Vote for anyone but neo-Nazi Republican, says GOP governor of Illinois

Vote for anyone but neo-Nazi Republican, says GOP governor of Illinois

After initially just calling on Arthur Jones to drop out of congressional race, Bruce Rauner now asks voters to cast ballots for anyone else

Neo-Nazi leader Arthur Jones speaks in Kentucky, April 2017 (YouTube screenshot)
Neo-Nazi leader Arthur Jones speaks in Kentucky, April 2017 (YouTube screenshot)

The governor of Illinois, who called on a neo-Nazi candidate for a Chicago-area congressional seat to drop out of the race, has called on voters to “vote for anybody” else.

Last week, Republican Governor Bruce Rauner denounced Arthur Jones, also a Republican and a former leader of the American Nazi Party, but declined to endorse the opposing Democratic candidate or recommend a write-in candidate for the 3rd Congressional District seat.

His response differed from Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, a former presidential candidate, who in a tweet had called on Illinois voters to “write in another candidate, or vote for the Democrat” running against Jones.

On Thursday Rauner clarified in a tweet: “To the voters of the 3rd Congressional District: vote for anybody but Arthur Jones. Nazis have no place in our country and no one should vote for him. For the media or anyone else to suggest I think otherwise is offensive and irresponsible.”

Jones won the primary for Chicago’s heavily Democratic Third Congressional District earlier this year, where Republicans are all but guaranteed to lose in the November Midterms. Democratic Rep. Dan Lipinski has served the district for nearly a decade.

Governor Bruce Rauner signs landmark anti-BDS legislation for the state of Illinois on July 23, 2015. (Bob Kusel)

The 70-year-old retired insurance salesman has been a perennial candidate for Illinois’ 3rd district since the 1990s, but didn’t make headlines until this year when he emerged as the sole Republican candidate to appear on the ballot.

Jones is a vehement Holocaust denier and former chair of the American Nazi Party; he has referred to the Jewish state as “racist criminal Zionist Israel”; and is known to orchestrate an annual “family friendly” dinner commemorating Adolf Hitler’s birthday.

In a 2012 interview with a local news site, the Oak Lawn Patch, he accused Israel and the American Jewish lobby of masterminding the September 11 attacks and called the Holocaust “the blackest lie in history” and a Jewish “international extortion racket.”

Those views have not receded. On his current campaign website, he has a page devoted to “The Holocaust Racket,” espousing bilious anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and calling Jews “blood-thirsty criminal vampires.”

Jones has little use for US President Donald Trump, who he calls “a Jew-loving fool” who has “surrounded himself with hoards of Jews including a Jew in his own family, that punk named Jared Kushner.”

During a February interview with CNN, Jones called the Holocaust “poppycock” and “a scam” run by Jews “to bleed, blackmail, extort, and terrorize their enemies.”

After clinching the nomination, the Illinois Republican Party disavowed Jones, calling a him a Nazi, and said the GOP “strongly oppose[s] his racist views and his candidacy for any public office.”

But a report in Politico last week said the the Illinois GOP had numerous opportunities to keep Jones off the ballot, but ultimately decided not to make the effort in such a heavily Democratic area. It said that in the run up to the primary, the GOP failed to recruit a candidate to challenge Jones in the vote where he went unopposed, or offer voters an alternative a write-in candidate.

Last week, Illinois Republicans let the deadline for write-in candidates expire without submitting an alternative for Jones, Politico reported, saying the ballot requirements — including obtaining 14,000 signatures — were reportedly too costly and burdensome to pursue a district dominated by Democrats.

In an interview with Politico last week, Jones bragged that he sidelined the Republicans, telling the news site “I snookered them.”

The Illinois general election will be held on November 6, 2018.

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