Cleveland For Congress
Cleveland For Congress

Idaho Dispatch

Your Local Media Ally

Three Idaho Sheriff Races You Will See on the Republican Primary Ballot

By • May 1, 2024

The 2024 Primary Election on May 21 will be important in several Idaho counties and Legislative districts. Here we highlight three County Sheriff races featuring Republicans facing off for the nomination: Owyhee County, Gem County, and Kootenai County.

In Owyhee County, the incumbent is Larry Kendrick.

Kendrick’s website says he is,

“A Conservative Christian Leader who will Protect, Serve and Uphold Rights. Sheriff Larry Kendrick is a servant of the people, accountable to the people. His life and service to the people of Owyhee County is based upon these principles:
1. His Christian faith.
2. The Constitution of the United States of America is the supreme law of the land, and the governing authority of our Constitutional Republic.
3. Conservative American values.”

The Owyhee challenger is Tim Riha.

His site explains,

“Tim Riha stands out as the top candidate for Owyhee County Sheriff. With a rich background spanning over 30 years in various Idaho law enforcement agencies like ISP, NPD, VCSO, OCSO, and HPD, Tim brings invaluable expertise to safeguard our community. Residing in Owyhee County for 14 years, he intimately grasps the distinct needs and challenges we face. Your vote for Tim Riha ensures our county’s safety is entrusted to capable hands.”

In Kootenai County, the incumbent is Bob Norris.

“Coming from a working-class family, Bob has learned that values and service take priority over personal gain and vanity. His background includes:

A 30-Year Law Enforcement Career – Bob has worked patrol, custody, narcotics, gangs, investigations, counter terrorism and emergency preparedness. He finished his career as chief of law enforcement services serving a population about the size of Kootenai County.

A Proven Law Enforcement Manager – Bob has managed a multi-million-dollar budget and a staff of over 150 public safety professionals. Bob is also an expert and believer in community-based policing.

A Supporter of Community-Based Policing – Bob has seen first-hand the benefits of crime reduction through proactive community policing. He’s also implemented, supervised and managed programs for at-risk youth, before they become adult criminals.”

The Kootenai challenger is Mike Bauer. Bauer ran as an independent candidate in 2022. He is running under the GOP in 2024. We could not find that he has an active website, but you can get to know him here and here.

In the second link is the transcript of an interview. This is the unedited verbal exchange,

Question: “…now you’ll have one minute to share with the voters of Kootenai County. any final thoughts you have or a closing statement, what you would want them to know about why they should vote for you?”

Mike Bauer Answer:

“Let me say that I didn’t come here to say that Bob’s not doing a good job.

I didn’t come here to say that the sheriff’s office is in trouble. that’s not my. That’s not my intention, but my. But but I, I do know that I have probably three times the administrative experience that that that candidate had in 2020. And in that particular election, he won by 3000 votes in a very tight primary and was swept into office because I filed as an independent and KCRCC postcard of the county, you either vote for this guy or you are a rino.

I. I just want the voters to know that if you’re dissatisfied or you want to see a change, or you want somebody else as your sheriff, I’m available. and your other only other option is that you wait till November and you take a look at, Dan Wilson. And that’s the only option that the voters have.”

In Gem County, the incumbent Sheriff is Donnie Wunder. He is pictured here with U.S. Attorney for the District of Idaho, Josh Hurwit.

Wunder explains,

“I am one of five (5) generations of my family to live, attend school, work and raise a family in the community of Emmett, ID. I am 61yo, married to my wife 29 of those, and an active father to three (3) children and grandfather to eight (8) – soon to be nine (9) grandchildren. I am also blessed with the opportunity to share in some extended family-by-choice via my friends and family in the community.

I have been privileged to be with the Gem County Sheriff Department since 1987 when Sheriff Bill McConnell hired me in the jail where I moved into the jail commander’s position prior to Sheriff Jim Wood promoting me out of the jail into a patrol deputy position. In 1993, Sheriff Mark John promoted me to chief deputy, which was a position I maintained for 27y of service and five (5) sheriffs prior to determining in 2020 to ask the community to elect me sheriff – an honor I would appreciate the opportunity to maintain another 4y if the community will re-elect me this 2024 election.”

The challenger in Gem County is Ronnie Knittel.

Knittel has a lengthy biography. Excerpts include,

“Knittel went to work at San Quentin State Prison in 1979.

In 1985 Knittel went to work as a special investigator for the U.S. Department of Labor.

In 1987, Knittel went to work for the U.S. Department of Justice, Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), as a special agent. He was reassigned to detention and deportation.

He left the Justice Department and went to work with the Federal Protective Service (FPS). He started in the uniform branch as a patrol officer. Within two years, he was promoted to Sgt. where he daily supervised 15 officers. A year later, he was selected as the Senior Criminal Investigator supervising four detectives and support staff. He was then promoted to Lieutenant where he oversaw all patrol duties, as well as the Special Response Team Commander (SRTC).

Knittel retired in 2011 after 30 years, but he was not done. In 2012, Knittel was hired as a contractor to the Afghan Mentoring Development. He mentored and trained over two hundred and fifty Afghan Uniform Police (AUP) and Afghan Local Police (ALP) which was conducted through an interpreter.”


This site is a great tool to easily click on your Idaho county to find out who your current Sheriff is: Meet Idaho’s Sheriffs – Idaho Sheriffs’ Association

Amazon Outlet

Tags: 2024 Primary Election, Bob Norris, Donnie Wunder, Gem County, GOP, Idaho, Kootenai County, Larry Kendrick, Mike Bauer, Owyhee County, Republican, Ronnie Knittel, Sheriff, Tim Riha

21 thoughts on “Three Idaho Sheriff Races You Will See on the Republican Primary Ballot

  1. Vote Knittel. He is the REAL deal. Brad Little’s son was photographed taking down Mr. Knittel’s campaign signs after permission was given to Mr. Knittel to post his sign on the property that David Little removed them from.

    If memory serves me right Mr. Wunder is the sheriff that carried the water for Brad Little, when he went went after Ammon Bundy. Correct me if I am wrong.

    1. Yes. When the establishment good ol’ boy rinos resort to acting like democrats…., you know there’s some threat to their club.
      God bless Knittel. Much success to him.

      1. Does he know his constitutional authority? Does he really know what it means to keep his oath? Does he know the purpose of government and his number one priority as sheriff? What will he do to stop federal and state overreach? Do you know the answers to all these questions? If not, better get him and all of them better: a long LEO background doesn’t necessarily mean anything.

  2. Knittel is THE man for THESE times ……..
    An ‘outsider’ who isn’t a member of the ‘good ole boys club’ (hmmmmm, who else is an ‘outsider’ taking on the establishment ?)……
    ‘Lifetime resident’ means oblivious to, or a participant of, slow moving but defined activities that are not protective of citizen’s rights and at the will of ‘higher ups’…….. DUG IN to the established powers thus becoming part of the ‘establishment’.

  3. It is vitally important to elect an honest, truthful, qualified Sherriff, who cannot be bought! Who says the promise to uphold Our Constitution, and our Laws, and profess to support our 1st & 2nd Amendment rights wholeheartedly! Proven record a plus!

    Can Sheriffs Stop Governors, Mayors, Police Chiefs or Law Enforcement Agencies?

    Sheriffs do have certain powers that allow them to intervene in situations where they believe other government officials or agencies are violating the law or the Constitution. However, this authority is not unlimited and must be exercised within legal constraints.

    Sheriffs can challenge actions taken by governors, mayors, police chiefs, or other law enforcement agencies if they believe those actions are unconstitutional or illegal. For example, if a sheriff believes that a governor’s executive order infringes on individual rights protected by the Constitution, they may choose not to enforce that order within their jurisdiction.

    Additionally, sheriffs have the authority to investigate allegations of misconduct or corruption within other law enforcement agencies. If a sheriff believes that a police chief or another agency is deliberately violating the law or engaging in unethical behavior, they can launch an investigation and take appropriate action.

    However, it is essential to remember that the relationship between different branches of government and levels of law enforcement can be complex. Sheriffs must navigate political considerations, legal constraints, and ethical obligations when deciding whether to intervene in actions taken by other officials or agencies.

    In conclusion, while sheriffs do have powers that enable them to challenge unconstitutional actions by governors, mayors, police chiefs, or other law enforcement agencies within their jurisdiction; these powers must be exercised judiciously and in accordance with the law.

    Only doing research, and vetting candidates, will show us, who the right person is for the job!

  4. Mike Bauer is from CA. He didn’t enforce the second amendment there, why would we want a sheriff who would not enforce the second amendment here?

    1. Norris is from California too. Are you saying to discriminate because someone is from CA? How do you know what either chose to enforce during their careers there? This “I’m from Idaho for three generations” cr@p is getting old.

  5. I wrote to Sheriff Donnie Wunder at the time Ammon Bundy was being persecuted and prosecuted by Brad Little and St. Lukes Hospital VIA “Lawfare.” I hoped that the Sheriff of Gem County would be Constitutional; however, I was WRONG! Sheriff Donnie Wunder had the opportunity to “do the right thing” by protecting the Bundy family; however, he chose to be an errand-boy for Governor Little and his “good old boy” friends. Wunder used his position to attempt to intimidate Bundy over and over again,, instead of protecting a member of his community from overreaching judicial malfeasance. EVERYBODY could clearly see what was happening, but Wunder chose to side with those who were maliciously prosecuting Bundy. Because of that glaring failure ALONE, I urge Gem County voters to retire Sheriff Donnie Wunder.

  6. Kootenai Country – I’m pretty impressed with Dan Wilson. He’s taking on alot of hate so that indicates he’s over the target and got Norris’s campaign scared. I was smart of him to change to unaffiliated and fight Norris in the General election. Even though the KCRCC endorsed Norris, alot of Precinct Committeemen are not happy with Norris and will support Wilson in the General.

    1. Sorry. But being a part-time cop with less than full peace officer powers does not make you qualified to be a sheriff. Especially one who never even ran a shift or had administrative responsibilities. And his whole anti carpetbaggers statements when he himself is a carpetbagger told me all I needed to know.

  7. Why didn’t the Idaho Dispatch include Canyon County Sheriff Kerin Donahue? He is unopposed because you retaliates against Candidates that run against him in Republican Primary’s. He has failed to be a local sheriff and Spends most of the time being a Politician as an
    Executive Officer of the National Sheriff’s Association.

  8. Donnie Wunder is doing a fine job as Gem County Sheriff, morale is high, and the roads are safe. Mr. Knittel lacks the necessary experience for the job, and at the end of the day, is just Ammon Bundy’s water boy.

    1. So it’s Ammon’s waterboy vs Brad’s waterboy? I’ll take Ammon’s everyday.

    2. Blunder Wunder is a joke. I went to see him to ask about some comments he made that were concerning to me, and he refused to meet with me as long as I had my phone. What kind of sheriff refuses to meet with people unless they turn off their phones? I’ll bet he doesn’t ask Brad Little to do that, or any potential big donor. He is a corporate stooge, and the people of Gem county deserve someone who will listen to the common person not just those with money.

  9. Wonder who’d be the better candidate for owyhee county. Rumor says Riha is sub optimal. Spoke with Kendrick, he talks a great game. Would Idaho Dispatch be willing to have them both fill out a freedom index questionnaire?

    1. Larry Kendrick has done an excellent job of cleaning up the Owyhee County Sheriffs office after the former Sheriff resigned amidst an 86 page Attorney General Misconduct investigation which The Idaho Dispatch did an indeoth article on and posted the entire report. The opponent in the race quit the sheriffs department with the disgraced sheriff and went to work for him once again at his hotdog stand. Kendrick has a 30 year career in law enforcement and has served the citizens of Owyhee County for the “
      Last 11 years . Kendrick will defend your individual as well as second Ammendment rights. He is a Christian Conservative Republican . His track record over the last year as Sheriff have been exemplary . He cleaned up the jail mess left by the former Sheriff and has increased revenue by increasing bed rental to other surrounding areas this has alleviated a lot of the burden of the cost of running a jail on the taxpayers in Owyhee county . If you want to see an example of a solid Conservative Leader who will Protect Serve and defend your rights Vote May 21 for Sheriff Larry Kendrick

  10. Sheriff Kendrick is an amazing man. I was his partner for years and can tell you first hand, he is the most well rounded person for the job. He is an extreme supporter of 2A! But above all, he supports God, Country, Family. I absolutely love that man! And he loves Owyhee County!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *