There Will Be 13 Candidates On The Ballot In November Who Want To Seize Or Sell Off Public Lands

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"There Will Be 13 Candidates On The Ballot In November Who Want To Seize Or Sell Off Public Lands"

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After a very close election that wasn’t decided until a week after polls closed, State Representative Andy Tobin (R) secured the Republican nomination for the Arizona’s competitive 1st Congressional District Tuesday, narrowly defeating two other GOP candidates by under 400 votes. Tobin, who attracted national Republican attention in the last weeks of his primary campaign, will now face Democratic Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick in November.

With his win, Tobin joins the ranks of a dozen other candidates for federal office, and several current members of Congress, who agree with outlaw Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy that America’s public lands should be seized by the states or sold off to the highest bidder for drilling, mining, and logging. Bundy, who incited a dangerous standoff with federal officials in April, notoriously refuses to acknowledge the government’s authority, including over public lands.

Tobin is one of the 20 “Bundy’s Buddies” identified in a new analysis and interactive map released Wednesday by the Center for American Progress Action Fund. The fourth and final installment in the “Bundy’s Buddies” series, the map identifies 13 candidates on ballots in November and 7 Senators not up for re-election this cycle, hailing from a total of 10 states, who share or sympathize with Cliven Bundy’s views on public lands. The map also includes each state’s top three most visited public lands and levels of consumer spending on outdoor recreation.

On a candidate questionnaire asking whether “Arizona [should] act to declare ‘its sovereign and exclusive authority and jurisdiction over the air, water, public lands, minerals, wildlife and other natural resources within its boundaries,’” State Representative Tobin stated that he “believes Arizona is better capable to manage our lands than a bureaucrat from Washington DC.” Notably, following Bundy’s standoff in April, Tobin sent a fundraising email echoing his earlier statement and sympathizing with Bundy as the “victim of overbearing government regulations.”

Other new additions to the list of “Bundy’s Buddies” include Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Rep. Raúl Labrador (R-ID). Previous installments in the series identified Bundy’s most prominent supporters, and the 15 members of Congress and federal and state candidates behind the land-seizure movement in the West.

Although a majority of Western voters oppose these unconstitutional proposals that would place a massive burden on taxpayers, more candidates like Tobin are joining the list of Bundy’s Buddies.

Claire Moser is the Research and Advocacy Associate with the Public Lands Project at the Center for American Progress. You can follow her on Twitter at @Claire_Moser.

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