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Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Nazi Runs for Idaho Small Town Mayor

Amazing but true. The town of Hayden used to require 40 signatures to get on the ballot, but reduced it to 5 and the crackpots are coming out of the walls.

This, from Yahoo news service:

Elderly Neo-Nazi Makes Last Stand in U.S. Town
Tue Oct 28, 2:39 PM ET

By Martin Johncox
BOISE, Idaho (Reuters) - At age 85, white supremacist Richard Butler is making what might be one last stand -- he is running for mayor of Hayden, the 9,000-population town where he has long been a flashpoint of controversy.

Butler, the former head of the neo-Nazi Aryan Nations, a group whose membership has dwindled to a handful, says now is the time for him to run but his opponents say he will only win a few votes in next Tuesday's election. They say that his anti-Semitic and anti-black views have brought disgrace to the town.

But Butler says, "This is the right time, because a lot of the people moving here are trying to leave the so-called racial diversity of California. We have to return back what made this nation great, and racial separation is one of those things. We're going to try for governor next time."

Butler moved to northern Idaho from California in the early 1970s because Idaho is mostly white and he thought it would make a good place from which to launch a race struggle.

Butler's home, marked by a "Whites Only" sign, barbed wire and occasional cross burnings, drew racist and neo-Nazi pilgrims from around the world, and the town of Hayden became synonymous with the Aryan Nations.

For the many who did not share his philosophy, Butler was a local disgrace. "There's only a few of them in town and they live in the same house, but this one person has brought such a bad reputation to Idaho and northern Idaho. It's a sad thing," said Mayor Ron McIntire, a grocery store owner and Butler's political opponent in the mayoral election.

"I don't think he has any hopes of winning anything. It's just a forum to get all his garbage out again."

Butler handed over the leadership of the Aryan Nations in 2001, a year after he sold his 20-acre (8-hectare) compound to pay a $6.3 million court verdict in favor of a woman and her son attacked by Aryan Nations guards.

White supremacists have had little luck running for office. Several years ago, a Butler supporter ran for mayor of the nearby resort town of Sandpoint. He got just 30 votes.

"There isn't a story here about Butler being competitive in a city election; it just provides another forum and gives him national and international attention," said Jim Weatherby, chairman of the Department of Public Policy and Administration at Boise State University.

"People in elections cast protest votes for a variety of reasons and votes for Butler could be misconstrued as supporting his ideology."

Far-right candidates have had little success nationally. Former Ku Klux Klansman David Duke was elected to the Louisiana legislature in 1989, but lost bids for governor, U.S. Senate and president.

While no one expects Butler to win, human rights groups are urging voters to turn out to reject Butler and his two city council runningmates, each of whom needed five signatures to be eligible candidates.

"You used to need 40 signatures, but state law was changed to only require five, so they signed each other's petitions and found a couple in town who supports them," Mayor McIntire said. "If it weren't for that, they wouldn't even be candidates."

No resemblence to the recall-election of the new governor of California, where celebrity, Republican money and (why has no-one mentioned this) being a Kennedy by injection achieved a bizzare victory for the Terminator, now governor of the oddball state.

// posted by Ellen @  00:11   //Permalink// 
Ellen says hey
Mainer, New Yawka, Beijinger, Californian, points between. News, views and ballyhoos that piqued my interest and caused me to sigh, cry, chuckle, groan or throw something.

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