Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Opinion: Chicago GOP Full of Clowns, Felons and Neo-Nazis

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Last year, I interviewed a candidate for president of the Chicago Republican Party, who argued for fielding candidates even in districts where there was no chance of beating a Democrat.

    Here’s what he had to say:

    In my view, we accomplish something by putting pressure on these local Democratic incumbents or new candidates by not giving them a free pass in this upcoming election. Although the likelihood of winning is not the strongest, at the very least, the service we'll be doing for the party is keeping Chicago resources in Chicago, and therefore helping free up more opportunities in suburban areas and areas outside the metropolitan area.
    After seeing the results in the 2nd Congressional District Republican primary, the GOP might want to reconsider its strategy. It would have been better off running no candidate than running Paul McKinley, who has spent the majority of his adult life in prison for burglary, armed robbery and aggravated battery.
    Since ending his criminal career, the Tribune reports, McKinley has become “a frequent protester in Chicago with nearly a dozen arrests to prove it.”
    During a June 2005 bench trial, McKinley was found not guilty on two felony counts of threatening a public official. The case stemmed from a protest in which then-3rd Ward Ald. Dorothy Tillman accused McKinley of telling her to "take your country ass back to Mississippi. I'm going to get your country ass." McKinley insisted he was exercising his right to free speech and was acquitted, according to records.
    McKinley’s nomination just adds to the Chicago Republican Party’s image as a fringy political outfit, as full of cranks and misfits as the John Birch Society or the Lyndon LaRouche movement. Just last year, Arthur Jones, a 64-year-old insurance salesman and Nazi sympathizer from the Southwest suburbs, ran for the 3rd District Republican nomination. Jones had this to say about the Holocaust:
    As far as I’m concerned, the Holocaust is nothing more than an international extortion racket by the Jews. It’s the blackest lie in history. Millions of dollars are being made by Jews telling this tale of woe and misfortune in books, movies, plays and TV. The more survivors, the more lies that are told.
    These men must make the Republicans long for the days when Ray Wardingley was the party’s perennial mayoral and Congressional nominee. Wardingley’s worst eccentricity was entertaining at parties as “Spanky the Clown.”