Fake sportsmen group wades into Ada County commissioner’s race

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A group posing as Idaho gun owners has waded into a hotly-contested race to decide the Republican nominee for an Ada County commission seat. 

According to a recent Secretary of State filing, Sportsmen for Idaho paid $3,300 to Greenlight Media Strategies of Nashville, Tennessee, to support the candidacy of Teri Murrison in the five-way Republican primary contest. 

Murrison, also endorsed by the Idaho Statesman, faces fellow Republicans Mary McFarland, Rod Beck, Fred Rippee, and Kim Wickstrum in the primary election to determine who will square off with Democrat Bill Rutherford in the general election. 

Sportsmen for Idaho isn’t an authentic voice in Idaho politics, though. It’s an election-year tool with which radical environmentalists try to hoodwink Gem State voters. 

According to a separate Secretary of State filing, the Conservation Voters for Idaho Action Fund recently made a $3,300 in-kind donation to Sportsmen for Idaho. In short, the conservation group paid for the campaign materials, not an Idaho-based gun-rights group. 

This is a curious move by the Conservation Voters for Idaho Action Fund (CVIAF), which usually supports left-wing candidates. 

For example, in last year’s race for Boise mayor, CVIAF spent more than $100,000 to support Lauren McLean, who beat four-term incumbent Dave Bieter in a December run-off election. 

Conservation Voters for Idaho, Idaho’s chapter of a nationwide conservation organization, received more than $310,000 from its parent organization in 2019. Most of that money, if not all, supported left-wing and progressive candidates in municipal or other elections. 

The parent organization, the League of Conservation Voters Victory Fund, released a brief following the 2018 election cycle that brags about how the conservation groups, “Flipped Idaho’s Ada County Commission to pro-clean energy.” 

It’s not clear if Idaho’s local group or the national parent organization spent money on Ada County’s 2018 commissioner races, which saw a Democrat takeover of the three-member board. 

In total, the national conservation group and its local affiliates spent more than $80 million during 2018 to bash Republicans and support Democrats. The League of Conservation Voters Action Fund’s largest donor in 2018 was former New York mayor and failed presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg. According to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, Bloomberg gave LCV at least $5 million that year.

This year, the conservation group, posing as gun owners, has weighed in on several legislative contests, favoring moderate Republicans over more conservative candidates. The Conservation Voters for Idaho Action Fund’s state filings show the fake sportsmen group supports the campaigns of Republicans Marco Erickson, Kirk Adams, Dave Radford, Matthew Bundy, and Brenda Richards. 

In the past, the conservationists have supported, among others, Reps. Doug Ricks, Merrill Beyeler, Britt Raybould, Laurie Lickley, and Sen. Jim Woodward.