Missouri General Assembly candidate Steve West may be popular among his district’s Republicans, but two of his children are hoping he will either drop out or lose his race next week.
The 64-year-old construction company owner is a bigot who isn’t fit for elected office, his daughter Emily and son Andy told The Kansas City Star on Monday.
West, who is seeking to unseat Democratic incumbent Jon Carpenter in the Missouri House District 15 race, drew backlash in August when local media reported he frequently promoted anti-Semitic, Islamophobic and homophobic views on his radio show.
“My dad’s a fanatic,” Andy West, the middle of the candidate’s three children, told the Star. “He must be stopped. His ideology is pure hatred. It’s totally insane.”
“If he gets elected, it would legitimize him,” he added. “Then he would become a state official, and he’s saying that Jews shouldn’t even have civil rights.”
Emily West told the Star she hasn’t spoken to her father since August, when she asked him to drop out of the race.
“I can’t imagine him being in any level of government,” she said. “He’s made multiple comments that are racist and homophobic and how he doesn’t like the Jews.”
In an interview with HuffPost on Wednesday, Steve West denied being anti-Semitic and blamed his “poisonous” relationship with his ex-wife for his children’s attitudes.
“They’re trying to do everything they can to vilify me,” he said. “That’s fine. I’ve become kind of a lightning rod in this little race that I have here.”
If you listen to some of my radio shows ... at the end of the show, you’ll have an invitation to Christ. Because Christ is the answer. Christianity is the answer. Steve West
West told HuffPost that he believes Judaism and Islam are “political movements masquerading as religions” that are “antithetical to our Constitution,” echoing similar statements he has made on his KCXL radio show, “The Hard Truth with Jack Justice.”
“Looking back in history, unfortunately, Hitler was right about what was taking place in Germany. And who was behind it,” West said on his radio show in January 2017, according to the Star.
West told HuffPost that he believes homosexuality is a “learned behavior” and “an abomination to introduce to children.”
The Missouri Republican Party in August condemned the “shocking and vile comments” West had made on his radio show and said they were not a reflection of the organization’s position.
“West’s abhorrent rhetoric has absolutely no place in the Missouri Republican Party or anywhere,” the party said. “We wholeheartedly condemn his comments.”
When asked three separate times on Wednesday whether he believes Jews, Muslims and members of the LGBTQ community have a place in the United States, West refused to provide a direct answer.
“I’m not going to talk about that,” he told HuffPost. “Here’s the deal: If you listen to some of my radio shows ... at the end of the show, you’ll have an invitation to Christ. Because Christ is the answer. Christianity is the answer. That’s the way I see it.”
West is hardly the first candidate in the midterm elections whose family members have spoken out against them. Six of the nine siblings of Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) publicly endorsed his Democratic challenger. Minnesota state Rep. Jim Knoblach (R) dropped his re-election bid last month after his daughter accused him of molesting her.