AP, USA Today
An unabashed racist will represent the Republican party in the November election for a congressional seat after a write-in candidate failed to derail his effort.
With 86% of the primary vote counted Thursday, write-in candidate Dennis Bertrand had just 1,554 votes compared to 7,671, or 83%, for James L. Hart, a believer in the discredited, phony science of eugenics.
In November, the GOP candidate will oppose Rep. John Tanner, a Democrat who has represented the northwest Tennessee district for 15 years.
Hart, 60, vows if elected to work toward keeping “less favored races” from reproducing or immigrating to the United States. In campaign literature, Hart contends that “poverty genes” threaten to turn the United States into “one big Detroit.”
“I didn’t expect to win,” Hart said. “I thought their network would beat my ideas.”
He has run for the 8th District seat before and drawn little attention. But people began to notice this time because he was the only Republican on the ballot.
Since the deadline for getting on the ballot had passed, Bertrand, also a Republican, began a write-in campaign, saying he wanted to protect the party’s honor.
“I think his beliefs are not beliefs of any party that I know of,” Bertrand said Thursday night. “I knew it was going to be a really long shot, but in good conscience, I had to at least give it an attempt.”
Bertrand, a financial analyst and former military officer, was on active duty with the National Guard when the deadline to get on the primary ballot passed.
Hart said he will have lots of time to campaign for the general election since he was forced Wednesday to resign from his job as a real estate salesman because of the attention he drew during the primary.
“They didn’t say ‘You’re fired’ in exactly those words, but it was pretty clear what they wanted,” Hart said.
While campaigning, Hart sometimes wears a protective vest and carries a .40-caliber pistol, but he said he has run into no trouble.
“When I knock on a door and say white children deserve the same rights as everybody else, the enthusiastic response is truly amazing,” he said.
If a black person opens the door, he says he simply drops off campaign literature and leaves.
(Posted on August 9, 2004)