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Nationally, the far right capture of state and local Republican Party chapters has intensified moves to “purge” the party of leaders who don’t conform to this movement’s orthodoxy.

Nowhere is this more visible than in Idaho. Vincent James Foxx, a leading figure among white nationalist Groypers, declared last year that a “real right-wing takeover is happening in Idaho and there’s nothing they can do to stop it.”[1]

One year later, Foxx’s vision has become a reality, with state legislator Heather Scott (R-Blanchard) recently lauding Idaho Republican Party Chairwoman Dorothy Moon’s “continued efforts to purge the party of democrats in disguise.”

Moon’s effort was displayed when the far-right leader announced an investigation of the Ada County Republican Party in a June 20 letter addressed to Ada County Chair Victor Miller and Treasurer Dave Litster. Moon told the two that she had ordered the formation of a “Financial Review Committee” to carry out “a complete and transparent review of Ada County Republican Central Committee for the fiscal year of January 1, 2022 – December 31, 2022.”[2]

A doyen of the state’s far-right and three-term Idaho State Representative (District 8, Seat B –Stanley), Moon lost a bid for Secretary of State in a May 17, 2022, GOP primary.[3] Two months later, Moon was elected chair of the Idaho Republican Party by a 434-287 margin.[4]

Moon’s specific beef with the Ada County GOP stretches back to February 2023, when she sent a letter detailing her allegations to Ada County precinct committee members. Moon asserted that after Ada County GOP leader Victor Miller and former state party chair, Tom Luna, entered into an agreement with Townsquare Media Inc. (KIDO Radio) to air Red Wave Radio (later Keep Idaho Red), Miller “never paid his half” of the costs she alleges he was to split with the Idaho GOP.[5]

Moon said, “I informed Victor Miller I was canceling our involvement in Red Wave Radio” as it “was not a good investment for the IDGOP.” At this point, Moon says, “Victor began working with the previous IDGOP Chair to continue the program under the Keep Idaho Red name.” The letter further claimed that the Ada County party had failed to adequately pay the state party for the use of a campaign and voter database and other expenses. In the end, Moon claimed the Ada County party owed the state party $32,000.[6]

Moon’s move against the ADA County Republican leaders comes amidst ongoing efforts by far-rightists to take control of state and local parties from “RINOs,” or “Republicans in Name Only” – a clarion call to far-right insurgency that has echoed from the grassroots to the halls of Washington D.C.

The far-right Action Idaho, which has published on “Keeping RINOs off the Primary Ballot,” would accuse Ada County leaders of a “continuing war on Dorothy Moon’s chairmanship…designed to create an alternative power center in Ada County, headed by Victor Miller, Ada County GOP Chair.”[7]

In one example of what “RINO” means to the far right, during her failed bid for Secretary of State, Moon faced the eventual winner, Ada County Clerk Phil McGrane, who, during his own campaign, said that Joe Biden had won the 2020 election. Moon disagreed.[8] While pushing a bill to tighten voter registration and identification requirements, Moon also spread unsubstantiated claims about voter fraud in the state.[9]

At a May 2022 rally featuring candidate for Governor and then-Lieutenant Governor Janice McGeachin and Arizona state legislator Wendy Rogers, both known for their ties to white nationalists, Moon attributed her decision to run to the 2020 election results.[10] Moon joined Rogers on stage, describing the Arizona legislator as her “new best friend” and announcing showings of Dinesh d’Souza’s 2000 Mules, an extensively debunked “election fraud” video popular on the far right. Moon had written of the “documentary” that,

“If you have doubts about the claim that the 2020 election was stolen, you should take the time to watch the movie. Dinesh takes a high-tech look at how Democrats used ‘mules’ to harvest and stuff ballot boxes during the mail-in election of 2020.”[11]

During her campaign for Secretary of State, a position charged with overseeing state elections, Moon hosted showings of 2000 Mules in Mountain Home and Coeur D’Alene, Idaho.[12]

Jim Hoft, editor of the national far-right website Gateway Pundit, even entered the Idaho fray, declaring Phil McCrane a “RINO,” in part for allegedly accepting money from a source that “helped Democrats steal the 2020 election from President Trump,” – as, Hoft claimed, is explained in 2000 Mules.[13]

From Far-Right Rising to “Purging the Party-The Fruits of Great Leadership”

Several supporters of Moon’s rise in the state GOP have cast her efforts as a battle against “RINOs.” State Representative Heather Scott (R-Blanchard) would simply call it a “purge” of them.

While not deploying the moniker “RINO,” Moon made clear in an October 3 press release as GOP chair that she was coming for moderate Republicans – calling out prominent figures in the party for, among other things, endorsing a Democrat, a “party seeking to sexualize Idaho’s children;” and another for being a “self-described expert on critical race theory” – both common refrains in far-right mobilizations around the country. Moon stressed, ‘Our Unity doesn’t come through vanity or personal ambition, but in defending our party’s principles and adhering to our party’s platform.”[14]

In June the Idaho Republican Party adopted a mechanism to enforce adherence to its platform and potentially expel dissenters. A proposal passed at the party’s June 23-24 Summer Meeting allows central committees to summon party officials, hold hearings on their loyalty to the platform, and potentially “remove Party support and prohibit the use of Republican Party identifiers on campaign information and advertising.”[15]

Action Idaho declared the June meeting a “resounding success” and the expulsion measure intended to “ensure the integrity of elected officials who campaigned as Republicans and censure those who violate the party platform.” Action Idaho explained that, “This meeting will serve as a launching pad for even greater successes in advancing the conservative agenda of the Republican Party and shaping the future of our state.”[16]

Former state chair Tom Luna, one those mentioned in Moon’s Ada County maneuvers, responded that this move “does not represent the majority of the state Republican party,” but rather an organized majority at the meeting who were “intent on purging the party of people that do not agree with them 100 percent of the time, whether it’s on abortion or education, whether it’s on what they view as the proper role of government.”[17]

Endorsing Moon for state party chair, Josh Gibbons, State Committeeman for the Canyon County Republican Central Committee, asserted that Republicans supporting Governor Brad Little’s COVID-19 policies had shown themselves to be RINO’s.” Gibson wrote, “Dorothy Moon is the perfect person to be Idaho’s new Republican Party Chair… Dorothy Moon is a true conservative. She is not a RINO.”[18]

Dorothy Moon and the Militias: With Ammon Bundy (L) and Three Percenter Eric Parker (R)

An article in the Gem State Patriot News hailed Moon’s win as a “breathe of fresh air,” declaring, “No longer will we have to endure that (sic) Saturday morning diatribes of Loony Luna and Moaning Miller on that RINO propaganda show ‘Red Wave Radio.’”[19]

“With a 95% conservative voting record in the legislature according to the Idaho Freedom Foundation,” the article explained, “you can bet that we now have a truly conservative leader for the Republican Party.”[20] Claiming that Gov. Brad Little’s COVID-19 policies had likely aided Moon’s ascent, the article added, “There will be one challenger to Governor Little in November that you might want to consider and that person is Ammon Bundy who is running as an Independent… his is a man of courage who does not cower in the face of adversity… Bundy is the only real option in November. [Bold in original].[21]  

The group Stop Idaho RINOs declared Moon “our amazing GOP leader.”[22]

Far-right Idaho State Representative Heather Scott (R-Blanchard) was more to the point, casting Moon’s actions as a purge of “RINOs.” Scott is a well-known far-right figure IREHR found belonging to nine far-right Facebook groups, including the Posse Comitatus-influenced LFA III% Washington and American Redoubt. Scott also once told members of Ammon Bundy’s group, the People’s Right network, “I should be clapping for you guys.”

On June 25, Heather Scott expressed her thoughts on Moon’s anti-RINO efforts:

“Purging the Party-The Fruits of Great Leadership – The fruits of great leadership continue to bless Idaho Republicans. GOP Chairwoman Dorothy Moon has not let her foot off the gas since taking over the helm of The Idaho GOP. Her continued efforts to purge the party of democrats in disguise, non-supporting, and non-believing party platform members is a wonderful breath of fresh air for all of us who strongly believe in government by the people, for the people, of the people…For those who find her efforts shocking, there are plenty of vacancies in the other party of socialist woke liberals. Please go. The exit sign is flashing for all closet RINOs. I believe Idaho can be a model for conservative leadership for state government, but we need each and every one person to do our part and support Dorothy Moon and conservatives in government at all levels.”[23]

Dorothy Moon’s accolades from far-rightists are well-earned, and her roots in that movement deep. In Breaching the Mainstream, IREHR reported that while serving as a state representative, Moon had joined six far-right Facebook groups, including several engaged in COVID denial activism, the misnamed-Idaho Parents’ Rights in Education and the U.S. Militia Northern Command – America’s Militia.

In January 2018, Dorothy Moon introduced Eric Parker at the Idaho Statehouse, lauding the paramilitary activist for “everything he’s done for the citizens of Idaho and in Nevada.” At the time, Parker was known for his armed participation in the 2014 standoff involving Cliven Bundy, Ammon’s father. Parker would become the leader of Real 3%ers Idaho.[24] In a 2017 video, after receiving praise from paramilitary activist Ammon Bundy, Moon would write, “appreciate Ammon’s heartfelt comments. His kind words inspire me to continue working hard for my constituents.”[25]

Far-right activism being a Moon family affair, her husband, Darr Moon, serves on the national council of the far-right-conspiracist John Birch Society.[26]

Take Back Idaho, a group of Idaho Republicans opposing the far-right takeover of the GOP, and in particular, the Idaho Freedom Foundation, warned party members about Dorothy Moon’s GOP ascent:

“Dorothy Moon’s election to Idaho GOP leadership is absolutely disturbing. Moon’s dangerous gallery of associations – including militant Ammon Bundy, militia leader Eric Parker, convicted rapist Aaron von Ehlinger, and white nationalists like Wendy Rogers – should be disqualifying for state party leadership…With Dorothy Moon’s election to leadership, the Idaho Republican Party has firmly lost all touch with the average Idahoan.”[27]

The effort underway by far-rightists in Idaho to purge the party of moderates echoes happenings around the country. Those who value democracy should take heed.





[1] “White nationalist Vincent James Foxx boasts about far-right takeover of Idaho politics” Daily Kos YouTube. February 2, 2023,


[2] Moon also announced that the Financial Review Committee would be chaired by Vicky McIntyre Letter from Dorothy Moon, Chairwoman, Idaho Republican Party to Ada County Republican Committee Chair Victor Miller and Treasurer Dave Lister. Idaho Republican Party. June 20, 2023. At Clendenon, Sarah. Breaking News: Idaho State GOP Chairwoman Notifies Ada County GOP Chairman of Investigation Into Finances. Idaho Dispatch. June 20, 2023.

[3]BallotPedia. Dorothy Moon. .Accessed June 23, 2023.

[4] Moseley-Morris, Kelcie. Rep. Dorothy Moon becomes new chairwoman of Idaho Republican Party. Idaho Capital Sun. July 16, 2022.

[5] Letter from Chairwoman Dorothy Moon, Idaho Republican Party to Ada County Precinct Committeemen and Committeewomen. February 1, 2023. At Clendenon, Sarah. IDGOP State Party Chair Dorothy Moon to Address Multiple Concerns Regarding Ada County GOP. Idaho Dispatch. February 1, 2023.

[6] Letter from Chairwoman Dorothy Moon, Idaho Republican Party to Ada County Precinct Committeemen and Committeewomen. February 1, 2023. At Clendenon, Sarah. IDGOP State Party Chair Dorothy Moon to Address Multiple Concerns Regarding Ada County GOP. Idaho Dispatch. February 1, 2023.

[7] Action Idaho. Keeping RINOs off the Primary Ballot. April 27, 2022.; Action Idaho. Controversy Swirls around Ada County GOP. Febuary 13, 2023.

[8] Corbin, Clark. Two of three Idaho GOP secretary of state candidates deny Biden won 2020 election. Idaho Capital Sun. April 26, 2022.

[9] Corbin, Clark. Republican candidate for Idaho secretary of state spreads unverified reports of voter fraud. Idaho Capital Sun. March 14, 2022.

[10] Brunner, Jim. Idaho primary pits conservative governor against Trump-backed candidate with white nationalist ties. Seattle Times. May 16, 2022.

[11] Dorothy Moon for Idaho. Facebook. April 24, 2022.

[12] Jon Krueger For Idaho Senate. Facebook. May 10, 2022.; Dorothy Moon for Idaho. Facebook. May 2, 2022.

[13] Hoft, Jim. Scary. RINO Who Supports Zuckerbucks Is Leading Idaho’s Secretary of State Race – Phil McGrane Would be a Disaster for Idaho. Gateway Pundit. May 12, 2022.

[14] Idaho Republican Party. Press Release. October 3, 2022.

[15] Davlin, Melissa and Lorien Nettleton. Idaho GOP Summer Meeting. June 27, 2023.

[16] Action Idaho. Conservatives Pile up the W’s at Republican Party Summer Meeting. June 28, 2023.

[17] Davlin, Melissa and Lorien Nettleton. Idaho GOP Summer Meeting. June 27, 2023.

[18] Gibson, Josh. Guest Column – Josh Gibbons: Dorothy Moon Should Be the Next Idaho GOP Chair. Pocatello-Chubbuck Observer. July 12, 2022.

[19] Neugebauer, Bob “Nugie”. Rep. Dorothy Moon Wins Republican Party Chair. Gem State Patriot News. July 17, 2022.

[20] Neugebauer, Bob “Nugie”. Rep. Dorothy Moon Wins Republican Party Chair. Gem State Patriot News. July 17, 2022.

[21] Neugebauer, Bob “Nugie”. Rep. Dorothy Moon Wins Republican Party Chair. Gem State Patriot News. July 17, 2022.

[22] Stop Idaho RINOs. Facebook. December 3, 2022.

[23] Heather Scott. Facebook. June 25, 2023.; Rep. Heather Scott. Twitter. June 25, 2023.

[24] Allam, Hannah and Jim Urquhart. Militia Leader Known As The ‘Bundy Ranch Sniper’ Seeks A New Title: State Senator. NPR. October 22, 2020.

[25] Dorothy Moon for Idaho. Facebook. November 230, 2017.

[26] Moseley-Morris, Kelcie. Rep. Dorothy Moon becomes new chairwoman of Idaho Republican Party. Idaho Capital Sun. July 16, 2022.

[27] Take Back Idaho. Our Mission. Accessed June 23, 2023.


Chuck Tanner

Author Chuck Tanner

Chuck Tanner is an Advisory Board member and researcher for the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights. He lives in Washington State where he researches and works to counter white nationalism and the anti-Indian and other far right social movements.

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