Republican presidential hopefuls steer clear of Bundy ranch fight

Yet Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and former Arkansas Governor and 2008 presidential candidate Mike Huckabee are the only big-name GOP stars to have spoken out on the dispute so far.

Tea Party favorite Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has been silent, and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) have also not commented on Bundy, who has been fighting the federal government in and out of court for more than 20 years over his refusal to pay grazing fees.

All three offices did not respond to calls for this story.

GOP strategists suggested that Bundy’s case is far too risky for most candidates eyeing the presidency, particularly given the possibility of armed conflict with federal police.

“The Republican Party’s very sympathetic to Cliven Bundy’s property rights, states’ rights argument,” said strategist Ford O’Connell, who worked on John McCain’s 2008 campaign. “But many Republicans also prize the rule of law above all else. Right or wrong, Bundy had his day in court and lost.”