White Supremacist With Ties To Neo-Nazi Groups Elected To Pennsylvania County GOP Committee
The newest member of the Luzerne County Republican Party Committee
Republicans in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania have elected Steve Smith, a lifelong white supremacist with close ties to neo-Nazi groups and groups like Aryan Nations, to the county’s GOP Committee.
The elections, which took place in late April, were certified by the committee two weeks ago, and Smith notified supporters of his victory last week by posting a message to the online forum White News Now.
The Southern Poverty Law Center has documented Smith’s participation with known skinhead organizations like Keystone State Skinheads, (now Keystone United) which he co-founded in 2001. And his racist activism extends far beyond violent rhetoric as well, into actual violence:
In March 2003, he and two other KSS members were arrested in Scranton for beating up Antoni Williams, a black man, using stones and chunks of pavement. Smith pleaded guilty to terrorist threats and ethnic intimidation and received a 60-day sentence and probation.
Smith is also an active member of local Tea Party groups, a network that he used to gain support for his bid for the committee seat. According to the SPLC, Smith referred to the Tea Party as “fertile grounds for our activists.”
Luzerne County is hardly a small rural county either. According to the 2010 census, over 320,000 people live in Luzerne, many in the county seat of Wilkes-Barre, a large city of over 40,000 people. And in an interesting juxtaposition with the election of an anti-immigrant bigot, Luzerne County saw the nation’s largest county-level increase of Hispanics between 2000 and 2010.