The Illinois Republican Party withdrew its endorsement of Susanne Atanus’ candidacy and asked her to drop out of her congressional race in January, after she told the Chicago Daily Herald, “God is angry. We are provoking him with abortions and same-sex marriage and civil unions.” She also said, “Same-sex activity is going to increase AIDS. If it’s in our military it will weaken our military. We need to respect God.”
But in yet another demonstration of some voters’ embrace of extremist and sometimes just plain wacky views, Illinois Republicans in March still chose Atanus, who also believes that same-sex marriage is to blame for autism and tornadoes, as their candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives.
GOP officials renewed their objections to Atanus’ campaign following her primary victory, saying they would offer her no financial support and describing her beliefs as “ludicrous, offensive and indefensible.”
Atanus, who believes that increasingly extreme weather, along with disorders such as autism and dementia, are God’s punishment for LGBT rights and legalized abortion, remained optimistic. “I will have victory [in November] just like I did in the primary,” she told reporters.
In Colorado, a different extremist candidate was more willing to face reality. Lakewood, Colo., Republican Nate Marshall withdrew as a candidate for the state House after being exposed as a white supremacist with a criminal history. Among other things, Marshall was revealed to be a prolific contributor to Stormfront, a white supremacist Web forum whose registered members have been linked to nearly 100 murders. In 2013, he attempted to start an organization he called “American Golden Dawn,” in reference to a neo-Nazi Greek political party.
His vicious tweets about Muslims and LGBT people (including one praising Russia’s harsh anti-gay laws), along with reports that in 2011 he was arrested for running a Craigslist rental scam (he later paid restitution and charges were dropped), eventually led the same Colorado Republicans who supported his nomination to later reject Marshall. “Nate Marshall does not reflect the values of the Republican Party. We strongly oppose his continued candidacy and demand he end his campaign,” said Jefferson County GOP Chair Bill Tucker in a statement released after Marshall’s extremism had been exposed. “The values of the Republican Party – family, community, care and tolerance – are not compatible with Marshall’s views, and we condemn the hateful words and actions associated with him.”
While Marshall lamented his defeat, Steve Smith, a white supremacist who in 2012 managed to get elected to a local Republican committee in Pennsylvania, celebrated his second anniversary in office with a post on Stormfront.
Luzerne Republican County Committee members initially tried to kick Smith — a former neo-Nazi skinhead with a violent criminal history who was apparently elected via a single write-in vote (his own) – off the committee. But they eventually gave up. Gloating over his victory, Smith wrote, “Not only were they not successful in ousting me, I was appointed as an officer in my district in my first year!”
Encouraged by Stormfront users who lauded his “bravery,” Marshall continued: “I consistently vocalize my pro-White viewpoints at meetings. I tell perspective [sic] Congressional candidates that stopping the illegal alien invasion should be their top issue if they truly care about the future of this country.”