The Illinois Republican Party is spending $50,000 in an effort to deter Republican primary voters in the 3rd Congressional District, which includes the southern half of Brookfield and the southern tip of Riverside, from voting for Art Jones in the March 17 primary.
Republican leaders have endorsed Mike Fricilone, a member of the Will County Board, in the congressional primary. Oak Lawn realtor Catherine O’Shea is also running.
“I am proud to stand behind and support Mike Fricilone for Congress in the 3rd Congressional District,” said Tim Schneider, the chairman of the Illinois Republican Party at a March 5 press conference. “Mike is a respected conservative on the Will County Board, and he supports our president. Most importantly, Mike is a proud Republican. Arthur Jones is not. He is a self-proclaimed Neo-Nazi and Holocaust denier. There’s no place in our party for people like Arthur Jones.”
Two years ago, Jones was the Republican candidate in the general election against Congressman Dan Lipinski, because he was the only person to file to run in the Republican primary in the heavily Democratic district.
Jones, a perennial candidate, received a little more than 25 percent against Lipinski.
In addition to endorsing Fricilone, the Illinois Republican Party has established a website titled “Say No to Nazi Arthur Jones” (illinois.gop/say-no-to-nazi-arthur-jones), depicting a photo of a gray-shirted Jones standing in front of the flag of the Aryan Nations, a white supremacist group.
The state party made the rare move of endorsing in a primary race to take stand against Jones. The party’s executive committee voted unanimously to endorse Fricilone. Also appearing at the press conference to condemn Jones was Cook County Board member and Cook County GOP chairman Sean Morrison, whose 17th District includes almost all of Riverside and most of Brookfield between 31st Street and Ogden Avenue.
“The Illinois Republican Party is disgusted and appalled that Arthur Jones would try to associate himself and his evil ideas with the Republican Party,” Schneider said. “That’s why we are using precious resources to send mail and digital advertising to Republicans throughout the district to make sure he is defeated on March 17th.”
In addition to creating the website, digital advertising and sending mail to Republicans in the 3rd District, the state GOP also plans to send anti-Jones and pro-Fricilone robocalls to Republican voters in the district.
Jones told the Landmark that he was not surprised by the effort against him.
“I think it’s a little bit of overkill,” Jones said. “I don’t have an army behind me. I’ve got a few patriots and friends and supporters.”
Jones said the photo of him standing before the flag of the Aryan Nations was taken by a friend of his about five years ago when he traveled to Louisiana to speak before an Aryans Nations conference.
“I don’t belong to Aryan Nations,” Jones said. “My policy was if you can agree with my beliefs and principles of the American First Committee, because they had my literature, then I’m willing to speak at your organization as long as it doesn’t clash with my beliefs and principles. And it didn’t clash, so I decided to go down there and speak at their conference.”