Neo-Nazi seeking to run in GOP primary for NC House gets approval from county and state boards of elections

Neo-Nazi seeking to run in GOP primary for NC House gets approval from county and state boards of elections

Republicans in Rockingham County and the state party are now having to deal with the reality that their party is an attractive home for neo-Nazis, criminals and white supremacists – because they have one running for state House after the county and state BOEs ruled he was eligible despite his past felony convictions.

Joseph Gibson III, a registered Republican and Rockingham County podcaster, filed to run in the state House District 65 Republican primary against incumbent Rep. Reece Pyrtle. This is the second time Gibson and Pyrtle will face off in a primary – they ran against each other in 2022. The GOP had no issue with Gibson running two years ago, but now the party is up in arms about it this time.

The difference between then and now? That would be the fact that Stephen Wiley, the caucus director for House Republicans and the person who works to recruit candidates to run for office, actually did his job this year.

Had Wiley done his job two years ago and performed a background check, he would have noticed the decades’ worth of criminal convictions (in Connecticut and North Carolina) on Gibson’s record, thus ensuring that he wouldn’t be so shocked this time.

Wiley told CBS 17 he was unaware of Gibson’s background when he first ran against Pyrtle in 2022 and admitted that he simply “didn’t have time” to do his job properly.

“So, with how often the candidate filing period kept starting and stopping in 2022 … I just didn’t have time to see it,” Wiley said. “It’s pretty impossible to verify information on a lot of these folks quickly enough.”

Following his primary loss in 2022, the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism published a report on Gibson based on his social media posts and podcasts, describing him as a “white supremacist and anti-government extremist” and that the “neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement (NSM) promoted his candidacy on their Telegram channel as ‘one of our members in NC.’” 

After discovering Gibson’s felony convictions and neo-Nazi beliefs, the Rockingham County GOP filed a challenge to his candidacy in December, The News & Observer reported. Within the last month, the state board and the Rockingham County Board of Elections each heard Gibson’s case twice. After Rockingham County elections officials determined that his citizenship rights had been restored following the completion of his probation in 2008 for felonies committed in Connecticut, they approved Gibson’s candidacy on party lines with the Democratic majority voting in favor and Republicans voting against.

The decision was then sent back to the state board who came to the unanimous conclusion that Gibson should be allowed to run for state House since he served his time and completed probation 15 years ago.

If you ask Wiley, the only reason Gibson is being allowed on the ballot is to embarrass the NCGOP by allowing a literal neo-Nazi to run as a Republican.

“Democrats decided they wanted a Nazi in the Republican primary so that if even one person votes for him they can say ‘Look, Republicans support Nazis,'” Wiley said.

Instead of pointing fingers at Democrats, Wiley should take a few moments and consider why it is that neo-Nazis and white supremacists have been running as Republicans in contests throughout the country for years. It’s not a problem that the Democratic Party has, so what is it about the GOP that attracts these folks? That is the question that Wiley and Republicans need to consider and answer for themselves.

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Patrick Zarcone

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