By Bob Skolnik
Wherever Art Jones for Congress signs have been sprouting up in the 3rd Congressional District, which includes the southern half of Brookfield and the southernmost tip of Riverside, write-in candidate Justin Hanson's campaign has been planting signs right next to them.
Hanson's signs say, in big red letters against a white background, "Yes, Art Jones is a Nazi."
Hanson told the Landmark that the main purpose of his campaign is drive down Jones' vote total and to make sure voters know who Jones is.
"Jones's signs are tricking people; we put up signs that are the actual truth," said Hanson, complaining that Jones's signs that feature two red, white and blue elephants and make Jones seem like a conventional Republican. "I'm doing it to protect people from unwittingly voting for this guy."
Jones told the Landmark that he has placed 200 signs throughout the district. Hanson said his campaign has purchased about 100 of the "Yes, Art Jones is a Nazi" signs.
"It's important for us to show that the country can come together to defeat men like Art Jones," Hanson said.
Jones is the official Republican candidate in the 3rd Congressional District, facing incumbent Democrat Dan Lipinski, (D-Western Springs). Hanson and Kenneth Yerkes are write-in candidates.
Much to the embarrassment of Republican Party leaders, Jones became the Republican nominee after being the only person filing to run in the Republican primary in the heavily Democratic district.
Lipinski is expected to cruise to an easy victory next week after narrowly defeating progressive challenger Marie Newman in the March primary.
Jones, 70, is a perennial candidate who is making his eighth race for Congress, but this is the first time that he has advanced out of the primary.
The most votes he ever received in a primary before running unopposed this year was 6,804 in the 2008 Republican primary, when he received 33.1 percent of the vote running against Michael Hawkins. This year Jones received 20,339 votes running unopposed in the March primary.
Lipinski has ignored Jones during the campaign saying he doesn't want to give Jones any opportunities for additional publicity to spread his views. They made one joint appearance at a candidate forum before the Archer Heights Civic Association in October. Jones said Lipinski ignored him at the forum.
"He didn't even look in my direction, and after he was done speaking he just hustled his ass out of there," Jones said.
Jones told the Landmark that he doesn't consider himself to be a Nazi although he admits to being a member of the National Socialist White People's Party for eight years in the 1970s.
"I never joined another Nazi organization after 1980, so I don't consider myself to be a Nazi," said Jones, taking a break on Nov. 1 from campaigning door to door in southwest suburban Hometown.
"I consider myself to be a patriot and an American statesman and a man who fought for this country, unlike these bozos here who are attacking me," Jones said.
Jones says he has never advocated any kind of violence and said that the recent killing of 11 Jews in a synagogue in Pittsburgh would hurt him at the polls.
"I've never, ever advocated anything like that," Jones said. "I've never been involved in any cases of vandalism against Jewish property, I've never overturned Jewish tombstones, none of that nonsense. I've always stayed strictly within the law, and if anybody ever advocates anything like that I threw their asses out."
The "Yes, Art Jones is a Nazi" signs state they are the work of the Hanson for Congress campaign.
"I cleared the signs with the Election Board and they are protected political speech," Hanson said adding that the signs simply state the truth.
"I'm not afraid to put my name out there to protect people from voting for a guy like this," Hanson said.
"I hate that this is necessary."
This article has been changed to reflect the correct nomenclature of the Archer Heights Civic Association.