Human Rights

Racists on the Ballot: Hard-Right Radicals Run in 2006

Across America, right-wing radicals are running for everything from national political office to a county mosquito control board.
In 1989, notorious white supremacist David Duke ran for a vacant seat in the Louisiana state legislature and won. Despite repeated efforts -- and winning more than 670, 000 votes, a majority of the state's white voters, in a 1991 gubernatorial bid -- Duke would fail to convert this electoral victory into higher office. But the former Klan leader remains convinced that the road to national power for those who share his views runs through local and state assemblies. At last year's European American Conference, a racist pow-wow Duke organizes annually, he implored audience members to enter politics -- and start small.

"State representative races can be won with modest budgets and small staffs, while affording the winner possible major media attention and the ability to file and promote legislation that can materially improve our people's plight," proclaimed Duke, citing personal experience.

"Most importantly, a state representative office is winnable for political novices and provides an excellent springboard for higher office."

This electoral strategy for building an extremist political movement in the U.S. was recently echoed by neo-Nazi John Ubele in an essay posted on the website of the Nationalist Coalition, a white nationalist group. In "The 2006 Elections: A Call to Action," Ubele expounds upon the positive uses of local campaigns, even failed ones, in helping lay the groundwork for a "national pro-White political party." These include heightened exposure for extremist ideas and organizational and management experience for activists.

One extremist who has gained both exposure and experience in 2006 is Larry Darby. As a candidate in a two-way Democratic primary race for attorney general of Alabama, Darby lived up to his recently earned reputation as an anti-Semite and Holocaust denier. While campaigning, Darby made headlines by stating the Holocaust did not occur, telling an Associated Press reporter that no more than 140,000 Jews died in Europe during World War II, most killed by typhus. His outspoken atheism -- and support for legalizing marijuana -- pushed Darby even further outside the conservative mainstream of Alabama politics.

Yet, despite his views, his (later abandoned) atheism, and his near total lack of resources, Darby managed to poll 44% of the vote -- more than 163,000 votes.

While some of the lessons of Darby's success are particular to the race -- Darby ran against a political unknown, was listed first on the ballot, and was at least a vaguely familiar name to many Alabamians -- one lesson from his race and those of David Duke applies across the country: Dark-horse candidates with extremist views and unsavory allies can make surprisingly strong runs for office and poison public discourse in the process.

What follows are snapshots of 2006 political races featuring candidates that have espoused extremist views or are allied with hate groups.

Ray McBerry (Georgia)
Office sought: Governor

As the far-right anti-establishment candidate in Georgia's Republican gubernatorial primary, Ray "States' Rights" McBerry urged voters to back his vision of a return to "the Bible and the Constitution." The 38-year-old president of Dixie Broadcasting and hate group leader positioned himself against both "the downtown Atlanta establishment" and "the federal leviathan in Washington," fusing strident anti-immigrant rhetoric with paeans to God and the Old South.

McBerry is chairman of the Georgia branch of the racist League of the South and has ties to the extremist Constitution Party, which includes many radicals who seek to impose Old Testament law on the United States. He is also tied to the neo-Confederate Southern Party of Georgia. If elected, he promised to hold a state referendum on the return of the Georgia state flag of 1956, which included a small representation of the Confederate battle flag and was adopted as a symbolic protest against early civil rights advances such as the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision to desegregate schools.

The longest plank on McBerry's platform was his plan to end illegal immigration, which he called a threat to Georgia's "way of life". He promised to secure state borders using "all ... resources at our disposal" and to apprehend undocumented immigrants residing in the state, which already has some of the toughest anti-immigration legislation in the country. To accomplish this purge, McBerry cryptically called for the use of "numerous state departments ... not currently involved." Once rounded up, McBerry wanted to bill Washington for expenses accrued holding the prisoners "until they are removed from Georgia." In May, McBerry spoke at an anti-immigration rally in Montgomery, Ala., in which participants waved baseball bats and shouted anti-Mexican slurs.

On July 18, McBerry lost his primary bid to incumbent Gov. Sonny Perdue, taking 11.6% of the total, or 48,444 votes.

Shawn Stuart (Montana)
Office sought: State House of Representatives

How does a Republican candidate for the Montana House of Representatives get his own party to disown him and back the Democrat, even before a Democrat has been nominated? Ask Shawn Stuart. The 24-year-old Iraq veteran from Butte neglected to mention his involvement in the neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement during his interview with local Republican leaders. When reports of Stuart's extremist activities surfaced in the March 25 issue of the Montana Standard, it was too late for his affiliation to be changed; he and the state Republican Party were stuck with each other. On April 10, the Montana GOP announced it would back the Democratic candidate in District 76, which contains around 3,000 registered voters.

Chuck Butler, a state Republican spokesman, told the Missoula News that had the party known about Stuart's extremist ties, it would not have welcomed him.
Stuart's activities were not that deep a secret. In the first weeks of 2006, two months before he announced his candidacy to applause at a Republican event, Stuart was openly listed as the contact for the newly established Montana chapter of the NSM, the nation's largest neo-Nazi organization. Stuart had by then also posted numerous articles on extremist websites and appeared as a guest on "The Hal Turner Show," a violently neo-Nazi shortwave program beamed out of New Jersey.

Don Goldwater (Arizona)
Office sought: Governor

"I need 643 $5 contributions in the next few weeks or the likelihood of an AZ/Mexico border fence ever being built is in perilous jeopardy."

So declared the website of Don Goldwater in late June. The plea captures both the anti-immigrant populism of the candidate and the regional backlash against illegal aliens that Goldwater hopes to ride into the governor's mansion.

Like the uncle Barry whose name he does not hesitate to invoke -- "The name you know. The name you trust" is among his campaign slogans -- Don Goldwater is no stranger to controversy. In June, Goldwater made headlines calling for illegal immigrants to be rounded up and sent to "work camps" where they would construct a wall along the border and "clean the areas of the Arizona desert that they're polluting."

Goldwater's statement was immediately condemned by U.S. Rep. Jim Kolbe and Sen. John McCain, both Republicans of Arizona, who said the candidate's statements reflected "a stunning lack of respect for the basic values of a generous and decent society."

If he makes it past the Sept. 12 primary, Goldwater promises to deploy the Arizona National Guard along the Mexican border as his first act in office.

John Ubele (Florida)
Office sought: Pasco County Mosquito Control Board

Twenty-eight-year-old John Ubele wants to help rid Pasco County of mosquitoes. Judging by his ties to a succession of neo-Nazi groups, mosquitoes are just the beginning. Indeed, Ubele sees his election to the Pasco Mosquito Control Board as the first step on the way to state and national office.

"Let's make 2006 the year we explode onto the political scene," wrote Ubele on the website of the neo-Nazi Nationalist Coalition (this breakaway group was recently formed by the Tampa and Denver chapters of National Vanguard, which itself earlier split off from the neo-Nazi National Alliance). "Every other race has politicians in office which represent their interests. It's time [whites] have politicians to represent ours."

To become one of those politicians, Ubele will first have to unseat five-time incumbent Rosemary Mastrocolo, a retired nurse. "I don't know what he knows about mosquito control," Mastrocolo told the St. Petersburg Times. "He hasn't gone to any meetings."

James Hart (Tennessee)
Office sought: U.S. House of Representatives

Notorious eugenicist James Hart, after being kicked off the ballot by the executive committee of the Tennessee Republican Party in March, is mounting a write-in campaign in the state's 8th Congressional District.

In 2004, Hart won 78% in the Republican primary and polled 60,000 votes in the general election despite losing to Democrat John Tanner. Two years later, Hart is once again vowing to keep "less favored races" from passing on their "poverty genes," thus turning America into "one big Detroit." Hart, 62, has argued that if American society had been integrated before the mid-20th century, the automobile, the airplane and the light bulb would never have been invented.

In his "Eugenics Manifesto," he declares: "Equality is man's most dangerous myth. All men do not have an equal right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Only the ethical, moral and law abiding have a right to liberty; only the productive and creative have a right to life; and only the wise have a right to the pursuit of happiness."

Glenn Miller (Missouri)
Office sought: U.S. House of Representatives

A former member or leader of the National Socialist Party of America, the Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, the Confederate Knights of the Ku Klux Klan and the White Patriot Party, Miller is running this year as a write-in candidate in Missouri's 7th Congressional District after being denied ballot access as a Democrat. The website of the former Green Beret, whty.org ("Let's get er done!! VOTE WHITE!!"), features links to the sites of David Duke, the White Patriot Party, the National Alliance, and Stormfront.org, a clearinghouse for neo-Nazi news and views.

In 1986, after months of leading his White Patriot Party in paramilitary marches through several Southern cities, Miller was convicted of violating a court order that prohibited him from engaging in paramilitary activity. Evidence revealed that active-duty Marines had helped him obtain stolen military weapons. Miller responded by going underground and declaring war on the United States, "race traitors" and Center co-founder Morris Dees. He was caught months later.

Today, Miller may be best known for having fingered others on the radical right in a 1988 sedition trial. After testifying against his one-time friends and colleagues, the former truck driver served three years in prison before being freed and moving to Missouri. Despite being known as a traitor to his movement, Miller has teamed up with fellow white supremacist Alex Linder to produce a racist newspaper that has been distributed around the country.

Art Jones (Illinois)
Office sought: U.S. House of Representatives

Art Jones, an insurance broker and former National Socialist White People's Party "stormtrooper," appeared in the March Republican primary for Congress in Illinois' heavily Democratic 3rd Congressional District. Jones' opponent, retired part-time clown Ray "Spanky" Wardingly, defeated him amid low turnout.

During the campaign, both men took pains to play down their pasts. Jones, 58, told a local reporter that he is no longer a white supremacist. Although his campaign literature touted his past membership in the neo-Nazi NSWPP, he called that "ancient history."

"I [now] consider myself a white racialist," Jones clarified. "I define ... a white racialist as someone who believes in the greatness of his people's past and the destiny of his people's future."

Jones' opponent, meanwhile, who retired from professional clowning in 1995, also urged voters to forget his past. "That was a long time ago," Wardingly told The Forest Park Review. "After a while, you say, 'Enough is enough.' I just put away that little red wig."

Tony Dolz
Office sought: State Assembly

Tony Dolz has a unique biography for a vigilante border crusader. A founding member of the Minuteman Project, Dolz is a naturalized Hispanic immigrant who speaks English as a second language and is married to a naturalized immigrant from Europe. He has also spent much of his adult life in the famously liberal northern European states of Norway, Sweden and Denmark.

But none of that stopped Dolz from volunteering in the Arizona desert in April 2005 to "protect our borders" with the group that was characterized by President Bush as a "vigilante" organization, or from emerging as a rising star in southern California's anti-immigration activist scene. On June 6, Dolz won 76% of the vote in the Republican primary for California's 42nd District, which includes the greater Los Angeles enclaves of Santa Monica and Malibu.

Dolz's website prominently features a "Hall of Heroes" containing just four names - Minuteman co-founders Chris Simcox and Jim Gilchrist, U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo (the Colorado Republican who has publicly claimed that illegal aliens are coming to the United States in order to kill Americans), and Barbara Coe, who heads the California Coalition for Immigration Reform (CCIR) hate group and is also a member of the white supremacist Council of Conservative Citizens (that group has said non-white immigration is turning the U.S. population into "a slimy brown mass of glop"). Dolz's relationship with Coe is not a distant one -- he said in his candidate statement that he works for CCIR as her "national security analyst."

Randall Terry (Florida)
Office sought: State Senate
Randall Terry, the controversial founder of the anti-abortion group Operation Rescue and longtime advocate of theocracy, is challenging Republican incumbent Jim King for a state Senate seat in Florida's 8th District. Terry has earned an international reputation for his anti-abortion activism, having organized and participated in hundreds of protests resulting in more than 40,000 arrests. His most infamous acolyte, James Kopp, was charged in the 1998 assassination of a doctor near Buffalo, N.Y., and sentenced to 25 years to life.

At a 1993 anti-abortion rally in Fort Wayne, Ind., a local newspaper quoted Terry declaring, "Our goal is a Christian nation. ... We have a biblical duty; we are called by God to conquer this country. We don't want equal time. We don't want pluralism. Theocracy means God rules."
As a candidate, Terry mixes his Bible thumping with heated rhetoric against gays, immigrants and lawyers.

Austin Farley (Tennessee)
Office sought: State House of Representatives
Austin Farley, 34-year-old member of the racist Council of Conservative Citizens and co-host with James Edwards of the far-right radio program "The Political Cesspool," ran for state representative in Tennessee's 97th District. Farley's platform included a law that would make it illegal to change the names of contentious Tennessee parks and Civil War monuments, such as Jefferson Davis Park.

"The Political Cesspool" is the recipient of a Dixie Defender award from the Sons of Confederate Veterans, an extremist-led Southern heritage group, and it is regularly plugged on the white supremacist Stormfront.org website. Incredibly, the Memphis City Council also has made the show's two hosts "Honorary Memphis City Councilmen," citing their program for "outstanding contributions to the community." The program's guest list reads like a Who's Who of leading anti-Semites, white supremacists, Holocaust deniers, neofascist politicians, neo-Confederates and hate group leaders.
On Aug. 3, Farley lost his bid with just 16% of the vote.

Jimmy D. Giles (Mississippi)
Office sought: U.S. House of Representatives
The declared "anti-Zionist" and "pro-White" independent candidate for Louisiana's 3rd Congressional District, Jim Giles just wants to "be left alone to be happy and safe and productive." And the best way to accomplish this, he says, is "separating the races."

Giles, who has previously run for governor, Senate and Congress, is a former systems engineer for IBM and current Internet radio station owner and organic farmer. On his campaign website ("Working for Whites" is his slogan), he concedes that his "biggest personal flaw is my hot temper, but we need some real men in Congress and not just sissies." He goes on to complain about "the Jewish owned media," affirmative action, and a host of similar matters.

In his official platform, Giles calls for abolishing "titles of nobility" (a common goal for the radical right, many of whose adherents believe lawyers have such a title); ending of all immigration for 50 years and deportation even of those immigrants who have been amnestied; ending the ability of the "private" Federal Reserve Board to issue currency (another radical right bogeyman); and ending all relations with Israel.

In a 2004 interview with the Jackson (Miss.) Free Press, Giles called the conflict in Iraq "a war for the Jews" and added that Jews "run our country for the most part." "All politics and all life is about race," he added. "There is no escaping that reality."
Alexander Zaitchik is a journalist currently based in Moscow.
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