Proud white-supremacist, holocaust denier, Nazi, and insurance salesman Art Jones is running unopposed for the Republican nomination in the Illinois 3rd Congressional District.
Art Jones, Republican Nazi
The Illinois 3rd district is a solidly Democratic congressional seat, which has made it historically difficult for the Illinois GOP to recruit candidates.
“There aren’t very many people who want to go through the time and the effort to become the sacrificial lamb in these districts,” Illinois Republican chairman Tim Schneider told NPR.
Even though a victory is unlikely, Art Jones has had long-term designs on being the Republican standard-barer in the relatively high-profile race. He is thought to have run at least five times previously for the seat since 1998.
Schneider and the other Illinois Republicans have previously managed to keep Art Jones off the ballot, challenging the validity of his petition signatures in 2016. This time the signatures were fine, and so far they have yet to find another technicality that would allow them to remove Jones as their candidate.
“We’ve tried to do everything we possibly could to prevent this person from getting on the ballot,” Schneider explained.
But the bigger failure for the GOP is not recruiting an opponent to run against Jones for the Republican nomination. With the December filing date firmly in the rear-view mirror, the only way Jones could lose the March 20 primary is against a write-in candidate
Art Jones, a history
On his official campaign website, Art Jones claims, “I am not now, nor have I ever been a follower of any political party, though I am a registered Republican.”
The last part is true – he is a Republican – but Jones’ claim to not have ever been a follower of a political party is at best disingenuous.
As an experienced white-supremacist there is plenty of detailed information about Jones past political activity online, collected by various anti-racism groups.
According to the Anti-Defamation League website:
“In April 2008, Jones spoke at a Chicago event celebrating Hitler’s birthday staged by the neo-Nazi American National Socialist Worker’s Party (ANSWP), a now-defunct neo-Nazi organization. From April through June 2008, Jones was listed as the “pro temp” leader of the ANSWP’s Northern Illinois unit…Jones has been active in several groups throughout the last few decades, including the conspiratorial and anti-Semitic Populist Party, the National Socialist White People’s Party and, briefly, the American Nazi Party. In 1980, he left the American Nazi Party and revived the America First Committee, a group he said he founded ‘to combat the dual evils of Communism and Zionism.'”
So perhaps there have been a some parties Jones has been a follower of besides the Republicans. Just a few.
But while Jones might deny connections to other parties on his website, he does not deny the main allegation that he is a racist, white supremacist, holocaust denier, or pretty much any other horrible thing you might want to think about him.
There is an entire page on his website entitled “Holocaust?” which shows a series of text-heavy flyers Jones has written and circulated in the name of a group called “Veterans of Jewish Wars.”
He also proudly exhibits pictures of himself saluting the grave of Senator Eugene McCarthy, and giving a Nazi salute at an anti-Israel, pro-Iran rally.
Republicans in a mess
If it were not for the fact that this mess is largely of their own making, it might be possible to almost feel sorry for the Illinois Republicans. Schneider blames gerrymandering for creating noncompetitive districts that Republicans do not want to run in, but Republican-controlled state legislators have been redistricting with overt partisanship for over a decade now. Part of the gerrymandering process is ‘packing’ – creating districts with abnormally high numbers of voters who support your opponents, leaving fewer of their supporters in surrounding districts.
Thankfully Art Jones will not run unopposed in the general election in November. Incumbent and favourite Daniel Lipinski will face Marie Newman in the Democratic primary in March. Independent candidate Mat Tomkowiak, who describes himself on his Twitter account as a “Single-Payer and Proportional Representation Advocate.” will also be on the ballot.