Arthur Jones, a Holocaust denier described as a Nazi by the Illinois Republican Party, is poised to win the Republican primary in the state’s Third Congressional District. He is running unopposed, all but guaranteeing he will soon be the official Republican candidate for the House of Representatives.
“There’s no way in the world they can knock me off the ballot,” said Mr. Jones, 70, who has unsuccessfully sought the nomination five times. His campaign website has a section devoted to conspiracy theories about the Holocaust, which he called “nothing more than an international extortion racket.”
The Republican primary in the district, a Democratic stronghold that includes part of Chicago and its southwestern suburbs, is on March 20. A spokesman for the Illinois Republican Party said it had difficulty recruiting anyone to run against Mr. Jones because “it is a very Democratic district.”
The final deadline for certifying primary candidates passed last month, but the spokesman said the party would consider lending its support to an independent or write-in candidate. That deadline is in June, according to the State Board of Elections.
“The Illinois Republican Party and our country have no place for Nazis like Arthur Jones,” the Illinois Republican Party chairman, Tim Schneider, said in a statement. “We strongly oppose his racist views and his candidacy for any public office, including the Third Congressional District.”
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Besides Mr. Jones himself, few say he stands a chance of winning the general election in November. A Republican has not held the seat since 1975.
The district has been represented by Daniel Lipinski since 2005 and before that was represented by his father, Bill Lipinski, since 1993.
Daniel Lipinski, 51, said Mr. Jones “does not reflect this congressional district or its values.”
“Art Jones’s ideas strike at the heart of our belief as Americans that everyone deserves equal treatment,” he said in a statement. “His bigoted and anti-Semitic beliefs do not belong in Congress.”
Mr. Jones is a longtime fixture of the white supremacist movement in the Midwest and a former member of the American Nazi Party, according to Mark Pitcavage, an expert on extremism at the Anti-Defamation League. Mr. Pitcavage said Mr. Jones “has been around forever.”
He was a far-right student activist at the University of Wisconsin, where he said he edited a conservative newspaper and attended meetings of the Young Republicans and a National Socialist group. In 1976, he ran for mayor of Milwaukee as a member of the National Socialist White People’s Party. (Mr. Jones received about 5,000 votes in the nonpartisan primary, finishing fourth.)
He has previously run for the Republican nomination in the Third District in 1998, 2006, 2008, 2012 and 2016. But he has never won.
In 2016, the State Board of Elections removed him from the race after the Republican Party challenged the legitimacy of several hundred signatures on his nomination petition. In 2006, “he lost the nomination to a former professional clown,” Mr. Pitcavage said.
Running for public office is a strategy white supremacists have used since at least 1980 to raise their profile within the movement or spread propaganda into the mainstream, Mr. Pitcavage said.
Some, like the Ku Klux Klan leader and onetime aspiring Louisiana politician David Duke, have actually believed they could start a political career. But Mr. Pitcavage called that “extremely rare.”
“This is something that white supremacists do: They’ll try to find these places where they can run unopposed or nearly unopposed so they can try to get the nomination,” he said. “It’s very opportunistic. They usually do it under the Republican Party, but sometimes they do it as Democrats, too.”
Mr. Jones declined to say whether he identifies himself as a Nazi. He described himself instead as a longtime Republican who stands “shoulder to shoulder, philosophically,” with President Trump. He called his critics in the Illinois Republican Party an insufficiently conservative “bunch of wimps.”
Mr. Jones said he did not want to focus on “this Holocaust nonsense” and planned instead to campaign on “issues of war and peace and economic security,” including immigration. But in an interview, he spoke at length about his hostility toward Jews and nonwhite people.
While struggling, with increasing exasperation, to turn off a cellphone that kept ringing as he spoke to a reporter — “what is it with this!” he exclaimed — Mr. Jones explained his belief that “what we call civilization today is a product for the most part of white genius.”
“I don’t believe in this doctrine of racial equality,” he said. “Go out in nature and you don’t find equality anywhere. You found the leaders and you find the led. You find the predator and you find the prey. There is no such thing as equality.”