A Neo-Nazi Holocaust denier is set to become the Republican nominee for a congressional seat in Illinois.
The prospective candidate, Art Jones, is not a steadfast supporter of the Republican president. Ten months ago, in remarks filmed at a neo-Nazi retreat in Kentucky, he ranted about how Donald Trump had “surrounded himself with hordes of Jews including a Jew in his own family, that punk named Jared Kushner”.
“I’m sorry I voted for the son of a bitch, pardon my English,” Jones said, to applause. “I really am. I’m sorry I paid $180 out of my own pocket for three big banners that said ‘President Trump, build the wall’.”
He added: “The man has betrayed us!”
Nonetheless, Jones is now the sole Republican candidate for the third congressional district of Illinois, which includes part of Chicago and is so heavily Democratic that no other GOP candidates decided to run.
In 2016 Jones was taken off the ballot in the same district, after none of the voter signatures he needed to qualify were found to be valid, the Chicago Tribune reported.
This year, the Sun-Times reported, a lawyer for the Republican party examined Jones’s collected signatures. They appeared to be valid.
For more than 40 years, Jones has attempted to win elected office in Wisconsin and Illinois. In 1976, he received 4,765 votes in the Milwaukee mayoral election, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported.
Jones’s Nazi costume and celebrations of Hitler’s birthday, his protest against a local Holocaust museum and his presence at neo-Nazi and white supremacist events have long been documented. The Anti-Defamation League calls him “a longtime neo-Nazi”.
Jones also attempted to run for Congress in the third Illinois district in 1998. Party leaders told the Chicago Tribune then they were concerned he might win the nomination.
“If he were nominated, it would be a national embarrassment for Republicans in Cook County,” the county GOP chairman, Herb Schumann, said at the time.
On Sunday, a spokesman for the Illinois Republican party did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The chairman of the state party, Timothy Schneider, issued a statement to the Sun-Times in which he said: “We strongly oppose [Jones’s] racist views and his candidacy for any public office.”
Schneider added: “The Illinois Republican party and our country have no place for Nazis.”