Son of Oath Keepers’ leader jailed for Jan 6 riot announces he’s running for office as a Democrat

Mr Adams is running in a district where Donald Trump won 74 per cent of the vote in 2020

Graig Graziosi
Monday 25 March 2024 19:00 GMT
Related video: Wife of Oath Keepers founder says he is a “complete sociopath”

The son of a convicted seditionist and right-wing gang leader is going to be running for office — as a Democrat.

Dakota Adams, the son of Oath Keepers "militia" founder Stewart Rhodes, will run as a Democrat in Montana.

Rhodes was convicted of seditious conspiracy for his involvement in the Capitol riot.

Mr Adams, 27, does not share his father's violent, anti-democratic views.

“I decided that I’m going to double down on betting on the electoral process,” he said, according to the Associated Press.

He previously said that life under his father's rule was abusive and that it nearly destroyed his family. Mr Adams called Rhodes a lazy grifter who peddled anti-government paranoia in the wake of Barack Obama's 2008 election.

“Basically until I’m an adult it’s all one continuous gray time of survival and moving boxes,” Mr Adams said. “We lived in extreme isolation in one particular cultural bubble in increasingly paranoid and militant right-wing political spheres everywhere we moved in the country, until eventually we ended up in Montana.”

In 2018, Mr Adams' mother, Tasha, divorced Rhodes. The family fled from the gang leader.

Three years later, Rhodes would go on to use his Oath Keepers to attack the US Capitol as part of the Capitol riot. He was arrested and convicted on seditious conspiracy charges. He is currently serving an 18-year prison sentence.

His father's involvement in the violent, anti-democratic attack on the US Capitol has, in part, driven Mr Adams’ decision to pursue a position as a lawmaker.

“It served as a sobering wake-up call in terms of how much danger we are truly in and how the Republican Party enabled a president to become an active danger to this republic,” Mr Adams said. “I was forced to reevaluate a lot of beliefs and face hard questions about what I really stood for.”

The newcomer will have his work cut out for him; the Congressional district he hopes to win over is home to a voter base where Donald Trump took 74 per cent of the votes in 2020.

He hopes to sell himself to the people of the district as an "honest weirdo" who escaped an abusive upbringing and wants to seek a more peaceful — and more democratic — life than his father had planned.

The Democratic party has reportedly welcomed Mr Adams to the Montana race, as it can be difficult to find candidates willing to run in Republican strongholds.

In the meantime, Mr Adams says he is "figuring himself out" as he continues to work a construction job and finish his college courses.

He said he is also attending therapy to help him work through his childhood experiences and trying to catch up on the portions of his education that he missed out on due to his home schooling.

Mr Adams says he leads a pretty normal life most of the time, but his connection to Rhodes means that every once in awhile he ends up in the national spotlight.

“It sometimes feels very unreal, because I have a normal life 95 per cent of the time. And then 5 per cent of the time, my personal life is relevant to a national news story,” Mr Adams said. “The disconnect feels incredibly strange.”

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