Missouri Republicans are scrambling to distance themselves from a candidate who won the GOP primary Tuesday for a state House district in Clay County.
Businessman Steve West easily won the four-way contest for Missouri House District 15, with nearly 50 percent of the vote. He totaled 1,485 votes in the district that comprises part of Gladstone.
It emerged Thursday, following reporting by The Pitch, that West hosts a weekly program on Liberty radio station KCXL. Under the name "Jack Justice," West regularly espouses anti-Semitic and Islamophobic views.
In a recording West posted to YouTube last year, West says: "Last week, we had an incredible show, and we were talking about, unfortunately, the influence Jews have in this country. And they have dual citizenship, and their allegiance — even though they're considered American citizens — their allegiance is compromised."
The Kansas City Star reports that in another 2017 broadcast, West says, "Looking back in history, unfortunately, Hitler was right about what was taking place in Germany. And who was behind it."
West's website and YouTube channel are filled with other commentary on abortion, vaccines, communism, and LBGTQ people.
“I really didn’t want to make that what the campaign was about. You know, there are some issues that I really want to address that I think we could get a large support for,” West said in an interview with KCUR 89.3, adding that the issues he wanted to focus on are the influence of Islam and pornography.
“Most Muslims are not practicing Muslims in the United States, and thank God for that,” West said.
In a statement Thursday, the Clay County GOP distanced itself from West.
"Steve West's shocking and vile comments do not reflect the positions of the Missouri Republican Party or indeed of any decent individual. West's abhorrent rhetoric has absolutely no place in the Missouri Republican Party or anywhere. We wholeheartedly condemn his comments," the statement said.
The Clay County GOP says there is "no vetting process" during the primaries and that "to maintain fairness for all candidates" it does not involve itself in primary elections.
When asked Friday by KCUR whether the Clay County GOP would endorse or support West in any way leading up to the November general election, a party spokesperson declined to comment further.
Other Republicans weighed in, too. The Missouri House Republican Leadership released a joint statement Thursday.
"To our knowledge, no member of the Missouri Republican Party, the House Republican Campaign Committee, or sitting member of the General Assembly recruited Mr. West to run for office; we find his statements to be vile, offensive, and out of line with our Party's values," the statement said.
Republican state Rep. Kevin Corlew, who represents a neighboring district in the Northland from the one West is vying for also seemed surprised by West's victory:
To my recollection, I've never even met him, let alone supported him. So to those lumping together anyone who claims to be of the same party, you're way off base. We don't need such party politics & civic divisiveness. #PeopleOverPolitics #IndependentVoiceForTheNorthland (2/2)
— Kevin Corlew (@KevinCorlew) August 10, 2018
West is set to take on incumbent Democratic Rep. Jon Carpenter in November.
"Everybody is welcomed and loved here," Carpenter told KCUR. "Mr. West's values are not our values. Hopefully, folks see this campaign that he's running for what it is, and reject it. I'm confident that the voters of the district will."
Carpenter called on the Republican Party to ask West to drop out of the race.
Editor's Note: This story has been updated with comments from Steve West and Jon Carpenter.
Kyle Palmer is KCUR's morning newscaster.