Third party conservative candidates make their voices heard at Twin Falls event

Many concerned Idaho voters are looking hard at third party candidates this year, and some of them visited the Southern Idaho Freedom Festival Sunday afternoon in Twin Falls.
Published: Oct. 25, 2022 at 11:51 AM MDT
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TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — Many concerned Idaho voters are looking hard at third party candidates this year, and some of them visited the Southern Idaho Freedom Festival Sunday afternoon in Twin Falls. Some of them said they are concerned Idaho is losing its traditional conservative values,

On a chilly, windy day in October, people from around the Magic Valley, and beyond attended the event at Twin Falls City Park. Organizer Shane Klaas said one of the goals of the event is to create a forum for conservative voters who are dissatisfied with the current Republican establishment in Idaho, to meet, listen and talk to candidates who will fight and uphold Idahoans rights, liberties and freedoms.

“We now have candidates who when a bill is presented to them they will look at the bill and judge whether or not it is a good bill,” said Klaas. “The first question they should be asking is if it is constitutional, do I have the right as a legislature to even be talking about this subject, much less be voting on it.”

Additionally he said some Republicans have strayed from their conservative values and the Republican platform over the years, and some of them are Republicans because they have an R next to their name.

“They are not going to get elected in Idaho if they run with a Democrat next to their name so they switch parties and run as a Republican,” Said Klaas. “We also have a lot of them that are just very establishment. They are in it for power. They want to stay there.”

Many of the candidates who attended the event are third party candidates who consider themselves “true constitutional conservatives”. One of them was Twin Falls pastor Paul Thompson who is running as a constitutional candidate in the District 25 Senate Race against a Republican .

“What really distinguishes me from my opponent is I believe the state should be following the state constitution and that under the umbrella of the federal constitution,” said Thompson. “I think we ought to quit spending money like we have been. I think we ought to defend our children in the education system, and we have a lot of discussions about taxes. We have to have serious talks about it.”

Many people at the event said their frustration stems from COVID with talks of mask and vaccine mandate, as well as, what they call out of control spending at the state and federal level.

“I think a more important fact is that we are following the United States Constitution, are we violating our oath of office,” said Scott Cleveland who is running against incumbent Republican Mike Crapo for one of Idaho’s two U.S. Senate seats.

Cleveland said he is an Independent Conservative, and he wants to remind people that Crapo was a “Never-Trumper”, even though during the most recent IDGOP Convention the Idaho Senator publicly displayed support for Trump’s policies and criticized the Biden agenda. Additionally he said Crapo pulled his support for Trump before the 2016 election, and the U.S. Senator likes to latch himself on to “Trump’s success”. He said In many ways he considers Crapo a Republican in name only.

“Here in the last couple of years he has been anything but conservative. Just last Summer he switched sides and voted with Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi on this so-called infrastructure bill,” said Cleveland. “And that vote is a betrayal of the conservative voters of Idaho that send him to Washington D.C.”

Other candidates who attended the event were Ammon Bundy, who is running for Idaho Governor against current incumbent Republican Idaho Governor Brad Little, and District 24 Senate Republican candidate Glenneda Zuiderveld, who Klaas said beat out an establishment Republican candidate in the primary. However, the organizer the event was open to any candidate who wanted to attend it, Republican or Democrat.

“It would be kinda gutsy for them to show up with this crowd out here today because they would be asked some really hard questions, and be held accountable,” said Klaas. “But anyone is welcome.”

Some races this election cycle in Idaho will present voters with two conservative choices, with a third choice being a Democrat. However, Klaas and other are not too concerned with the conservative candidates splitting the votes and creating an avenue for a Democratic candidate in traditionally conservative Idaho.

“My answer to them is since we had a Democrat [Idaho] Governor there has not been a single Democrat that has been able to break I think 31% to 32% of the vote. The chances of that happening are very slim,” Klaas said.

Conservative voters Doreen and Joe Alexander who attended the event said there are a lot of things going on in the country and the state of Idaho, and they want to hear all the candidates’ perspectives so they make the right voice on Election Day.

“I’m voting more so on the person and their belief systems, and what they say there are going to do rather than just say the party line,” said Doreen Alexander.

Klaas said he feels the constitutional conservatives have a legit chance on Election Day and he thinks there is going to be a lot of surprises. He thinks one of the big one is going to be the Ammon Bundy Campaign.

“They are making a lot of headway, and to that point I think we are getting a little bit excited. He really has a chance to win it and pull it off,” Klaas said.