Son of insurrectionist to run as a Democrat for the Montana Legislature - TAI News
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Dakota Adams poses for a photograph during an interview with the Associated Press, Feb. 21, 2024, in Kalispell, Montana. Adams, the estranged son of Oath Keepers founder and imprisoned seditionist Stewart Rhodes, is running for the legislature in Montana as a Democrat. (AP Photo/Hunter D’Antuono)

Unlike his estranged father, Stewart Rhodes, founder of the far-right militia group the Oath Keepers, Dakota Adams is embracing local government and running for the Montana Legislature as a Democrat in a deeply red district in the state.

Adams, 27, who uses his mother Tasha’s last name, is running against Republican Rep. Neil Duram to represent House District 1, located in Lincoln County. The county is a Republican stronghold where former President Donald Trump took 73.8% of the vote in 2020.

In an interview with the BBC, Adams said he was in lockstep with his father’s beliefs growing up, in an atmosphere in which it was common for those around him to fear a “communist conspiracy” and dark forces aiming to take over and create a “one world government.”

But the eldest of six children doesn’t subscribe to his father’s beliefs any longer. He described to the BBC a childhood and young adult life rife with abuse at the hands of his father.  

“Until I was an adult man, I lived absolutely under the thumb of an emotional terrorist,” he said, adding that eventually he began to see his father differently and stopped believing in Rhodes’ predictions of an apocalypse-like end to society.

His mother filed for divorce from Rhodes in 2018.

On his campaign website, Adams describes himself as a “full-time drywall worker, part-time student, and wholly committed citizen.”

Rhodes was sentenced to 18 years in prison after being convicted of seditious conspiracy and other charges related to his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol.

Adams told the Associated Press that his father’s involvement in the attack on the Capitol was one of the reasons he chose to run for office, saying the event made him “reevaluate a lot of beliefs and face hard questions” about what he stood for. 

As a person who lived in a world filled with conspiracy theories, Adams told the Independent, he hoped his story of breaking from his past could make him relatable to voters. 

“It gives me, at the very least, an understanding of where these people are coming from.”

Northwest Montana is well-known for being home to several white nationalist and anti-government groups, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Adams has said he understands he has a slim chance of winning the seat, but has had encouragement from at least one Democrat in the state.

Democratic Montana gubernatorial candidate Ryan Busse said of Adams on the social media platform X, “Most can’t imagine the kind of courage it takes to emerge from real darkness … but he did…his dad is OathKeeper leader Stewart Rhodes. Give Dakota some props.”

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The Montana Independent is a project of American Independent Media, a 501(c)(4) organization whose mission is to use journalism to educate the public, giving them the information they need about local and federal issues.