Bay Area voters get political robocalls, but they’ve never gotten a robocall complaining about “the Jewish-conducted attack of 9/11.” That all changed Tuesday, when Contra Costa County voters got robocalled with a wildly anti-Semitic message in support of Republican candidate John Fitzgerald, who’s running for the U.S. House of Representatives seat currently held by Democrat Mark DeSaulnier.
KTVU has the full audio of the call recorded in the video above. The call bizarrely plays Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth” in the background as the as a narrator says, “End the Jewish takeover of America, and restore our democracy by voting John Fitzgerald for U.S. Congress,” and “Your vote for John Fitzgerald means no more U.S. wars for Israel based on their lies, like the Jewish-conducted attack of 9/11.”
Fitzgerald was quick to call it a dirty trick and a “a smear against my campaign,” noting that the call was paid for by an outside white nationalist group called TheRoadToPower.com. But Fitzgerald’s campaign platform is a diatribe of 9/11 conspiracy theories, anti-vaccine sentiment, and screeds against “financial interests of Israel and Jewish supremacists or elitists.” Media Matters details a laundry list of Fitzgerald’s anti-Semitic statements, including, “Everything we’ve been told about the Holocaust is a lie. So my entire campaign, for the most part, is about exposing this lie.”
The California Republican Party revoked their endorsement of Fitzgerald in May, and the Contra Costa Republican Party had never endorsed him.
But Fitzgerald is the Republican on November’s ballot, having finished a solid second place with 23 percent of the vote in the June 5 primary. He faces the Democratic incumbent DeSaulnier, who got 68 percent of the vote in June.
Fitzgerald might just seem like a wacky one-off outlier of California’s top-two primary system, but he’s also part of a larger disturbing trend. Rolling Stone notes that eight openly and proudly bigoted candidates for U.S. Congress nationwide have qualified to appear on November ballots as Republicans. Here in California, the attorney general reported this week that hate crime increased 17.4 percent in 2017 compared to 2016.
“An attack motivated by hate against one of us is an attack on all of us,” California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in a statement. “We must strive to make California a place of tolerance — hate crimes have no place here.”
Let’s hope that remains the case after Election Day.