SANDPOINT — An outspoken white supremacist who’s running for Bonner County sheriff contends his views on race will not color his approach to the office if elected.
Shaun Patrick Winkler is competing with incumbent Sheriff Daryl Wheeler and Ponderay Police Officer Tim Fry for the Republican nomination on May 15. The winner in the primary will face independent Rocky Jordan in the general election in November.
Winkler, 33, has links to the Aryan Nations and Church of Jesus Christ-Christian, and has been involved in high-profile, race-related protests in Kootenai County.
But Winkler said his motivation to run is not to advance a white supremacist agenda if he’s elected.
“Whether people will believe me or not, it will be entirely up to their own discretion,” said Winkler, a Hoodoo Valley resident.
Winkler admits his personal beliefs could cast a long shadow during the campaign. He also makes no apologies for those beliefs.
Winkler, who has not held political office in the past, said he was motivated to run because of the increasing federal reach into Bonner County. He also has hard-line stances when it comes to drugs and sex offenders.
Winkler contends not enough is being done to combat federal influence in the county or drug and sex offenses.
“I don’t look at myself as a vigilante; I look at myself as a concerned citizen,” said Winkler.