Idaho gubernatorial candidate Harley Brown, known for his tough talk, dark humor and foul language, brought those qualities with him last week in an on-air verbal confrontation with Boise radio host Nate Shelman.
Shelman took the threat seriously and contacted police, according to Brown. He told the Idaho Statesman police called him Monday; he will meet with a Boise police detective Tuesday regarding the March 30 incident.
Brown, who lives in Nampa, says he wants to be taken seriously as a candidate. He has run, perennially and unsuccessfully, for several offices over the years. He frequently says he has orders from God to become president of the United States. For proof, he has a 1997 notarized statement from a bishop in Kenya confirming that “God did indeed tell Harley D. Brown that He would make him the Commander in Chief.”
Last month, Brown told the Statesman he “decided to, once again, run for Idaho governor to gain much-needed practice in governing so that I will do a better job when I become U.S. President.”
For years, the media has struggled with how to cover Brown’s campaign. When Idaho Public Television decided in 2014 to invite Brown to its televised gubernatorial primary debate, his performance went viral, became fodder for late-night talk shows and emboldened Brown to try to get his own reality TV show.
Brown was a guest on KBOI radio’s The Nate Shelman Show on Friday. Shelman told Brown he would not be invited to participate in the station’s April 14 gubernatorial debate because he did not meet the criteria of a serious candidate.
Brown did not take the news well.
“These arrogant people who run the news media decide who they are going to have and not give everybody an equal playing field,” Brown told Shelman. “When that prejudice is directed towards me it pisses me off. I would like to crucify all of them.”
Shelman responded, “I look at it as merciful. To put you on a stage and allow people to, you think laugh with you, but I think people are laughing at you. I do not want to be mean to you Harley. Believe it or not, man, I am trying. I can be mean and I do not want to be mean.”
That upset Brown more, prompting the following profanity-laced exchange:
Brown: “Well, I ought to kick your a-- you prejudice son of a b----.”
Shelman: “You are not going to.”
Brown: “I might. You got no bodyguards around you.”
Shelman: “OK, actually that is correct.”
Brown: “So you are the guy who made the decision?”
Shelman: “I am the guy who made the choice.”
Brown: Well, f--- you.
That was the end of the conversation. Brown cut short the interview and left the studio. But it was not the end Brown’s wrath.
Over the weekend, Brown sent two emails to the station, one with the subject line “die m-----f------,” the other with “death wish and mental health hazard.”
In the first email, Brown wrote he “almost kicked the living s--- out of that arrogant bastard. ... I was sitting three feet away from him. ... While I wanted to kill the son of a b---- ... I retained sufficient self discipline and never touched him.”
The second email reads, “Ever since the KBOI incident on Friday, my mind has been dominated by my killer instinct mode, which I can’t seem to be able to shake. ... I’ve decided to get some professional help from VA shrinks.”
Brown told the Statesman on Monday he has since cooled off and did not go to the Veteran’s Affairs medical center for help.
“I hate it when these media people prejudicially exclude candidates who they think might not make it, because in politics anything can happen,” Brown said.
“This guy really pissed me off. If it wasn’t for my Marine Corps self discipline I might be in jail right now for aggravated battery or attempted murder or second-degree murder. I mean I really felt like killing him because I hate that kind of stuff.”
“I was upset all weekend long,” Brown said Monday. “Today, I am OK.”
During his conversation with the Statesman, Brown repeatedly made references to violence against Shelman and the media in general but, “That doesn’t mean I am gonna do it, it means I ought to. ... There is a big difference between feeling like doing something and actually doing it.”
Brown said he would not use physical violence unless someone “touched me first.”
“If I came under attack first I would retaliate with brutal military efficiency.”
“I am not going to do anything. This is just sword rattling,” he said.
“I am not going to harm Nate. I am an angel.”
Shelman would not comment about the incident, Brown’s emails or about contacting police.
The Statesman has filed a public records request with the Boise Police Department for a copy of the report. The department denied the request on Tuesday because “this case is still under investigation.”