He denied it at first, but Butte’s Republican candidate for the state Legislature ended up admitting Friday that he is Montana’s contact point for the National Socialist Movement, described as “America’s Nazi Party” on its Web site.
“I am the Montana unit contact leader,” said Shawn Stuart, who’s running for the House District 76 spot, along with Democrats Kevin Lowney and incumbent Jon Sesso.
Members of this movement “co-operate and work with many like minded white nationalist groups such as the KKK (Ku Klux Klan), Aryan Skinheads, the Racial Nationalist Party of America and many others which are either neo Nazi or at least, racially aware of our Aryan Heritage,” according to their Web site.
The “Sacred Swastika” is their logo and “the Brown shirt of the SA (Sturmabteilung)” is their uniform.
At first, Stuart denied knowing anything about the movement, which is based in Minneapolis, saying “I didn’t know what it was so I am absolutely not part of it.” In a second phone conversation, he admitted to setting up a post office box to receive mail for that group and others, calling himself “a middle man contact for a lot of groups.” Eventually he called back and admitted his affiliation.
“I had to deny everything until I talked to my superiors,” Stuart said.
The movement calls for a “union of all Whites into a greater America. Non-citizens may live in America only as guests and must be subject to laws for aliens. Accordingly, no Jew or homosexual may be a member of the nation,” according to the “25 points” section of the Web site.
Stuart said he personally “has nothing against any other race.” “All I believe in is the separation,” he said. “We have our right to exist in the world; they have their right to exist in the world.” Stuart tried Friday afternoon to withdraw from the race, but learned from the Secretary of State’s office that he cannot remove his name from the primary ballot.
Legislative specialist Shannon Stevens said the withdrawal deadline was the same day as the filing deadline, March 23. She said he can pull out after the primary, however, and Republicans could nominate someone to replace him.
Stuart is convinced there will be efforts by groups such as the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center to have his name removed from the ballot.
“I guarantee that they will try to get me off the ballot,” he said. “There’s nothing they can do because my party’s not illegal.” The Montana Human Rights Network alerted The Montana Standard to Stuart’s affiliation, but research director Travis McAdam said it has no intention of trying to remove him as a candidate.
“It’s freedom of speech,” said McAdam, himself a Democratic candidate for House District 75. “Anybody who wants to can run for office.” McAdam said the network believes it’s important for voters “to have a good idea of what candidates represent and have a real clear picture of who the people are and what their political ideology is.
“If they’re not going to come forward and make that information available, we feel that the public has a right to know,” he said.
The network is also interested in and concerned about how ideas from the “radical right wing are basically re-packaged and sold and moved into the political mainstream.
“They try to parrot and adopt the language that most of us are used to hearing from the religious right — anti-gay rights, anti-abortion, family values. They take the ideology they have and fit it into the current debates that are ongoing.” John Eyde, who heads Butte’s Republican Central Committee, had no comment Friday afternoon when told of Stuart’s affiliation.
Earlier in the week, he said the committee was “familiar with him” and that Stuart has been to central committee meetings, but the local party did not endorse him or recruit him to run.
“We really don’t even have time to go and even try to recruit anybody,” Eyde said. “There’s not enough hours in the day to go and try to do that.” Stuart, 24, was born and raised in Bozeman. After graduation from high school, he joined the Marine Corps and served two combat tours in Iraq in 2003 and 2004, attaining the rank of corporal.
He has lived in Butte for nine months and is studying machining and welding at Montana Tech’s College of Technology.
On the Web: The National Socialist Movement Web site is www.nsm88.com.