Richard Mack, a former Arizona sheriff who founded and runs the anti-government group Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, announced in an email over the weekend that he is planning to run for Congress in the special election to replace Rep. Trent Franks.
Mack ran unsuccessfully for Senate in Arizona as a Libertarian in 2006 and for a Texas congressional seat as a Republican in 2012. Last year he lost a Republican primary for under-sheriff in Navajo County, Arizona, where he and an ally where attempting to establish a “constitutional county” that would nullify certain federal laws.
Mack’s CSPOA promotes the idea, popular among anti-government groups, that county sheriffs are the highest-ranking law enforcement officers in their areas and have the power to ignore federal laws and arrest federal law enforcement officers. That idea was popularized by the racist anti-government Posse Comitatus in the 1970s and 1980s. Mack said back in 2015 that if former IRS official Lois Lerner had showed up in his county when he was sheriff, he would have investigated and then arrested her.
Mack promotes libertarian policies such as legalizing marijuana and ending the “war on drugs,” and conservative goals such as eliminating various government agencies, along with the extremist anti-government movement’s focus on going around federal laws that they believe are unconstitutional and a paranoia-tinged hostility to government bureaucrats. One Arizona lawmaker credited Mack with inspiring a bill that “would have forced federal regulators to register with the sheriff in any Arizona county where they want to work.” He also is no fan of many in the federal courts: Before the Obergefell decision in 2015, he called Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg a “very senile and evil person” who was put on the court “to promote this movement in America to destroy marriage.”
Mack writes in his announcement email:
My candidacy will be dedicated to freeing the many Americans who have been victimized by our own government. I will stand against the abuses of the IRS, FDA, BLM, FBI, DEA, FDA, and the out of control spending by our “leaders” of both parties. I will also fight to put an end to the Dept of Education using SWAT teams to collect unpaid students loans! In fine, my run for Congress will be for the Amish farmer who sits in prison for making an herbal salve, all American victims of Gun Control, the Ranchers who sit in prison for trying to keep their lands, and for the people who just want to be left alone. I will be their advocate!
Mack served two terms as sheriff in Graham County in the 1990s, where he was a plaintiff in a lawsuit challenging the Brady gun law. He went on to work for the radical gun group Gun Owners of America before founding CSPOA. He also served as a founding director of the anti-government group Oath Keepers. Mack and the CSPOA were a prominent presence at the Bundy ranch standoff in 2014; Mack compared the armed anti-government activists standing off against the Bureau of Land Management to Rosa Parks and said that had federal agents started shooting at the activists, “We were actually strategizing to put all the women up at the front” in order to get more shocking television coverage.
Mack is asking his allies to support his campaign with contributions of “checks, cash, gold, or silver.”