A convicted felon with alleged neo-Nazi ties has been unanimously cleared to remain on the GOP ballot in North Carolina, per the state’s Board of Elections.
Joseph Gibson III is running to represent District 65—which includes Rockingham County along North Carolina’s northern border with Virginia—in the state’s House of Representatives.
It’s the second time Gibson has appeared on the district’s ballot and proved a legitimate challenger. In 2022, the Connecticut native carried more than 20 percent in the North Carolina GOP primary, shortly before he was put on blast by the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism for his neo-Nazi ties. The ADL found that Gibson had promoted a rally by the National Socialist Movement, or NSM, one of the largest white supremacist groups in the country, had simulcasted his podcast on the group’s network, and had shared the group’s manifesto to his social media accounts.
“I’ve never been to an NSM rally,” Gibson told WRAL News last week, denying any relationship with the racist group. “I’ve never supported them. But I think that’s coming from my podcast because I have had them call in. But I’ve had Black Panthers call in. I have all sorts of people call in. I believe in the First Amendment.”
Still, despite wiping some of the more egregious evidence documented by the Anti-Defamation League from his social media accounts, Gibson retains some eyebrow-raising posts. In one post made in 2021, Gibson used a racial slur against Black people while complaining about an interracial family, per Vice News. In other comments, Gibson agreed with posts by a self-proclaimed former member of the KKK and the NSM, and shared a propaganda video titled, “Aryan: Our Purpose.”
And yet, Gibson expects apologies, after Republican officials challenged his candidacy. On Tuesday, Gibson told WRAL News that he expects the state’s GOP to say sorry for his “character assassination” and “political assassination” as he returns to challenge state Representative Reece Pyrtle.
Ultimately, the decision is a foreboding omen for those fighting to keep Donald Trump off the presidential ballot, even as he faces the possibility of conviction in any one of his several criminal trials.
The outcome of Trump’s criminal trials has proven to be one of the few issues that sways some of his raucous supporters. More than a quarter of Republicans said that the real estate mogul should not be a presidential candidate if he’s convicted of a crime, according to a December New York Times/Siena College poll—that could be enough to swing the general election in a matchup against President Joe Biden.
“It will be up to voters as to whether they want an insurrectionist in the White House,” said Andrew Weissman, a New York University law professor and former lead prosecutor in Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation, during The New Republic’s “America in Crisis” event on Wednesday evening.
Trump is on the line for 91 charges across four separate criminal cases, for his behavior related to the January 6 insurrection, his attempt to undermine the election results in Georgia, his alleged theft of thousands of classified documents, and the Stormy Daniels hush-money case, in the last of which Trump is accused of using his former fixer Michael Cohen to sweep an affair with the porn actress under the rug ahead of the 2016 presidential election.