O.Q. ‘Chris’ Johnson, 71; States’ Rights Backer Ran for Office in Nevada

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

O.Q. “Chris” Johnson, a longtime advocate of states’ rights and Independent American Party candidate for Nevada attorney general, died Aug. 11 at Tahoe Pacific Hospital in Sparks, Nev., after a “serious and sudden illness,” his son, Chris Johnson, an Elko city councilman, told the Elko Daily Free Press.

He was 71.

Johnson was active in the so-called Sagebrush Rebellion in the 1980s and was one of the organizers of the “Shovel Brigade” that protested federal protection of the threatened bull trout, helping lead efforts to reconstruct by hand a washed-out bridge on the Jarbidge River.

Johnson said his candidacy for attorney general was based on federal land management policies that he said were “punitive and unfair” and on “harassment” by federal agencies.


He said Nevada had a “rightful role” to assume ownership and management of federal lands.

Born near Rapid City, S.D., in the town of Belle Fourche, he attended high schools in South Dakota and New Jersey, graduating in Hackensack, N.J.

He studied mechanical engineering at the University of Nevada at Reno.