Missouri House primary winner criticized for bigoted remarks

LIBERTY, Mo. (AP) — The winner of a GOP primary for a northwest Missouri House seat announced on a radio show that "Hitler was right" and has promoted conspiracies about Jewish "cabals" that torture children.

Steve West, who calls himself Jack Justice on his radio show, won Tuesday's primary for a Clay County House seat by nearly 25 points over three other candidates.

"Looking back in history, unfortunately, Hitler was right about what was taking place in Germany," West said on a show on AM radio station KCXL on Jan. 23, 2017.

He also has a YouTube channel and a website where he has expressed homophobia, Islamophobia and racism, The Kansas City Star reported .

The Missouri Republican Party on Thursday issued a statement distancing itself from West.

"Steve West's shocking and vile comments do not reflect the position of the Missouri Republican Party or indeed of any decent individual," the statement said. "West's abhorrent rhetoric has absolutely no place in the Missouri Republican Party or anywhere. We wholeheartedly condemn his comments."

Karen Aroesty, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, said she was trying to determine how West and his views "flew under the radar" before the election.

"What is a person who is elected into a position of power going to do with beliefs like this?" she said.

West told the Star Thursday that he wanted to talk about his platform and suggested his recorded statements may have been taken out of context. He said he believes all men are created equal but that he finds fault with some ideologies, such as Islam and Judaism.

When asked about Jewish people in Missouri, he said, "Well, maybe they shouldn't vote for me."

He said he hoped voters would listen to his remarks in full and make up their own minds.

State Rep. Jon Carpenter, the Democratic incumbent for the district, said he hoped people who voted for West simply were unaware of his views.

"I just want everyone who lives in this community to know that they're welcome here," he wrote in an email. "Muslims, Jews, Catholics, the LGBTQ community, people of all races and national origins, and everyone else Steve West has targeted with hate. His views do not reflect our values. We'll stand together and love will conquer hate, as it always does."

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Information from: The Kansas City Star, http://www.kcstar.com