A Republican congressional candidate running to represent the district where rancher Cliven Bundy's ranch resides defended Bundy against charges of racism at an event Saturday.
"I don't consider Cliven racist at all," said Niger Innis, a candidate for Nevada's 4th Congressional District said.
Innis is the son of Roy Innis, the longtime chief of the once-powerful Congress of Racial Equality, which in recent decades faded from view and moved dramatically to the right. The younger Innis, who is also the longtime spokesman for CORE, spoke at an American Independent Party dinner honoring Bundy.
"They will try to distract, with the firestorm that Cliven started by using the r-word," Innis said. "The racism word. I can only tell you my experience with the Bundys. Having eaten with them and broken bread with them and I don't consider Cliven or his wonderful family racist at all. Period, end of story."
Bundy switched his voting affiliation from Republican to the anti-government Independent American Party at the event held at the Las Vegas National Golf Course.
"I haven't got much good out of the Democrats and Republicans so I decided to try a new one," he said.
Bundy, who led a standoff with the federal government over the Bureau of Land Management's assertion that he owes $1.1 million in unpaid grazing fees, fell from mainstream conservative grace after giving a New York Times reporter an interview in which he gave a plethora of racist thoughts about "the Negro" being "better off as slaves, picking cotton."
Bundy reiterated his remarks days later at an event saying: "I said I was wondering. I'm still wondering."
Nevada's 4th Congressional District is currently represented by Democratic Rep. Steven Horsford.
Andrew Kaczynski is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
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