A Republican PR disaster looms in Illinois

The Third Congressional District of Illinois, representing parts of Chicago and its southwest suburbs, is a Democrat stronghold:  Twenty-four of the last 25 Congressional elections have gone to the Democrat, and Bernie Sanders won the Democratic primary there by 8 points over Hillary Clinton. Congressman Dan Lipinski, who has held the seat since the 2004 election, having inherited it from his father, Bill Lipinski, who first won it in 1992, is one of the few remaining  blue dog Democrats, pro-Israel and more socially conservative than the mainstream San Francisco wing of the party.

As a result, no genuine Republican seriously interested in winning office bothered filing papers to run in the Republican primary. Unfortunately, just one person did file papers to run on the Republican primary ballot, scheduled March 20th, and thus is going to appear on the November election ballot as the Republican nominee, thus guaranteed to win and carry the title of “Republican nominee for Congress.” He is a disaster, as JTA reports:

A Holocaust denier, anti-Semite and white supremacist is about to become the Republican nominee for an Illinois congressional seat.

Arthur Jones, a perennial candidate since the 1990s for the 3rd Congressional District representing parts of Chicago and its southwestern suburbs, in a political fluke is the only Republican candidate on the ballot, the Chicago Sun-Times reported Sunday. The primary will be held on March 20.

Jones, 70, is a retired insurance salesman. His website for this congressional run, Art Jones for Congressman, says by way of introduction: “I am not now, nor have I ever been a follower of any political party, though I am a registered Republican.”

A section of the site headed “Holocaust?” says that “The idea that ‘Six Million Jews’ were killed by the Nationalist Socialist government of Germany in World War II is the biggest blackest lie in history.” It also calls the Holocaust a “racket” designed to “bleed, blackmail, extort and terrorize the enemies of organized world Jewry into silence or submissiveness to Zionism and communism – both movements founded, financed and led by Jews. “

Jones is a former leader of the American Nazi Party and now heads a group called the America First Committee, which he told the Sun-Times is “open to any white American citizen of European, non-Jewish descent.”

The state and national Republican parties have no choice but to denounce him and at least tacitly endorse the Democrat incumbent. Meanwhile, expect the media and Democrats to knock themselves out with insinuations about Republicans.

This is a lesson in the need for state parties to watch the primary slates in uncompetitive districts. And it is the most embarrassing election since the 1991 Louisiana gubernatorial election runoff, featuring KKK publicity hound David Duke running against convicted felon Edwin Edwards. That race gave rise to the immortal bumper sticker: Vote for the Crook: It’s Important.”

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