State Sen. Antonio Munoz on Friday denounced a member of the far-right Proud Boys who was present for the riot at the U.S. Capitol and now plans to challenge the Chicago Democrat in next year’s election.
Edgar “Remy Del Toro” Gonzalez told the Sun-Times this week that he intends to run as an independent against Munoz, whose 1st District covers portions of the South and West sides.
In a statement, Munoz said Gonzalez’s announcement amounts to “a hate-fueled threat to my district from someone who’s already shown his reprehensible, un-American behavior.” He said it was ironic his plans were made known as Illinois lawmakers were authorizing a wider use of mail-in voting in future elections and other provisions to make voting easier.
”On the day we passed a bill that would expand voting rights, a racist Proud Boy who attacked our democracy at the U.S. Capitol announced he wants to run for office,” said Munoz, who co-founded the Latino Caucus and has held the seat since 1999.
“This isn’t a campaign announcement.”
Gonzalez previously led the Chicago chapter of the Proud Boys and is still affiliated with its overarching Northern Illinois contingent. He said he had started collecting signatures to get on the ballot, but state election rules prevent independent candidates running in next year’s election from circulating petitions before March 29, 2022 — meaning any signatures Gonzalez has already collected are worthless.
Told he couldn’t legally circulate petitions yet, Gonzalez said he was “looking into it.”
Asked about the statement from Munoz, Gonzalez, who is also Latino, said the senator made a “big mistake throwing the racist card.”
But he didn’t immediately respond directly to the harsh criticism about his attending the Jan. 6 insurrection.
That day, Gonzalez was caught on tape congregating outside the Capitol as scores of people stormed the building in an apparent attempt to prevent Congress from certifying Joe Biden as the winner of the presidential election.
At one point, he was seen standing near Joseph Biggs, a Proud Boys leader who is now facing federal charges, including conspiracy, for his alleged role in the assault on the Capitol.
Members of the Proud Boys have become key targets in the sprawling investigation of the Capitol attack, which left five people dead.Gonzalez previously marched alongside the Proud Boys’ embattled chairman, Enrique Tarrio, during the Million MAGA March last November in Washington, D.C.
And he also attended a downtown rally on Thanksgiving that was led by Ali Alexander, a right-wing activist who organized the nationwide “Stop the Steal” movement and encouraged Trump supporters to rally outside the Capitol.
State Rep. Bob Morgan, D-Deerfield, also slammed Gonzalez’s announcement in a tweet that doubled as a rebuke of fellow state Rep. Chris Miller, an Oakland Republican who was condemned last week by the Illinois House and accused of standing “with the insurrectionists” and helping to incite the Capitol riot.“
“Having one supporter of insurrection in the IL General Assembly is already one too many,” said Morgan, who sponsored the resolution to condemn Miller.Miller, the husband of Republican U.S. Rep. Mary Miller, came under scrutiny after his pick-up truck was spotted Jan. 6 in Washington, D.C., bearing the symbol of the Three Percenters, a far-right militia group accused of participating in the insurrection.
During a Facebook live broadcast of a rally of President Donald Trump supporters that day, Miller said they were “engaged in a great cultural war to see which worldview will survive. Whether we will remain a free people under free market capitalism or whether they will put us under the tyranny of socialism and communism and dangerous Democrat terrorists.”