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South Carolina mayoral race includes a ‘Holocaust revisionist’ and an admirer of Hitler
One candidate in the Hilton Head, S.C., mayoral race is a self-described "Holocaust revisionist" who has denied facts of the mass genocide of Jews at the hands of the Nazis.
Another praised the leadership style of Adolf Hitler.
Michael Santomauro, a libertarian-leaning Republican, has made his career out of publishing and distributing Holocaust denial literature, The Post and Courier reported Thursday.
The Island Packet noted earlier this month that Santomauro runs a website called RePortersNoteBook.com - offering rewards to people who can disprove the validity of Holocaust events like the number of those killed or the existence of Nazi gas chambers at extermination camps.
During the city's first public forum in the mayor race, Santomauro spoke out on free speech rights and an April bill passed by South Carolina legislators to formally define anti-Semitism.
"If none of my opponents will denounce censorship, that alone disqualifies all them for elective office!" he yelled during the forum.
An audience member reportedly shouted at him to leave.
Santomauro is competing in a crowded mayoral race on the coastal island against six other candidates.
Barry Ginn, a real estate agent, called him "an idiot." Sandon Preston, a waiter, told the newspaper that Santormauro was just "looking for a soapbox."
One of his competitors, however, was not as quick to disavow Santomauro.
Rochelle Williams said she admired Nazi leader Adolf Hitler's leadership.
"He did what he had to do," Williams said while being interviewed at her workplace, a free summer lunch program for children in need. "He got that many people to follow him. He must have been doing something right."
Williams said she liked Hitler's ability to control his constituents.
"I like the power part, I guess, the control part," she said.
It is unclear what Williams's political affiliation is.
Santomauro is not the only candidate running for office this year that has denied facts of the Holocaust.
Arthur Jones, the former head of the American Nazi Party, was the only Republican candidate in Illinois's 3rd Congressional District outside of Chicago.
Santomauro told The Post and Courier that political correctness "has gotten out of hand" and that he voted for President Trump in the 2016 presidential election.
He has never run for public office before but said he felt that "with Trump being in the air, that maybe this is my moment."