An independent candidate who has jumped into an Illinois congressional race in which the GOP has disavowed its neo-Nazi nominee said Arthur Jones showed up to his campaign announcement to challenge him to a debate on whether the Holocaust happened.
The state’s 3rd congressional district is currently represented by Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.), a pro-life member of the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition who fended off a primary challenge from a progressive candidate. Republicans didn’t offer up a challenger in the primary, so Jones, the sole candidate, won. He received 20,681 votes.
Justin Hanson, a former Republican staffer on Capitol Hill who now works as an attorney, has vowed the “hardest working, most motivated, and sincerest write-in campaign ever launched for a seat in the United States House of Representatives.”
“Our campaign was formed to take a stand against an avowed member of the Nazi Party who seeks to capture this District’s seat in Congress. His name is Art Jones, and he is a proud white supremacist, Holocaust denier, and hateful bigot,” says Hanson on his website. “He is a peddler of the same hatred this country defeated in two World Wars, and he is emboldened by the nearly 21,000 votes he tricked the good people of the District into giving him in the March primary. It is appalling that, yes, we will see his name on the ballot this November.”
Hanson told MSNBC that he was “given a head’s up” that Jones “might be coming to confront me at the rally that was in my backyard” Saturday — just some friends and family to hear Hanson announce his write-in bid.
Hanson said Jones, standing on the sidewalk outside his home, challenged him “on the idea that he tricked voters into voting for him in the primary.”
“I asked him to leave my home. He challenged me to a debate on the Holocaust… which is ridiculous,” he added.
The Chicago Tribune reported that Jones shouted “you want to debate the Holocaust, I’ll debate the Holocaust,” while Hanson told Jones of his American flag baseball cap, “You don’t deserve to wear that hat.”
Hanson told MSNBC that Lipinski is “a nice man but he’s a longtime incumbent, 13 years in office, he doesn’t have a good track record as far as his legislative accomplishments go and he’s just inadequately represented the district.”
“The second reason why we’re running is because it’s just important to my wife and me that in today’s day and age, they’re able to be a good example to our kids about what it means to stand up to hatred,” he added.
Continued Hanson, “I think if we are able to win in November, I think it would send a loud signal to the rest of the country — the voters of my district would send a loud signal to the rest of the country that people are tired of this gridlock, they’re tired of the partisanship because we feel that a lot of people, Republicans and Democrats, just don’t see themselves reflected perfectly in either party right now. And there’s a lot of gridlock. We’re talking past one another. And we’re not getting a lot done and I think that our election would speak to that.”