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SANDPOINT, Idaho -- A white power activist campaigning to be the next sheriff in a north Idaho county hosted a cross burning last week with fellow members of the Idaho Ku Klux Klan.

Thirty-three-year-old Shaun Winkler is also defending the act, calling it a historic ritual steeped in Christian roots.

Winkler has been a member of the Aryan Nations and is a KKK imperial wizard. He is also courting voters in hopes of becoming the next Bonner County sheriff.

Mediareports show that Winkler let media attend the cross burning ceremony at his Priest River home Friday.

Winkler says his ties to white power groups would not influence decisions if elected sheriff. He has framed his campaign around the message of cracking down on drugs and sex offenders.

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