Friday, June 21, 2024

Extreme right-wing radicals tend to stick together

by TONY McDERMOTT / Contributing Writer
| September 19, 2023 1:00 AM

Branden Durst and other members of the radical Idaho Freedom Foundation must be defeated. Mr. Durst is a long-time member of IFF, serving as their senior analyst for education policy. Senator Scott Herndon is a charter member of the Idaho Freedom Caucus and is Idaho’s top-ranked senator, according to the Idaho Freedom Foundation.

Mr. Durst, Herndon, and the IFF saw WBCSD as their test cast to dismantle a public school district. According to previous Idaho Supreme Court Justice Jim Jones, "the IFF is demonstrating its plan to discredit and dismantle Idaho’s public schools, starting with WBCSD."

Durst was opposed to the WBCSD levy and was hired following IFF guidance to get the government out of public education. Do limited research, and you will see that IFF has documented ties to white supremacists and Christian nationalists. Mr. Durst, based on his identified intent and background, needs to be relieved of his current superintendent duties ASAP. Candy Turner, a Priest River City Council member who has taught elementary school in the district for the past 25 years, said the "results of the recall were a clear rejection of extreme Idaho Freedom Foundation politics."

Durst was supported by the Bonner County Republican Central Committee, chaired by Herndon. Herndon escorted Durst to Priest River to support his selection as the WBCSD superintendent. Under BCRCC committee guidance, Herndon allocated a total of $2,000 to oppose the recall of Susan Brown and Keith Rutledge. His flyers opposing the recall prior to the vote stated that the opposition to the recall was from "duped Democrats and woke progressives." These flyers have conveniently been taken down from his website. Will he stick to previous statements that 60-plus percent of the voting public in the WBCSD are duped Democrats and woke progressives?

Many North Idaho voters know what Senator Herndon is all about, as his record is clear and documented. I also suspect that local voters are finally waking up to what this corrupt senator is up to. He moved here from California in 2004 and calls himself a conservative Christian, but didn’t register to vote until October 2017, prior to when he ran for state senator. The only issue here is that Senator Herndon does not practice what he preaches.

In 2022, he conducted a scorched earth campaign against his opponent, Jim Woodward, that was based on misinformation and lies. His dozen or so slick flyers full of false information defaming Senator Woodward were funded by numerous out-of-state sources. In 2022, his campaign paid over $80,000 to McShane LLC, a Nevada-based organization with violent ties to the Proud Boys. McShane and his LLC designed the ad campaign that was used to defeat incumbent Senator Woodward. He received donations from numerous other out-of-state donors to do his dirty work. These donations came from California, Colorado, Illinois, Massachusetts, Montana, Georgia, Washington, Michigan, and several other states. I suspect he will be funded from these sources in the upcoming 2024 campaign. A positive aspect of all this is that voters in Bonner and Boundary counties will determine the outcome, not out-of-state donors.

He calls himself a physical conservative, but in 2019, he was behind failed lawsuits involving guns at the annual music festival, costing taxpayers approximately $320,000 in legal fees.

One of many of his many negative actions that most exemplifies his despicable character is when he had his children protest for weeks concerning abortion at the Sandpoint Farmers Market. As an abortion abolitionist, he stated at a city council meeting, "I know most people don’t take anti-abortion handbills from people like me," said Herndon, gesturing to himself. "So, we send out (our) little girls." Additionally, he advocated for a 2023 Legislature vote to remove rape and incest from Idaho’s abortion bans. The legislature refuted his proposal as extreme.

Is this the type of person we want representing the voters of North Idaho? I think not. LD1 voters can defeat Scott Herndon's extremism, dishonesty, and dirty politics in the next election by voting for our previous senator, Jim Woodward.

Tony McDermott served as an Idaho Department Fish and Game commissioner from 2005 to 2013 and is a decorated Army aviator, serving two tours in Vietnam.