Tuesday, June 5, 2012
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Gwinnett Daily Post
A northeastern Pennsylvania man with longstanding ties to white supremacist groups entered a polling place on primary election day and wrote in his name for a low-level position with the local Republican Party committee.
Steve Smith wound up getting elected with a single vote -- his own -- and now presents a headache for a GOP that doesn't want him but might not be able to get rid of him.
Pennsylvania Democrats spread word last week of his April election, linking to a report by the Southern Poverty Law Center that described Smith's associations with "an extraordinary array of white nationalist, skinhead, and neo-Nazi groups," including a group formerly known as the Keystone State Skinheads.
The Luzerne County Republican Committee and the state GOP denounced Smith's election to a four-year committee post representing Pittston's Fourth Ward, saying his views in no way represent their own.
The GOP "does not endorse or represent any of the hateful views of Mr. Smith, nor did any of the voters in Pittston City or Luzerne County," Luzerne County Republican Party chief Terry Casey said in a statement. But he said the committee's bylaws indicate the only qualification for office is that a candidate has been a registered Republican for the last two years -- and do not include a provision that would allow Smith to be expelled because of his beliefs.
Smith, 41, of Pittston, announced his election on a website called White News Now, posting a photo of his election certificate.
He said he's no longer affiliated with the skinheads group, but he confirmed that he founded the European American Action Coalition, which says on its website that it "advocates on behalf of White Americans" and was "founded in the fall of 2011 by a few well known White activists in the great and historic state of Pennsylvania."