'They infiltrate at every level': Idaho Republican sounds alarm about fringe extremists taking over his party

Idaho has the much-deserved reputation as one of the most conservative states in the U.S. It's also proven itself to be receptive to extremist views from the likes of Ammon Bundy, who made himself a household name by staging armed standoffs with law enforcement.

One Idaho Republican, however, is concerned that his party is normalizing extremists and giving them a path to power throughout the state.

According to the Guardian, Chris Fillios is a moderate Republican who is seeking re-election as a county commissioner in Kootenai County and says he has "observed extremists on the march there. They have been told, infiltrate at every level: school board, county, city offices, anywhere and everywhere they can, state level, federal level, infiltrate, infiltrate."

Idaho is fertile ground for extremists. It has a long history of battling the federal government, which manages about two-thirds of the state's land.

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It widely embraced former President Donald Trump’s culture war politics, as he garnered 64 percent of the vote there in the 2020 election. Democrats have not held the governor’s office in almost 30 years or any statewide elected office since 2007. Most elections for the state legislature don't even include a Democratic candidate.

Chuck Malloy, a columnist and former communications adviser to the House Republican caucus, told the Guardian: “Sure, we have a two-party system: it’s Republican and more Republican. Idaho is shifting more to the right every day.”

The state's Republican primary election for governor on May 17 pits incumbent Brad Little, a stalwart conservative by national standards, against an extreme challenger -- his own Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin.