Las Vegas (CBS LAS VEGAS) — An African-American Republican candidate for the Nevada congressional district where rancher Cliven Bundy lives said that he doesn’t consider the man or his family racist at all.

“I don’t consider Cliven racist at all,” Niger Innis, a candidate for Nevada’s 4th Congressional District, said at an American Independent Party dinner honoring Bundy. “I can only tell you my experience with the Bundys. Having eaten with them and broken bread with them and I don’t consider Cliven or his wonderful family racist at all. Period, end of story.”

Innis is the son of Roy Innis, the longtime head of the Congress of Racial Equality, while Niger is the longtime spokesman for CORE. Innis suggested his support for Bundy, who was put in the national spotlight and embraced by many conservatives and libertarians for his showdown with federal officials at his remote Nevada cattle ranch last month.

The GOP hopeful said that media narratives about Bundy – who was denounced by many after making comments about “the Negro,” pondering whether African-Americans would be “better off as slaves” – are simply a game to “distract” people from real issues.

“This is the game the media is going to play with us to distract from the real issue, which is that the federal government has too much control over Nevada’s land,” Innis said. “They will try to distract, with the firestorm that Cliven started by using the r-word, the racism word.”

Bundy recently moved his voting affiliation from the Republican Party to the anti-government Independent American Party.

“I haven’t got much good out of the Democrats and Republicans so I decided to try a new one,” said Bundy.


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