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White Supremacist Runs for Sheriff, Vows Not to Discriminate

By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on March 21, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

A white supremacist sheriff candidate. It seems like an oxymoron, but Shaun Winkler is the real deal.

The 33-year-old is running for sheriff in Bonner County, Idaho, despite his affiliation with the Aryan Nation and the Church of Jesus Christ-Christian. He calls himself a "concerned citizen," and believes law enforcement isn't doing enough to combat drugs and sex offenders.

He also claims he won't discriminate on the job.

Whether or not voters will believe Shaun Winkler remains to be seen, but some question whether he should even be able to run for office. He's an admitted white supremacist running for a law enforcement position. That's got to be illegal, right?

Wrong. There's nothing illegal about a white supremacist sheriff candidate. Racism is not illegal, and individuals cannot be kept from office simply because they have exercised their First Amendment right to hate. Elected positions can generally only be restricted by age, residency, and citizenship. Sometimes a law degree may also be required.

What would be illegal is if Shaun Winkler is elected and then allows his views to influence his job. It's absolutely 100% illegal under federal and state laws for law enforcement officers to carry out their jobs in a discriminatory way. Everyone is entitled to equal treatment by the county sheriff.

Residents of Bonner County probably won't have to worry about this. Shaun Winkler is running against two other candidates: a police officer and the incumbent, according to the Bonner County Daily Bee. Why would anyone elect a white supremacist sheriff candidate when they can elect someone with experience?

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