Settling a Score With Politics

Rex Rammell is a man with a score to settle, but for a cowboy, he's going about it in an unusual way. Instead of using a six-shooter, he's using the ballot box and running for the U. S. Senate.

Rex Rammel
Rex Rammell is running for U.S. Senate out of Idaho in pursuit of a personal victory.
(ABC News)

The former Republican, now running as an Independent, also has an unusual motive for taking to the Senate race.

Known as the Elk Man to some familiar with his story, Rammell used to own a ranch in the shadow of the great Teton Mountains.

Two summers ago some of his 160 elk escaped from the ranch. The acting governor, fearing the farmed elk could pass on disease to the wild herd, ordered officers to hunt down and kill Rammel's elk.

Rammel lost his herd and then his ranch.

"Angry? Angry is a mild way to put it," Rammell told "Good Morning America." "I've never been so mad in my life. It was a political killing. The animals were healthy. They were genetically pure. They wanted to make a statement."

Risch said the elk killing was nothing personal and the right thing to do.

"Under the circumstances there is absolutely no question," he said. "I really believed I had no choice."

Now Rammel is on the hunt, though -- and his prey? Then-governor Republican Jim Risch's dreams of winning a seat in the U.S. Senate. Rammel, a conservative, hopes to take enough votes away from Risch that it costs him the election.

The Democratic candidate for the seat, Larry LaRocco, thinks Rammell could help Idaho send a Democrat to the Senate for the first time in more than 30 years.

"Well he is off the charts, so he is going to be pulling votes from Jim Risch," a smiling LaRocco told "Good Morning America." "So that is good for me."

Rammell is unapologetic about hoping to cost the Republicans a Senate seat.

"I lost my way of life," he said. "The only thing they didn't take away from me is the fight in me."

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