Nevada Democratic Rep. Steven Horsford is trying to oust the pro-Bundy militia from his district, citing constituents who are bothered by the presence of the self-appointed militia, according to the Associated Press.
The group has been camping near Cliven Bundy’s land to defend the embattled rancher in his battle with federal land managers. Bundy – who says he doesn’t recognize the federal government – owes more than $1 million in fees for letting his cattle graze on federal lands for the last two decades. The Bureau of Land Management stopped trying to seize Bundy’s cattle last month, after a face-off with the militia.
Many thought when the face-off was done the militia—who came from all-over the country—would depart, but they have not. Horsford renewed his call for their departure at an event on Saturday.
Horsford’s constituents have been complaining to him about the encampments of armed militia, he said: a young girl said Bundy has a “sense of entitlement” and should pay the same grazing fees other ranchers pay and man told him Bundy is a “welfare rancher” living off taxpayer subsidies, the Democratic representative said, according to the AP.
And he’s putting other politicians on the spot, too.
“And that is why I am calling on [Gov.] Brian Sandoval, Sen. Dean Heller, the [Clark County] sheriff, and any other elected official in Nevada to do their part to get rid of these armed separatists,” Horsford said at a Democratic party event.
Sandoval and Heller are both Republicans, a party that has struggled to reconcile their support for Bundy’s states-right’s views with his racist rants. Both have backed Bundy’s actions, but Sandoval recently conceded said Nevadans shouldn’t be made to feel unsafe because of the militia.
The Bundy story has been a loaded one for the party: political forces ranging from the Koch brothers to Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul rushed to defend Bundy from the federal government’s debt-collecting, but after Bundy’s racist rants were reported in The New York Times, many backed away and denounced his ideas on race.
Last week, Horsford appeared on MSNBC to discuss the encampments.
“We’re calling on the senator, governor, and others who made Cliven Bundy out to be a patriot to stand with the residents who feel very intimidated by the situation,” he said on the Rachel Maddow Show.
“This is a community of about 1,200 people. They’re law-abiding, they’re concerned about their community, their children, they do not want these outside people who have ulterior motives in their community any longer,” he continued. “We need elected officials to be united and send a united message that it’s time for them to leave.”
Horsford isn’t the only Democrat aiming to press Republicans on the Bundy story: Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid also slammed Republicans for showing support, calling Bundy a “hateful racist” who has spent decades profiting from the federal government.
“To advance his extreme, hateful views, Bundy has endangered the lives of innocent women and children. This is not a game,” Reid said according to The Huffington Post. “National Republican leaders could help show a united front against this kind of hateful, dangerous extremism by publicly condemning Bundy.”