An independent candidate for Congress in New York is facing questions over recent statements suggesting Latino farmworkers be deported and inner-city African-Americans be bused to farms to replace them.
Wealthy businessman Jack Davis, who is running for former Rep. Chris Lee's (R-N.Y.) seat as an Independent, made the comments during an interview with GOP officials in February, the Buffalo News reported.
Davis, who has made several runs for the House as a Democrat and Republican, made similar statements in 2008. "We have a huge unemployment problem with black youth in our cities. Put them on buses, take them out there [to the farms] and pay them a decent wage; they will work," he said then.
He apparently echoed those remarks when he was interviewing for the special-election nomination with the seven GOP county chairmen in the 26th district. Davis's spokesman acknowledged the comments "may not be politically correct and ... may not be racially correct."
Local GOP leaders weren't impressed.
"I was thunderstruck," Amherst GOP Chairman Marshall Wood told the paper. "Maybe in 1860 that might have been seen by some as an appropriate comment, but not now."
The report could help clear the way for GOP nominee Jane Corwin. The state lawmaker has the party's institutional backing, but could face Iraq war veteran Davis Bellavia in addition to a Democrat in a three-way race. The special election is set for May 24.