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Noted anti-government activist Ammon Bundy running for governor of Idaho

Bundy is currently banned from entering Idaho Capitol grounds.
Ammon Bundy
Ammon Bundy, in 2018.Kelsey Grey / Idaho Statesman via AP file

Anti-government provocateur Ammon Bundy filed papers to run for governor in Idaho next year, even though he's not currently registered to vote or legally allowed to set foot on Capitol grounds.

Secretary of State candidacy records show Bundy listing his address as a post-office box in Emmett, with a local contractor, Aaron Welling, acting as treasurer.

He would be seeking the 2022 GOP nomination for the state's top post, currently held by Republican Brad Little. The governor had been unsuccessfully targeted for recall by anti-government activists unhappy with shutdowns he ordered in response to the pandemic.

Bundy told NBC News on Monday he's not yet formally announced a gubernatorial run, but wants to begin building an organization for a potential candidacy.

"The people of Idaho are very freedom-minded," Bundy said. "I had never desired (to run for office), but I knew as early as 2017 that I would run for governor of Idaho."

Bundy is best known for taking part in an armed standoff in 2016 at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, 300 miles southeast of Portland, Oregon.

He and others involved in the 41-day occupation were acquitted of possessing a firearm in a federal facility and conspiring to impede federal workers.

This past fall, Bundy made headlines when he refused to wear a mask at his son's high school football game, leading the contest to be called at halftime.

And a few months earlier, scuffles with state police at the Idaho Capitol grounds led to a 12-month ban enacted last Aug. 26, authorities said.

No one with Bundy's name or birthday is listed as a registered voter in Idaho. He'd have until April 22 of next year to register to vote in the May 17 primary.

Bundy admitted he's not a registered voter, a status he views as an act of protest.

"I am intentionally not registered as a Republican. I want to make the point that I'm not very happy with the Republican Party. I would never be a Democrat," he said. "The Republican Party has not done a very good job of standing for liberty and securing the rights for the people."

Little, a former state senator and lieutenant governor, won election as governor in 2018, defeating Democrat Paulette Jordan, 59.8 percent to 38.2 percent.

In Idaho, one of the nation's most GOP-friendly states, capturing the Republican nomination is tantamount to winning in November. In the 2018 primary, Little won a much tighter race,besting Raul Labrador, 37.3 percent to 32.6 percent.

A representative for Little could not be immediately reached for comment on Monday.