of Nevada's citizens.
(Reporting by Keith Coffman in Denver; Editing by Steve Gorman
and Peter Cooney)

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