A former leader of the Ku Klux Klan, the neo-Nazi National Alliance, and the racist skinhead Hammerskins gang—is running in 2022 for a seat on the Lumpkin County Board of Commissioners in Georgia. Newsweek reported.
Chester Doles, 61, served four years in prison starting in 1993 after he and a fellow KKK member beat a Black man in Maryland.
He also served another four years in 2003 for federal firearms charges. He has claimed “misunderstandings or extenuating circumstances” in each conviction, The Atlanta-Journal Constitution reported.
He is a supporter of Republican former President Donald Trump and, like Trump, opposes Black Lives Matter (BLM) and the alleged teaching of critical race theory (CRT) in schools. CRT is a field of study that analyzes race and racism as social dynamics throughout history. Newsweek added.
Doles said that CRT teaches “young impressionable children … to be left-wing radical revolutionaries in the streets,” the aforementioned publication reported. He said if white nationalists had led the BLM-related 2020 protests that sometimes turned violent, “we would have been under the federal prison for the rest of our lives.”
He also said the breakup of the U.S. is “inevitable.” He added that one of the reasons he’s running for office is because if the U.S. falls under martial law after an attack on the federal government, “it’s going to be your local sheriff and county commissioners that’s going to mean something in your area.”
Boards of commissioners enact and administer local ordinances. They also oversee budgets, spending and the hiring of county employees.
Doles reportedly marched alongside white nationalists in the 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. At the rally, at least 150 white supremacists led a torchlit procession while chanting “Jews will not replace us.”
On the rally’s second day, white supremacist James Alex Fields Jr. injured dozens of people and killed counter-protester Heather Heyer after hitting them with his car.
Doles also remains in contact with known racists via social media, on which he recently posted an image of himself standing next to a campaign sign of David Duke, the former KKK leader who successfully ran for the Louisiana House of Representatives in the early ’90s.
Doles made headlines in December 2020 when he posed for a photo with Republican Georgia U.S. Senator Kelly Loeffler.
“Kelly had no idea who that was, and if she had, she would have kicked him out immediately because we condemn in the most vociferous terms everything that he stands for,” Loeffler’s spokesman Stephen Lawson said in a statement at the time.
Doles wrote that he “publicly renounced racism on several occasions in the past couple of years” in a December 2020 statement to the Associated Press. Doles added that he “renounced all racism and asked for God’s forgiveness” in front of an all-Black congregation.
“Maybe my unique experience and things I shouldn’t have been involved in and extreme behavior—maybe it brings a whole different perspective,” he told the Constitution. “I’m definitely about draining the local swamp. We’re going to replace politicians with patriots.”
He will likely run against the Republican incumbent, Commissioner Rhett Stringer.