WASHINGTON — An outspoken Holocaust denier, activist anti-Semite and white supremacist who in 2018 was the GOP nominee for a Chicago-area congressional seat filed petitions Monday to run again in the Republican primary in March.
Arthur Jones, of suburban Lyons, won the GOP nomination in 2018 because he was the only Republican on the 3rd District primary ballot. In the general election, he was easily beaten by Rep. Dan Lipinski, D-Ill., but received about 26 percent of the vote even after his views were exposed.
Jones in 2020 will not be alone on the GOP primary.
Monday was the last day to file nominating petitions for federal and local government offices appearing on the March primary ballot in Illinois. People running to be president and presidential delegates file in January.
Will County GOP Board member Mike Fricilone announced a congressional bid earlier this year. And Monday, Catherine O’Shea, a real estate broker from Oak Lawn, also filed petitions to run in the GOP primary. O’Shea told the Sun-Times she kicked off her congressional campaign with the filing of her petitions.
Illinois Republican Party chairman Tim Schneider said in a statement the party “vehemently condemns Arthur Jones’ candidacy. His racism and bigotry have no place in our party or American politics. As we did in 2016 and 2018, we will oppose his candidacy in every way possible.”
Fricilone told the Chicago Sun-Times in an interview that Jones’ filing is not surprising, given his pattern of running for public office. “It is unfortunate that we have someone with his views and thoughts that runs,” he said.
A reason Fricilone said he got in the primary contest is “to have a credible candidate” on the ballot.
Cook County GOP Chairman Sean Morrison in a statement on Twitter blasted Jones and urged “Republican voters in the 3rd Congressional District to back Will County Board Member Mike Fricilone — a principled, conservative Republican — candidate for Congress”
Jones did not have his petitions challenged in 2018 after Republicans decided they would probably pass muster. Jones ran for the 3rd District GOP nomination eight times before — so it was predictable he would try again in 2020.
In 2018, when he won the primary, embarrassed Republican leaders were stuck with Jones, whose candidacy, after it was disclosed by the Sun-Times, drew global attention.
The heavily Democratic district takes in parts of 11 Southwest Side Chicago wards and portions of western suburbs.
Jones is a retired insurance agent who has unsuccessfully run for elected offices in the Chicago area and Milwaukee since the 1970s.
He ran for Milwaukee mayor in 1976 and 13th Ward alderman on Chicago’s Southwest Side in 1987.
If Jones is on the ballot, “as long as we get out to the public what his views are and what mine are, I don’t think we should have a problem,” Fricilone said.
Fricilone has not done much fundraising. As of Sept. 30, Fricilone’s campaign had $775.84 cash on hand, according to the FEC.
Jones has not filed with the FEC, indicating he has not done any substantial fundraising or spending. His campaign website includes a section on Holocaust denial.
Fricilone, who lives in Homer Glen, is in his third term on the board, where he is the minority leader.
The Democrats who have been running in the March primary — the incumbent Lipinski, of Western Springs; Marie Newman, of LaGrange; and Rush Darwish, of Palos Hills — were joined Monday by Charles Hughes, a Southwest Side resident.
The more rivals on the ballot increases Lipinski’s chances of being renominated.
Hughes, who ran for 23rd Ward alderman in 2015 but never made it on the ballot, has not filed with the FEC and has no signs he is running a campaign.
In other filing news, in the 14th District, which takes in suburbs west and north of Chicago, freshman Rep. Lauren Underwood faces no Democratic primary opponent; seven Republicans filed for the nomination to flip the seat back to the GOP. Underwood is the most vulnerable Democratic incumbent in Illinois.
The fight to take on Underwood will be the biggest GOP Chicago area primary congressional contest.