White Supremacists Running for Lt. Gov. in Arkansas, Georgia
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) _ If Ralph Forbes had his way, he wouldn’t be facing Kenneth ″Muskie″ Harris, a black, in a runoff for the Republican lieutenant governor’s nomination.
Forbes, a white supremacist and former American Nazi leader who won 46 percent of the vote in the GOP primary Tuesday, doesn’t think blacks and whites belong in the same government.
″I believe that racial separation is ultimately the right answer,″ Forbes said Thursday.
Another avowed racist - who served prison time for bombing a black church - is running for lieutenant governor as a Democrat in Georgia. J.B. Stoner has prompted debate among fellow candidates over whether to boycott forums he attends.
And in Louisiana, David Duke, a former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard who last year was elected to the state House in an upset, is seeking the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate. The House this week passed a bill sponsored by Duke that would ban affirmative action.
Forbes, who was campaign manager for Duke’s 1988 presidential bid on the Populist Party ticket, had been on the fringe of Arkansas politics for nearly five years.
He tried to run for U.S. Senate in 1986 for the Christian Populist Party, but didn’t get on the ballot in time.
That year he also sued Satan, a school district and government officials on behalf of himself, Jesus Christ and minor children, arguing that public schools shouldn’t observe Halloween because it involves rites of the devil.
On Tuesday, Forbes, 50, a minister from London, Ark., led two other GOP candidates for the lieutenant governor nomination and nearly won a 50 percent majority.
Harris, 36, manager of a realty company who was a defensive back on Arkansas Razorbacks football teams in the mid-1970s, forced a June 12 runoff by getting 36 percent of more than 71,000 votes.
Since the startling primary, most GOP politicians in Arkansas have flocked to Harris’ campaign.
″It disturbs me that I am in a race with a white supremacist,″ Harris said. ″Arkansas has the option to come and grow with Muskie Harris or go fold up the tent. If he does win, you can bet I won’t align myself with the Republican Party anymore.″
Forbes said his beliefs are supported by his interpretations of the Bible and quotes from American patriots.
″All first 16 of our presidents advocated the same thing - that racial separation is inevitable,″ he said.
In Georgia, Stoner, whose campaign rhetoric is loaded with allegations of conspiracies by blacks and Jews, faces eight other Democrats in the July 17 primary for lieutenant governor. Three Republicans are vying for the GOP nomination.
The candidates are divided over whether to participate in an important forum later this month, sponsored by the state bar, that Stoner will attend.
″I just don’t want to be a part of providing Mr. Stoner a forum or an audience for his hatred,″ said state Rep. Jim Pannell, one of three candidates who walked out of a May 25 forum after Stoner made racist and anti- Semitic remarks.
But state Sen. Bud Stumbaugh wrote a letter this week urging fellow Democratic candidates for lieutenant governor to appear with Stoner.
″When any of us refuses to participate in a forum in which Mr. Stoner speaks, we allow him to silence viewpoints that should be shouted from the mountaintops in such a positive fashion that his negative philosophy is drowned,″ Stumbaugh wrote.
Former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young is campaigning in the election to become the first black governor of Georgia and only the second elected black governor in U.S. history.
Stoner, who served 3 1/2 years in prison in the mid-1980s for the 1958 bombing of a black church in Birmingham, Ala., ran unsuccessfully for governor in 1970, the U.S. Senate in 1972 and lieutenant governor in 1974.
After having his citizenship rights restored by the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles, he qualified as a Democrat for the post now held by Lt. Gov. Zell Miller, who is running for governor.
Political observers say Stoner’s stay in the spotlight probably will be brief and his chances of pulling an upset are as remote as ever.
″He has been a fringe candidate. He’ll always be a fringe candidate,″ said Merle Black, a political science professor at Emory University.