An “Honorary” KKK Member Is at the Top of Missouri’s GOP Ballot

It wasn’t all too long ago that political candidates would be disowned by their parties upon the discovery of ties to hate groups. But the first candidate listed on the unofficial Republican gubernatorial ballot in Missouri has been outed as a white supremacist—and nothing seems to be happening.

Darrell Leon McClanahan III’s name appeared even higher than the party’s frontrunners due to the names being drawn in ballot order, with the lowest ballot numbers—such as McClanahan’s—appearing first. This is now the second time that the state Republican Party has accepted a filing fee and candidacy paperwork from McClanahan. The known white supremacist had a failed run for U.S. Senate in 2022, when he placed 15th in a group of 21 candidates, pulling more than 1,100 votes.

“Hey @MissouriGOP I just learned the candidate listed first on our primary ballot for Governor is a cross-burning KKK member who ran for US Senate 2 years ago and freely admits his KKK membership & white supremacist beliefs,” former Missouri State Representative Shamed Dogan wrote on social media, calling on the party to reject the “racist loser” as a candidate.

McClanahan has tried to downplay the facts, saying he is just an “honorary” member instead of a formal member of the Knight’s Party Ku Klux Klan. He identifies with the racist religious sect Christian Identity, and has attended several events hosted by the Arkansas-based Christian Identity Klan, including a cross burning in which he is pictured performing a Nazi salute beside a man donned in the KKK’s white-hooded garb. McClanahan tried to brush that off by describing the event as “religious Christian Identity Cross lighting ceremony.”

He has, however, advertised his membership to the League of the South, a white extremist group demanding a “white-dominated South,” according to the Anti Defamation League.

McClanahan also attended the 2017 Charlottesville “Unite the Right” protest—an experience that he wrote positively about for the Knights Party’s newsletter, The Torch, cataloging his descent into far-right, race-based radicalization.

In a defamation suit he filed against the ADL for aligning him with white supremacists and antisemites, McClanahan described himself as a “Pro-White man, horseman, politician, political prisoner-activist who is dedicated to traditional Christian values,” reported the RiverFrontTimes. The lawsuit has since been dismissed.

“Shamed Dogan I would like to respectfully request that you cease and desist from making defamatory statements about me on the X platform. Your statement about me being a cross-burning KKK member and white supremacist is false and damaging to my reputation,” McClanahan said in a statement to the RiverFrontTimes, addressed directly to Dogan.

It is currently unclear if the Missouri Republican Party can or will reject McClanahan’s candidacy, or if he’ll make the official ballot come August.

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