Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Bill Morlin: Far-right candidates will appear on ballots across the country this fall

  A number of candidates who hold extreme views on race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation and government have either won their primaries or appear poised to do so. Here are some of the most notable examples.

  In Colorado last week, state House candidate Gordon Klingenschmitt, who was court-martialed while a U.S. Navy chaplain and later claimed he performed an exorcism on a lesbian soldier, advanced to the general election, the Colorado Springs Gazette reported.

  Klingenschmitt runs the Pray In Jesus Name Project, which is listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center as an anti-LGBT hate group. He defeated Dave Williams in the Republican primary by about 300 votes – 52.5 percent of the vote – to earn the right to face unopposed Democrat Lois Fornander in the GOP-leaning district on Nov. 4.

  Colorado voters who backed Klingenschmitt were either unaware of or support his views that gay people are possessed by demonic spirits and that Obamacare causes cancer, according to Right Wing Watch.

  Klingenschmitt spells out many of his controversial, anti-LGBT views on his radio show, where once said, “The ultimate hate speech is to endorse homosexuality.”

  As his political career took last this week, he told the Colorado Springs newspaper: “I’m very humbled by the support of the voters. This was their campaign.”

  “The voters are rising up with me to defend the First Amendment, religious freedom, smaller government, lower taxes and the right to life,” Klingenschmitt told the newspaper. “And those are the values I will fight for in Denver.”

  In neighboring Oklahoma, Steve Kern, an evangelical pastor whose legislator wife has made incendiary comments about minorities and gay people, has advanced to an Oklahoma state Senate runoff, the Associated Press reported.

  Kern’s wife, Oklahoma State Rep. Sally Kern, is running unopposed for re-election. In 2008, she made national headlines when she said gay people pose a greater threat to the United States than terrorists. Two years ago, Sally Kern was reprimanded after denigrating blacks and women during a state House debate on an affirmative action bill.

  Steve Kern has given every indication that he shares his wife’s views and agenda. He will face anesthesiologist Ervin Yen in an Aug. 26 run-off election to decide which of the two Republican candidates will face Democrat John Handy Edwards in November.

  Yen, a Republican candidate for the Oklahoma State Senate District 40 seat, received the most votes – 39 percent of those cast for six candidates. A native of Taiwan, Yen will now have about two months to campaign against Kern to represent a district that is home to Oklahoma City’s largest community of Asian Americans.

  “As a general rule, I think in the past, the Asian population has not been very active politically,” Yen told The AP, “but I think they are trying to become more active.”

  There will be another run-off election, this one on July 22 in Georgia, where Jody Hice, a Baptist minister and radio talk show host with an anti-LGBT, anti-Muslim agenda, is seeking a spot in the U.S. House of Representatives.

  In May, Hice finished first among seven GOP candidates in the Georgia’s 10th District. Now, Hice faces Republican runner-up Mike Collins, a businessman and son of former U.S. Rep. Mac Collins. The winner of the July 22 GOP runoff will face Democrat Ken Dious in the November general election.

  “The [Republican] winner is all but guaranteed to win in November and replace U.S. Rep. Paul Broun,” the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

  In a 2012 book, Hice said Muslim’s don’t deserve First Amendment protection, the newspaper’s columnist Jay Bookman wrote last Monday.

  “Although Islam has a religious component, it is much more than a simple religious ideology,” Hice wrote in his book. “It is a complete geo-political structure and, as such, does not deserve First Amendment protection.”

  Bookman wrote: “Hice believes that the Muslim Brotherhood is infiltrating the United States, with the intent to impose Sharia law on all of us. He also believes that it’s fine for women to seek political office, at least if certain conditions are met. “If the woman’s within the authority of her husband, I don’t see a problem,” he told the Athens Banner-Herald in 2004.”

  “Given all that,” the newspaper columnist said, “it will not surprise you to learn that Hice would eagerly vote to impeach President Barack Obama. He also believes that gay people are engaged in a plot to convert our young people to homosexuality, and that ‘homosexuals have a right to be married; they just don’t have the right to marry each other.’”

  Hice apparently is feeling the heat generated by his comments.

  “To clarify, the comments made in my book were only directed toward radical Islamists that plot to wage war on our country and harm our people,” Hice said in a statement posted on his web site. “If my opponent disagrees with me there, I am positive he’ll find himself in a bind on election day.”

  In another race of note, one-time Constitutional Party presidential candidate Michael Anthony Peroutka – a past board member of the racist League of the South – received the most votes in the Republican primary to represent District 5 on the Anne Arundel, Md., County Council.

  Peroutka leads Maureen Carr-York by 36 votes, 2,253 to 2,217, according to election returns, the Capitol Gazette reports. The final winner will be announced pending the counting the absentee ballots.

  Another political candidate with ties to the League of the South was turned down this week by voters in his attempt to win a seat as a Democrat on Maryland’s Anne Arundel County Council.

  David Whitney, the League’s “chaplain,” was soundly defeated by Democrat Patrick Armstrong who got 64.7 percent of the vote in the county’s Democratic primary, election results show.

  Peroutka and the League appear to be attempting to extend the reach of their neo-Confederate views in Maryland.

  Peroutka contributed $4,000 to the political campaign of Carroll County Commissioner Richard Rothschild, a Republican who’s seeking re-election, the Carroll County Times reports.

  Rothschild said he was “shocked and honored” to receive the campaign contribution which he believes came because of his position on property and gun rights.

  Rothschild, who writes a column for Peroutka’s Institute on the Constitution website, defended Peroutka’s involvement in the League of the South, the Maryland newspaper said.

  “Michael Peroutka is a good and decent Christian conservative,” Rothschild told the newspaper.

  This article was published by the Southern Poverty Law Center through its Hatewatch blog.

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