Across the country, including here in Illinois, a handful of white supremacist and conspiracy theorists have made it onto ballots this November. A man in a Chicago-area congressional district launched a write-in campaign Wednesday because he found the Republican beyond the pale.
Saying he wants to give voters another option, Justin Hanson, a former Republican congressional staffer, has launched an independent write-in campaign.
“I know this is a longshot but this is important for people to step forward against men like this,” Hanson said.
Hanson was speaking about Arthur Jones, the Republican nominee for Illinois’ 3rd Congressional District. Jones is an avowed Nazi.
The Democrat on the ballot is seven-term Congressman Dan Lipinski, who inherited the seat from his father, William Lipinski.
“I’m also running against two people’s whose names are going to be on the ballot,” Hanson said. “Mine’s not going to be there but we do think that this a moment and I think that people understand this race is one of consequence.”
The Illinois Republican Party failed to recruit a candidate for the 3rd District primary so Jones, a Holocaust denier, ran unopposed.
Jones does not hide his views. His website is a treasure trove of anti-Jewish posts.
“That Art Jones, and some of the things that he stands for, and openly stands for, still can so prominently exist and have such a platform in 2018 is unacceptable,” Hanson said.
In a statement to WGN News, Congressman Lipinski said, “Art Jones must be rejected by voters because of the vile, bigoted, anti-Semitic rhetoric and policies that he supports.”
Jones is not the only Republican with separate mainstream. Bill Fawell, challenging Democratic Congresswoman Cheri Bustos, in downstate Illinois appears to support 9-11 conspiracy theories and more.
In this video, he calls America a “Banana Republic.”
The state party has denounced both Jones and Fawell.
“From the moment Arthur Jones announced his run for Congress, Illinois Republican Party Chairman Tim Schneider, along with other Republican leaders, swiftly and strongly condemned his candidacy and his hateful views,” said Travis Sterling, Illinois Republican Party Executive Director. “Bill Fawell and his outrageous lies and conspiracy theories do nothing but disrespect the families of the victims lost in a national tragedy.”
The Illinois GOP is condemning Fawell and Jones, but the fact is in the case of Jones, he was able to make it to ballot because the party didn’t field a candidate in the heavily Democratic district. In the absence of candidates, the fringe emerged.