FREDERICK, MD., JULY 9 -- Maryland Democratic officials plan to actively campaign against Ku Klux Klan leader Roger Kelly, who has filed as a Democrat for a Frederick County Commission seat.
Democratic Chairman Nathan Landow said the party would abandon its normal policy of not intervening in primaries.
"We dissociate ourselves completely with this man. He may call himself a Democrat, but he is not accepted as a Democrat," Landow said. "He will get no support from us -- in fact, just the opposite. We'll do everything we can do to work against him."
Kelly said he expected Democrats to reject him.
"I've gotten a lot of support from Republicans -- overwhelming in fact," Kelly said. "They can't vote for me, but they can donate money. I think if I make it through the primary, I'll take the general election."
Kelly, 36, of Rocky Ridge in northern Frederick County, is the grand dragon of the Invisible Empire Knights of the KKK. He is one of 16 Democrats seeking five nominations. There are 10 Republicans in the race.
"I hope it doesn't hinder my chances," Kelly said. "Everyone knows I've been in it for over 10 years, so it's no use hiding it."
Kelly, who works at a brick factory, has tried to build membership in Maryland's KKK for three years.
He took the town of Thurmont to court in 1988 to get a parade permit and won with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union.
On July 1, 1989, more than 600 people carrying anti-racism signs greeted Kelly and other robed Klansmen when they assembled for a rally in a downtown Frederick park. The Klansmen fled in the back of a truck, which was pelted with a several rocks as it pulled away.