-- A candidate for chairman of the California Republican Party apologized for circulating an article that suggested the nation would have been better off if the South had won the Civil War.

"I should have been more sensitive regarding issues raised in this piece and not included it in the e-mail," said Bill Back, the current vice chairman of the state GOP.

Back sent the article to party members in 1999 as part of an e-mail newsletter. It was written by Bill Lind of the Center for Cultural Conservatism, a wing of the conservative Free Congress Foundation.

"Given how bad things have gotten in the old USA, it's not hard to believe that history might have taken a better turn," Lind wrote. "The real damage to race relations in the South came not from slavery, but from Reconstruction, which would not have occurred if the South had won."

The letter, and complaints about it, surfaced again after Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) was forced to step down from his GOP leadership post after saying the nation would not have had so many problems if Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-S.C.) had triumphed in his 1948 pro-segregation run for president.

One political analyst predicted a similar fate for Back.

"I would declare his candidacy to be officially dead," Bruce Cain, a political science professor at the University of California at Berkeley, told the San Jose Mercury News.

Back said his newsletter was a forum for different views and that he did not agree with all of them.

"I believe his conclusions and analysis are fundamentally incorrect, and he mentioned nothing about how repugnant slavery was and its impact on America," he said of Lind's article.