According to The Associated Press, a Holocaust-denying Republican, Arthur Jones, won the Republican primary in Illinois' 3rd Congressional District on Tuesday. Jones, who has been condemned by his very own party members in public statements for his white supremacist beliefs — including vociferous denials of the Holocaust — ran unopposed for the seat.
In February, Jones acknowledged the fact that he had no opponents to challenge in the race while he spoke with the Chicago Sun Times. Seemingly encouraged by zero competition, Jones said, "And given the fact that I’ve got no opposition in the primary, OK, I win that one [the primary] by default, all right."
The Chicago Sun Times emphasized on Jones' previously unsuccessful campaigns. Since the 1970s, Jones has been a failed contender in different mayoral and alderman bids in Chicago and Milwaukee. But with his easy victory on Tuesday, he is now on his way to run against Democrat Rep. Dan Lipinski in the 2018 midterm election.
That said, winning that election could be a long shot as Jones has been denounced by the National Republican Congressional Committee. According to the committee's spokesman Matt Gorman who spoke with CNN, it does not plan on endorsing the Jones. With little to no official support from his own party members, Jones is likely to end up losing the midterm election.
According to various media reports, the 70-year-old has a disturbing and incendiary past; he was previously the head of the American Nazi Party and now says that he runs the American First Committee, according to the Chicago Sun Times.
In an interview with the publication, Jones boasted about his anti-Semitic beliefs and called the Holocaust an "extortion racket" run at a global level. Prior to competing for Republican primary in Illinois, Jones told the newspaper in February, "Well first of all, I’m running for Congress, not the chancellor of Germany. All right. To me the Holocaust is what I said it is: It’s an international extortion racket."
Although the Holocaust-denying politician won the support of Republican voters in the district, he has been officially denounced by Republicans within his own state. In February, the chairman of the Illinois Republican Party, Tim Schneider, released a statement about Jones that said, "The Illinois Republican Party and our country have no place for Nazis like Arthur Jones. We strongly oppose his racist views and his candidacy for any public office, including the Third Congressional District."
In February, Jones gained notoriety after a particularly intense interview with CNN host Alisyn Camerota. After Camerota asked Jones whether he was a Nazi, Jones deflected and said that he was an American "patriot" and "statesman." The interview took a controversial and even more heated turn after Camerota asked Jones' about his official website where the Republican has posted deeply anti-Semitic tirades and white supremacist myths.
On his website, Jones has shared a page titled "The Holocaust Racket" in which he says the Holocaust was "propaganda" in order to "bleed, blackmail, extort, and terrorize" people around the world. Below the anti-Semitic diatribe, Jones shared a photo of himself debating whether or not the Holocaust happened. That's not all. Further down the page, he goes on detailed rants about the "kosher food scam" and how it apparently "affects" American families. Jones has never disavowed the aforementioned views.
According to CNBC News, Jones' victory has forced the Illinois Republican party to consider an independent candidate to run for the GOP. As its chairman Schneider told the New York Times on Tuesday, "Arthur Jones is not a real Republican — he is a Nazi whose disgusting, bigoted views have no place in our nation’s discourse."