WASHINGTON — The Illinois Republican Party on Monday announced it was exploring “all options” to dump Holocaust denier and white supremacist Arthur Jones in the wake of a Sun-Times report that he is poised to clinch the GOP nomination for a Chicago area House seat.
Jones, 70, a retired insurance agent from suburban Lyons is running unopposed in the March 20 primary to become the 3rd Congressional District Republican nominee.
It is too late for the party to recruit someone to run. Early voting begins soon. It was supposed to start this week, but has been delayed because of unrelated unresolved ballot challenges.
Illinois Republican Party executive director Drew Collins told the Sun-Times in a statement, “going forward, the Illinois Republican Party will explore all options to oppose Mr. Jones’ candidacy — whether that be supporting an independent candidate for IL-03 after the primary, encouraging a write-in campaign, and potentially other options. Nazis have no place in our nation’s democracy, and to that end, we will continue to vehemently oppose everything Mr. Jones stands for.”
Illinois Republican Bruce Rauner, up for re-election and facing a primary challenge from state Rep. Jeanne Ives, R-Wheaton, on Monday condemned Jones.
“There is no room for Neo Nazis in American politics. I condemn this man in the strongest possible terms,” Rauner said in a statement.
What remains to be seen is whether the Illinois Republican Party, a part of Rauner’s political operation, or Rauner will actually find a write-in candidate and bankroll a campaign.
The Republican Jewish Coalition chair also floated on Monday the possibility of a write-in candidate surfacing to run against Jones.
Republican Jewish Coalition chairman Norm Coleman told the Jewish Insider, a newsletter covering the U.S. Jewish community, “I would hope there is a write-in candidate so he doesn’t get the nomination. If he does, his candidacy will be rejected by the Republican Party at every level-local, state and federal. His depraved values are not Republican values.”
According to Federal Election Commission records, Jones has not filed any reports showing he has raised any money.
Jones has been an unsuccessful candidate in a variety of offices for years, including this 3rd Congressional District seat.
Tim Schneider, chairman of the Rauner-allied Illinois Republican Party said in a statement to the Sun-Times over the weekend, “The Illinois Republican Party and our country have no place for Nazis like Arthur Jones. We strongly oppose his racist views and his candidacy for any public office, including the 3rd Congressional District.”
The state GOP party was able to knock Jones off the ballot in 2016 by challenging the signatures on his petitions. The party looked at Jones 2018 petitions and did not find a legal basis to object.
When Jones was last on the 3rd Congressional District GOP primary ballot, in 2012, he came in third in a three-man contest. He won 3,861 votes, or 11 percent, according to Illinois State Board of Elections records.
Rauner and the state party he controls made their statements about Jones as Ives on Sunday tried to extract herself from an anti-Semitic related controversy.
Ives pledged to return a campaign donation after one of her staffers retweeted from a Twitter account containing Nazi propaganda.
Jones told the Sun-Times in an interview he heads a group called the America First Committee. “Membership in this organization is open to any white American citizen of European, non-Jewish descent,” he said. The Jones campaign website contains sections devoted to Holocaust denial and white supremacy.
The heavily Democratic 3rd Congressional District takes in parts of Chicago’s southwest side and nearby southwest suburbs. Rep. Dan Lipinski, D-Ill., from Western Springs, faces challenger Marie Newman, from La Grange, in the Democratic primary.