JTA — The Illinois Republican Party is ramping up efforts to make voters aware that a man who identifies as a neo-Nazi is running for a Chicago-area congressional seat.
Arthur Jones, a former leader of the American Nazi Party, ran for the same seat in 2018. He was the Republican nominee after running unopposed in the primary. He received over a quarter of the votes in the general election.
Jones will appear on the ballot in the March primary. But signers of his ballot petition told the Chicago Sun-Times that Jones never mentioned that he was a former leader of the American Nazi Party, denies that the Holocaust happened and holds white supremacist views.
Jones has said that his views on the Holocaust are a non-issue.
“It never comes up. When I got my signatures, nobody asked me about the damn Holocaust,” Jones told the Sun-Times in 2018. “It’s totally irrelevant to my campaign. Totally irrelevant.”
The executive director of the Illinois Republican Party, Anthony Sarros, told the Sun-Times that the party is planning an awareness campaign that could include digital advertising, Facebook ads or a mailing ahead of the primary to highlight Jones’ beliefs and remind voters that there are two other Republicans running in the primary.
“We want to make sure that the Republicans, Democrats, any Illinois citizens know that this is not a candidate that we support and we don’t want him winning the election,” Sarros said. “… We hate this. we don’t want this to happen and now I kind of want to know how this happened and how do we prevent this.”
Gov. Bruce Rauner, a Republican, denounced Jones but declined to endorse the opposing Democratic candidate, who ultimately won the election. Rauner lost his re-election bid in the same vote to J. B. Pritzker, who is Jewish.