Ala. Candidate's Views Startle Democrats
Friday, May 12, 2006; 7:05 PM
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Democratic Party leaders are wondering what to do about a candidate for attorney general who denies the Holocaust occurred and wants to "reawaken white racial awareness."
Larry Darby, the founder of the Atheist Law Center, made an abortive bid for the AG job as a Libertarian in 2002, but only recently have his views on race and the Holocaust come to light.
He has no money for campaign advertising and has made only a few campaign speeches, but garnered 12 percent support in the June 6 primary in a poll of 400 registered voters last month.
The poll, which was conducted by a university professor for Alabama media outlets and has a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percentage points, shows Mobile County District Attorney John Tyson ahead with 21 percent of the vote but about two-thirds of respondents undecided.
The state Democratic chairman, Joe Turnham, said the party began an investigation last week after hearing about some of Darby's comments in a television interview.
While the party supports the free-speech rights of any candidate, Turnham said some of Darby's views appear to be in "a realm of thought that is unacceptable."
"Any type of hatred toward groups of people, especially for political gain, is completely unacceptable in the Alabama Democratic Party," said Turnham.
It is unclear whether the party could do anything at this point, although the party could decline to certify the results should he win.
In an interview Friday with The Associated Press, Darby said he believes no more than 140,000 Jewish people died in Europe during World War II, and most of them succumbed to typhus.
Historians say about 6 million Jews were slaughtered by the Nazis, but Darby said the figure is a false claim of the "Holocaust industry."
Darby said he will speak Saturday near Newark, N.J., at a meeting of National Vanguard, which bills itself as an advocate for the white race. Some of his campaign materials are posted on the group's Internet site.
"It's time to stop pushing down the white man. We've been discriminated against too long," Darby said in the interview.
Tyson said he does not consider Darby to be a serious candidate.
"I am astonished as anyone has ever been that anyone is running for public office in Alabama on that platform," he said.
The winner of the Democratic primary will face either Attorney General Troy King or Mark Montiel, his opponent in the Republican primary.