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 March 26, 2024

Missouri Sec. of State says he can't remove KKK-affiliated gubernatorial candidate from ballot

This year, ballot removal decisions have dominated the headlines and have focused on efforts to remove former President Donald Trump from ballots in deeply blue states. 

However, there are additional ballot removal efforts for other candidates, including a situation developing in Missouri regarding the fate of a candidate affiliated with the Ku Klux Klan (KKK).

According to Gazette Extra, Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft announced this week that he does not have the unilateral authority to remove a gubernatorial candidate from the ballot who allegedly has ties to the KKK.

The situation has sparked intense controversy, to say the least.

Who is it?

Darrell Leon McClanahan III filed the appropriate paperwork to run for the governor's mansion last month. However, a photo surfaced of him standing next to a burning cross with a hooded member of the KKK.

The Missouri Republican Party acted fast to work to have him removed from the ballot, saying in a statement that the candidate's "affiliation with the Ku Klux Klan…fundamentally contradicts our party’s values and platform."

Ashcroft said that while previous court cases prevented him from making the decision to remove the candidate on his own, he offered his full support behind the Missouri Republican Party's lawsuit to have him removed.

"I don’t want members of the Ku Klux Klan that are associating with the Republican Party...they believe different things than I do," Ashcroft said. "I wish that we had processes to vet candidates to make sure that this wouldn’t happen. But I am glad that they are going to court to make sure that he will not be a representative of the Republican Party on the ballot."

The Missouri Republican Party requested the man's removal, but stated in the lawsuit that Ashcroft "refused to do so."

As far as unilaterally removing McClanahan from the ballot, Ashcroft, also a gubernatorial candidate, said, "I think that’s too much authority to have in one person’s hands."

What next?

McClanahan disputed that the state didn't know about his KKK affiliation prior to formally running for governor.

The Gazette Extra noted:

But McClanahan has alleged that the party “knew exactly who I am” and this is not the first time he has run for elected office as a Republican in Missouri.

The certification date for Missouri's election is May 28, and it's unclear if a decision will be made before that time.

Ashcroft vowed to not certify the candidate's name if ordered by the courts.

Written By:
Ryan Ledendecker

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