Fargo-based white supremacist Pete Tefft (who prefers to refer to himself as a “pro-white civil rights activist,” whatever that is) made a stir recently when he began posting social media messages supporting Republican U.S. Senate candidate Tom Campbell and criticizing Democratic incumbent Heidi Heitkamp.
In a statement released today NDGOP Chairman Kelly Armstrong (himself a state Senator from Dickinson) ripped Tefft, and threw some shade that the Forum for publishing Tefft’s letter too. Here’s the statement Armstrong texted me:
The reason the Campbell campaign blocked Peter Teft [sic] from commenting on Tom Campbell’s social media pages has nothing to do with politics. The Campbell campaign muted this young man’s beliefs because they are troubled and vile and do not deserve a platform. They were right to do so and it’s unfortunate that Forum Communications refuses to do the same.
Mr. Teft [sic], I want to be perfectly clear. The NDGOP finds your views to be abhorrent. We do not want your support. WE do not want your vote. Your five minutes were up a long time ago. The Fargo Forum gave you five more. Those are over now too. Please go craw back under a rock.
Everyone else have a Merry Christmas.
Some tough words.
I interviewed Armstrong on air and he was a bit more circumspect in his criticism of the Forum for publishing the letter. “Under any other circumstance Mr. Tefft wouldn’t merit a response,” Armstrong told me going on to say that he felt he had to respond when Tefft’s letter is published by the largest newspaper in the state.
I’ll add the audio of Armstrong’s interview with me when it’s available.
I don’t think the Forum did anything wrong in publishing Tefft’s letter. He’s a member of the community, and as repugnant as most of us find his views, if we’re going to have an open discourse in our society then all points of view need to be involved.