A former leader of the KKK and the neo-Nazi National Alliance is running for office in Georgia and his campaign is drawing inspiration from Republicans like Donald Trump, Kelly Loeffler, and Marjorie Taylor Greene.
Chester Doles recently filed paperwork to run for a seat on the Lumpkin County Board of Commissioners in Lumpkin County, Georgia in 2022.
The ex-con, who’s been to prison twice, made headlines last December when he took a selfie with Loeffler when she was campaigning for reelection. After the photo went viral, she issued a statement saying she had no idea he was a well-known white supremacist in her state when she took the picture.
ALERT: Kelly Loeffler just posed for a photo with Chester Doles, a former KKK leader who runs the white supremacist American Patriots USA.
In 1993, Doles nearly beat a Black man to death.
In 2017, he marched in Charlottesville.
— Bend the Arc: Jewish Action (@jewishaction) December 13, 2020
He made headlines again about a month later, when he was spotted in a photograph alongside Greene at a Second Amendment rally.
Marjorie Green Taylor with Neo-Nazi and Former KKK Chester Doles pic.twitter.com/ij2kVhalNq
— Darrell “Going To Make A Difference”West ???? (@DarrellPMWest) January 25, 2021
As 2022 approaches, the 61-year-old has started ramping up his campaign. He recently rode in his town’s annual Gold Rush parade and he’s adopted Greene’s campaign slogan, “Stop Socialism. Save America.”
“This is not a publicity stunt,” he tells The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “This is not about me. This is about the community and what is best for the community.”
Though many consider him a fringe candidate, Doles is yet another example of what happens when voters elect unqualified bigots with nefarious pasts to public office. It empowers other unqualified bigots with nefarious pasts to seek leadership roles and spread their messages of hate and intolerance.
The current political climate has allowed some candidates with checkered pasts — even checkered presents — to mount successful campaigns. This month, at least seven people who were at the Jan. 6 Trump rally won public office in races around the nation. In North Carolina, Democrats in the state House stormed out when the Republican caucus seated its newest member, a former county commissioner who marched on the Capitol and was “gassed three times” and was at the Capitol door when it was breached, but said he was not involved in the violence.
“Maybe my unique experience and things I shouldn’t have been involved in and extreme behavior — maybe it brings a whole different perspective,” he says. “I’m definitely about draining the local swamp. We’re going to replace politicians with patriots.”
Graham Gremore is the Features Editor and a Staff Writer at Queerty. Follow him on Twitter @grahamgremore.