The Chicago-area Holocaust denier who got 26% of the vote when he ran for Congress in 2018 wants to give it another shot.
Arthur Jones, 71, filed paperwork Monday declaring his candidacy for the 3rd House District Republican primary in Illinois. Jones, who believes the Holocaust was an “international extortion racket” and has been affiliated with various Nazi organizations throughout his career, was the only Republican on the ballot in 2018 — and 56,350 people voted for him, despite his views being widely publicized before the election.
His “America First” campaign peddled bizarre anti-immigrant conspiracy theories, for example, that the Mexican government was orchestrating a covert takeover of southern U.S. as part of a plot to establish a new homeland called “Aztlan.” Other campaign issues included making English an official language and banning poor people, specifically people receiving public assistance, from owning guns.
Jones was one of a handful of openly white nationalist or anti-Semitic candidates who ran for federal office in 2018, which experts saw as further evidence of a newly-emboldened far-right movement that had emerged from the shadows.
Those far-right extremists ran as Republicans, which put the GOP in an awkward position. The Illinois GOP disavowed Jones’ campaign — but failed to come up with a suitable candidate to run against him in the primary.
This year, things will be different. Jones is up against not one but two Republicans in the March primary. Jones’ candidacy — and the fact he was able to participate in the general election — got a lot of attention in 2018, but his run was by no means his first foray into politics. He’s run for office in Illinois nearly every election cycle since 1984, and every time except last year he was competing with at least one other Republican in the primary.
In primaries where Jones ran against other Republicans, he was able to take home anywhere between 2% and 33% of the vote, depending on the number of opponents he was facing.
Jones won’t be the only extremist on the ballot next year. Enrique Tarrio, the leader of the Proud Boys, a far-right street-fighting gang, is running as a Republican in Florida’s 27th Congressional District.
And the GOP finds itself with still more unconventional candidates, with several supporting the bizarre, pro-Trump conspiracy theory known as QAnon on upcoming ballots. Four GOP candidates running for Congress in Minnesota, Florida, California and Texas have shared QAnon messaging online.
Cover: In this Feb. 2, 2018 photo from a video frame grab shows Arthur Jones. (Marcus DiPaola/Chicago Sun-Times via AP)