Arthur Jones, a Republican in Illinois’s 3rd Congressional District, will likely be positioned as the area's GOP nominee for a congressional seat. Jones is running for the nomination unopposed, despite his openly anti-Semitic and Holocaust denying rhetoric and his membership in neo-Nazi organizations.
The potential area Jones would represent includes sections of Chicago, according to The Washington Post. Even though Jones has espoused neo-Nazi beliefs in public, including on his website (which contains a section on how the Holocaust is “the biggest, blackest, lie in history"), no one has filed the paperwork to run against him. The deadline was in early December.
It seems unlikely that Jones will win the position: his area is considered “safely Democratic,” according to Ballotpedia, a site that analyzes voter data. Daniel Lipinski (incumbent) and Marie Newman are the Democratic candidates Jones will likely lose to. An independent (Mat Tomkowiak) has already withdrawn from the election.
This is Jones' seventh attempt at obtaining a congressional seat and he is, frighteningly, closer than ever.
“Well first of all, I’m running for Congress not the chancellor of Germany, all right?” Jones said to a Chicago-Times reporter. “To me, the Holocaust is what I said it is: It’s an international extortion racket.”
The GOP candidates beliefs don't end at Holocaust denial: Jones is also a member of the American National Socialist Workers Party, an offshoot of the National Socialist Movement, which is considered “one of the largest and most prominent neo-Nazi groups in the United States," by the Southern Poverty Law Center. He has previously spoken at KKK events and has been seen giving Nazi salutes and shredding the Israeli flag, according to The Huffington Post. Jones has also espoused his opinion that the "radical left" is to blame for violence accross the country, including in Charlotesville, where this summer a woman was killed by a self-professed neo-Nazi during counter-protests against alt-right demonstrations.
“The Illinois Republican Party and our country have no place for Nazis like Arthur Jones,” said Tim Schneider, the chairman of the Illinois Republican Party. “We strongly oppose his racist views and his candidacy for any public office, including the 3rd Congressional District.”
“Well, it’s absolutely the best opportunity in my entire political career,” Jones retorted. “Every time I’ve run it’s been against a Republican who follows this politically correct nonsense. This time they screwed up.”
The Illinois Republican Party and the National Republican Congressional Committee have not responded to requests for comments on the situation.
The extent to which Jones' success is indicative of a greater sea-change in the United States pertaining to the ways we treat far-right extremism is certainly debateable. Nonetheless, statistics show increases in the presence of hate group recruitment and increases in hate crimes against minorities since the Trump inauguration.
HuffPo also notes that this is the second GOP candidate who has received notable criticism for the use of hateful rhetoric running in Illinois: State Rep. Jeanne Ives, who is running in the primary for governor, was panned by less extreme Republicans after running a campaign ad that mocked transgender people and feminists. Schneider had called for an apology from Ives but has reportedly not received one.
[Photo: Screenshot via YouTube]