After analysts predicted 2018 could be a bumper year for white supremacists running for office, there were concerns that these neo-fascists would take their first real step toward power in the Trump era during Tuesday’s primaries.
Despite white supremacists’ growing prominence in recent years, however, Tuesday’s results didn’t bring those candidates any closer to power — although some have vowed to run for office again.
The most high-profile, or at least strangest, white supremacist running for office was Patrick Little, who was seeking the Republican nomination for California’s Senate seat.
Little embraced many of the baseline white supremacist views — rank anti-Semitism, an endorsement from David Duke, calls for the “Balkanization” of America — but he also took his thirst for attention further than most. For instance, after being booted from the California GOP convention earlier this year, Little released a video spitting and stomping on the Israeli flag.
Initially, Little actually seemed like he’d tapped into an audience willing to back his fascistic views. One April poll found that some 20 percent of California voters would be supporting his campaign — enough to land him on the ballot in November to face Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D). Shortly thereafter, a series of robocalls backing Little and laced with anti-Semitic epithets — eventually tracked by the Spokesman-Review back to a racist holing up in northern Idaho — covered California.
All of that attention, though, appears to have backfired, cratering Little’s bizarre campaign. On Tuesday, Little landed in a distant 12th place. While he still managed to earn just under 55,000 votes, enough for 1.4 percent of the vote, seven other Republicans earned higher returns, all falling short of Feinstein and State Sen. Kevin de Leon (D).
In keeping with his conspiratorial racism, though, Little has vowed that he won’t give up — and that he’ll challenge the results wholesale. As he said in a video released Wednesday, Little believes he actually may have won the race, but that “Jewish supremacists and the Zionists” under-counted his votes. He added that he will be filing a lawsuit challenging the vote results, and that he’s planning on running for president in 2020.
Elsewhere, a race out of Alabama saw an avowed anti-Semite come closer than Little to victory, but still end up falling short. Jim Bonner, running for a position as Alabama public service commissioner — a position that helps regulate utilities in the state — lost to incumbent Jeremy Oden in a GOP run-off.
Bonner never gained much national notoriety, but his social media posts in Alabama created a local firestorm over the past few months. As AL.com cataloged, some of those posts include “a picture of a card reading ‘my love 4 u burns like 6,000 jews’ with a picture of Adolf Hitler. [Bonner] captioned it, ‘Awwwww I got a Valentine!!!”‘
The Alabama Political Reporter also unearthed other posts from Bonner full of sexist, racist rhetoric. “In several posts, [Bonner] likes the use of the N-word and jokes about African-Americans in derogatory posts,” the Reporter found.
The defeats follow a string of other embarrassments for white nationalists, including the announcement from Austin Gillespie, who goes by Augustus Invictus, that he would be dropping out of Florida’s Senate primary entirely.
It hasn’t all been defeat for white supremacists seeking positions in recent elections, however. To wit, neo-Nazi Arthur Jones recently won an uncontested GOP primary for one of Illinois’ congressional seats. And as The Daily Beast reported this week, James Allsup, a notorious white supremacist who participated in last year’s violent “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, won a position as precinct committee officer for the Whitman County, Washington, Republican Party.
Since no one challenged his candidacy, the position was automatically awarded to Allsup, who was recently suspended from Twitter for his white supremacist, fascistic views.