Just as the Trump presidency has inspired a wave of women and people of color to run for office in 2018, it’s also opened the door for candidates motivated by white nationalism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, homophobia, misogyny and racism. Seemingly emboldened by Trump’s divisive rhetoric – and the GOP’s mute indifference to it – this new class of candidates is testing the appetite for bigotry in public life among constituencies across the nation. As white supremacist and admitted pedophile Nathan Larson, who campaigned for Congress as an independent, explained: “A lot of people are tired of political correctness and being constrained by it.” Here are eight such candidates who could soon. wind up in office.
Joe Arpaio, Republican
U.S. Senate – Arizona
The former Maricopa County Sheriff first rose to prominence in 2005 for instructing his officers to demand proof of citizenship from any person suspected of being undocumented. He stubbornly stuck to the policy even after courts ruled it constituted racial profiling. He was convicted of contempt of court in 2017, but pardoned by President Trump before he was even sentenced, paving the way for the once-vocal birther’s bid for Senate.
John Fitzgerald, Republican
U.S. House – California’s 11th District
A Holocaust-denier who believes 9/11 was a Jewish-orchestrated conspiracy, Fitzgerald netted more than 36,000 votes in his California district’s June primary – enough to earn him a slot on the ballot in November. Since then, he’s been making media rounds, promoting his campaign on neo-Nazi and anti-Semitic podcasts where he’s reiterated his promise to expose “the truth about the Holocaust and how it’s an absolute fabricated lie.”
Seth Grossman, Republican
U.S. House – New Jersey’s 2nd District
The former city councilman and county freeholder from Atlantic City has written that gay men should have been quarantined in the ‘80s and called Islam “a cancer.” On Facebook, he’s shared posts by Jihad Watch’s Robert Spencer, anti-Islam agitator Pamela Geller, alt-right posterboy Milo Yiannopoulos as well as racist memes, including one that suggested Arabs, like Obama, want to “move to your country, rape our women, bomb your buses, riot in your streets, and demand that you accept [their] religion.”
Arthur Jones, Republican
U.S. House – Illinois’ 3rd District
A former member of the American Nazi party, Jones lost seven bids for Congress before finally securing the GOP nomination this year at the age of 70 to the chagrin of the state’s Republican party, which paid for robocalls warning voters to “stop Illinois Nazis.” Twenty-thousand Republicans nonetheless pulled the lever for Jones, whose campaign website calls the Holocaust was “a greatly overblown nonevent.”
Steve King, Republican
U.S. House – Iowa’s 4th District (Incumbent)
King – considered a shoe-in for an eighth term this November – has approvingly retweeted prominent bigots like Geert Wilders, Mark Collett and Viktor Orbán, proudly displayed a Confederate flag on his desk for years, once said white people contributed more to civilization than any other “subgroup” in history, and has casually characterized immigrants having “calves the size of cantaloupes” from hauling drugs across the desert.
Paul Nehlen, Republican
U.S. House – Wisconsin’s 1st District
The self-described “pro-White” congressional candidate has palled around with ex-KKK Grand Wizard David Duke and signal-boosted Daily Stormer founder Andrew Anglin. He’s been permanently suspended by both Twitter (for making a racist joke about Meghan Markle) and the alt-right’s favorite social network, Gab (for doxxing a right-wing troll). His views are so toxic that he’s not only been condemned by the state GOP and Paul Ryan, whose seat he’s seeking, but even on the alt-right platform of Breitbart, which once championed his candidacy, too.
Corey Stewart, Republican
U.S. Senate – Virginia
At the height of the debate over Confederate monuments last year, Minnesota-born Stewart declared on Twitter, “Nothing is worse than a Yankee telling a Southerner that his monuments don’t matter.” More recently, he’s asserted his disbelief “that the Civil War was ultimately fought over the issue of slavery.”
Russell Walker, Republican
U.S. House – North Carolina’s 48th District
Walker, who has declared “God is a racist and a white supremacist” and all Jewish people “descend from Satan,” won the Republican primary in May. Since then, he’s appeared on the white supremacist Stormfront Action podcast where he was scolded by the show’s host for using the n-word to describe voters in his district. Walker will face an African American minister in November general election.
Nathan Larson, Independent
U.S. House – Virginia’s 10th District
The failed Libertarian, who created a series of websites for likeminded pedophiles and involuntary celibates, told HuffPost there was “a grain of truth” to his posts about father-daughter incest and spousal rape. His campaign manifesto envisioned a country where a “benevolent white supremacy” ruled, incest and child pornography were legal, the Violence Against Women Act was repealed and replaced by “a system that classifies women as property, initially of their fathers and later of their husbands.” Larson got less than two percent of the vote in the primary, but he’ll have a second shot when he appears on the general election ballot in November.
Patrick Little, Republican
U.S. Senate – California
Little campaigned for the chance to challenge Sen. Dianne Feinstein under the slogan “Liberate the US from the Jewish Oligarchy.” His platform included a promise to have the U.S. formally declare the Holocaust “a Jewish war atrocity propaganda hoax that never happened.”
Roy Moore, Republican
U.S. Senate – Alabama
As chief justice of Alabama’s Supreme Court, Moore deflected criticism of his racist, anti-gay and transphobic views for years. His Senate bid was tanked, though, by multiple credible accusations of sexual misconduct with underage girls.
Editor’s Note: This post has been updated to clarify the Iowa, New Jersey and Virginia districts in question. An earlier version also incorrectly identified Robert Spencer. We regret the error and apologize.