Most of the attention from Tuesday’s election results has been focused on the GOP gaining control of the US Senate, but a local Maryland election actually saw the most right-wing candidate in possibly any race pull out a victory.
Michael Peroutka was elected to the Anne Arundel County Council earlier this week. Peroutka is an extreme Christian Reconstructionist and supports southern secession, Right Wing Watch reported. He has also said “so-called civil rights laws” aren’t actually valid because “there is no such thing as a civil right.”
Peroutka says teaching or promoting evolution is “an act of disloyalty to America,” and believes gay people are trying to “recruit your children” to their “deathstyle.” He even said that since the state of Maryland passed a marriage equality law, the Maryland General Assembly is “no longer a valid legislative body” and none of its laws are “legally valid” or “legally enforceable.”
As RWW pointed out, Peroutka was also the 2004 presidential nominee for the Constitution Party, whose platform is “to restore American jurisprudence to its Biblical foundations and to limit the federal government to its Constitutional boundaries.” And before becoming a Republican to run for county council, he urged members of the Tea Party to “disengage themselves from the Republican Party and their brand of worthless, Godless, unprincipled conservatism.”
Peroutka also one served on the League of the South’s board and was a featured speaker at one of its conferences last year. When the Maryland media began bringing attention to his associating with the LOTS, Peroutka resigned and faked surprise at racist material on the group’s website, but still “told reporters, ‘I don’t have any problem with the organization.’”
Local elections are where people like this get their start. Before the Michele Bachmanns and Joni Ernsts and Mike Huckabees of the world enter the national stage, they’re elected to local offices. Low voter turnout, general disgust in the political system, and a lack of information on candidates help put people like this in office.
Despite the fact that Anne Arundel County is made up of “more registered Democrats than Republicans,” the American Prospect reported, the “the GOP tends to do well there.” But because “the make-up of the county is especially diverse, racially and socioeconomically,” there’s really nothing, demographically, that would suggest such a radically extreme right-wing candidate would do well.
Just 24 percent of residents voted in Anne Arundel’s primaries, which set up Peroutka for Tuesday’s victory. And while low turnout no doubt helped Peroutka, “there’s a very high degree of frustration with currently elected officials,” Anne Arundel County Councilman told the Prospect, “and voters were looking for something new – without paying a great deal of attention to what the ‘new’ might be.”
Hopefully the citizens of Anne Arundel will realize sooner rather than later that “new” doesn’t always mean “better,” and Peroutka will never win another election. If not, expect to see him rise through the ranks of the GOP and get real national attention in the not-so-distant future.