OH-09: Republican Rich Iott Is Nazi Re-Enactor

This takes the cake, doesn’t it?

An election year already notable for its menagerie of extreme and unusual candidates can add another one: Rich Iott, the Republican nominee for Congress from Ohio’s 9th District, and a Tea Party favorite, who for years donned a German Waffen SS uniform and participated in Nazi re-enactments.

Iott, whose district lies in Northwest Ohio, was involved with a group that calls itself Wiking, whose members are devoted to re-enacting the exploits of an actual Nazi division, the 5th SS Panzer Division Wiking, which fought mainly on the Eastern Front during World War II. Iott’s participation in the Wiking group is not mentioned on his campaign’s website, and his name and photographs were removed from the Wiking website.

When contacted by The Atlantic, Iott confirmed his involvement with the group over a number of years, but said his interest in Nazi Germany was historical and he does not subscribe to the tenets of Nazism. “No, absolutely not,” he said. “In fact, there’s a disclaimer on the [Wiking] website. And you’ll find that on almost any reenactment website. It’s purely historical interest in World War II.”

Yeah, this is the guy:

Major props to the Atlantic’s excellent Josh Green for uncovering the story. Click the link to read more – and see more pics and even a video. I think my recent cracks about “consolidating panzer divisions” might wind up proving literally true in this district.

UPDATE: Good catch by TPM – the NRCC has already removed Iott from its Young Guns list.

66 thoughts on “OH-09: Republican Rich Iott Is Nazi Re-Enactor”

  1. when people try to nationalize a local race (i.e. Sarah Palin will make someone less likely to vote for someone in New Hampshire)

    That being said, this COULD really have a national effect if it the story lasts long enough. I mean, Sharon Angle has some rather fringe ideas, but at least she doesn’t have a fucking nazi fetish (that we know of)

  2. That is really disturbing.  I’m someone who has academically studied the Civil War for a long time, and have met some more “weekend Civil War historians.”  I’ve found there’s a clear line between those on the one hand who have an active amateur interest in history, and may go to events and collect Confederate memorabilia — and on the other hand those who really do dream about being in General Lee’s army.  It’s this second group that Mr. Iott strikes me as a member of.

  3. I wonder if he’s got the Horst Wessel Song on his Ipod because, you know, it’s got a good beat and you can dance to it.  This would be believable that they were just doing historical re-enactment if they also had a ‘team’ playing the red army and they took it in turns or something.  But I only see this German division.  And he joined it with his fracking SON as a father-son bonding tactic.  How twisted is that?

  4. before I get worked up about it.  I don’t really connect with reenactments, but there is a difference between a bunch of historians doing it and a bunch of neo-nazis doing it.  

  5. they were doing yahtzee re-enactments.  or patzi re-enactments from happy days.  or he just wanted more people to play “worship-the-fuhrer-opoly” with.  don’t want dumb jokes made about you?  don’t dress like a freaking nazi!


  6. I’m not going to defend the guy, it seems like he enjoys the re-enacting thing a little too much.

    However, why leave out what else he does?

    “He added that he has participated in re-enactments as a Civil War Union infantryman, a World War I dough boy and World War II American infantryman and paratrooper.”

    Are you going to condemn him for those roles too? I mean, it’d only be fair.

  7. I have to admit, when I saw the link referring to an Ohio Republican candidate and Nazism, I thought to myself, “Please be the guy in Kucinich’s, Fudge’s, Kaptur’s, or Ryan’s district.” So it was a bit of a relief that it wasn’t someone who had a chance of winning, but God, this is embarrassing for the Ohio GOP. Isn’t this the point of research?

  8. Simple lesson; if you want to run for office, you need to plan for it BEFORE you put on the Nazi uniform.  Not that people my age are throwing on Nazi uniforms, but there will be many of us who will get busted for our Fbook pictures.  The mods might as well start preparing witty remarks now so they’re twenty years ahead of the game.

  9. If I was the Ohio GOP chairman I would denounce him and find someone to run a write in campaign and throw my support to them. They are not going to win anyhow might as well save face.  

  10. On what ground is the man a Nazi sympathizer or neo-Nazi? Yeah, he does historical re-enactments that may be a bit romanticized. All they are doing is LARPing. There is nothing I read in the article or in any of the coverage of this to indicate these people are fighting for the third reich or praising their fuhrer or hate Jews.

    Anybody miss this nugget? “He added that he has participated in re-enactments as a Civil War Union infantryman, a World War I dough boy and World War II American infantryman and paratrooper.”

    Wait, so is he an evil Nazi or an American patriot? Oh, he must be hiding his real sympathies behind other LARPs.

    Come on! I feel bad for this guy. He is being villainized for an innocent hobby.  

  11. but it could have a slight influence in the neighboring districts (Sutton, Boccieri), and perhaps the statewide races.

  12. Maybe if this was a statewide race, or even a competitive Congressional race, it could have a broader impact. But Marcy Kaptur wasn’t in any danger of losing her seat, even in this enviornment — so my guess is everyone will denounce him, he’ll get beat even worse than he would before, and that will be it.

  13. this guy is a Tea Party candidate. There could be some play here, even if the Dems let the media do it for them.

    I mean, really, if you had to guess what % of Tea Party members were Neo Nazis, wouldn’t you put it at least at 10%? This could reinforce a much larger national narrative.

  14. has been recently accused of sexual harrassment – by a former supporter who’s a tea partier. So I’d imagine (hope) that voters in the region might start asking themselves: What’s wrong with these people?

  15. and was forcing Kaptur to campaign and run attack ads (which, of course, Iott was well-funded enough to counter). Kaptur can nuke this guy now, if he isn’t forced to drop out of the race under a cloud of shame.

  16. will denounce him? Looking at some of the House candidates the GOP has this year in Ohio, I’d be shocked if they actually denounce him.

  17. Yes, I agree with you that hopefully one more example of just how “around the bend” these people are could have a broader impact.

  18. … this is at least one right-wing wacko we can actually call a Nazi (or at least someeone who plays one on the weekend!).

  19. I don’t think the guy is a neo-nazi, but this sort of statement bothers me.

    Iott, a member of the Ohio Military Reserve, added, “I’ve always been fascinated by the fact that here was a relatively small country that from a strictly military point of view accomplished incredible things. I mean, they took over most of Europe and Russia, and it really took the combined effort of the free world to defeat them. From a purely historical military point of view, that’s incredible.”

    That sounds way too much like he admires what the Nazis accomplished – even if it’s just from a ‘military’ aspect, that makes me uncomfortable.  There are degrees, of course.  If someone said they admired Erwin Rommel’s skills as a general, I would not give it a second thought and when Prince Harry dressed up as a member of the German Africa Corps a few years ago, I just thought it was a bit of bad judgment.  But these guys don’t seem to be re-creating battles they way most historical re-enactors do; with both sides represented and playing things out.

  20. I’ve been to exactly 1 civil war reenactment…and I will not go to one again.  My in-laws dragged their “city boy” to one in the Eastern part on NC.  I’d say 80% of the attendees take it with a grain of salt.  The other 20% take these things way too seriously.  I’ll never forget this guy who was wearing a T-shirt bearing the confederate flag with the caption “Heritage, not Hatred”.  Another lady was telling everyone the “true reason why the Civil War happened”.  It was scary…somewhat like this Lott fellow.

  21. A Civil War historian can talk about the undeniable military skills of Robert E. Lee or Stonewall Jackson or Nathan Bedford Forrest, but: 1) You need to historically contextualize what happened on the battlefield, and not divorce it from the broader cause they were fighting for, and 2) Recognizing say Rommel’s skills as a general is not the same as some doe-eyed, romantic view of Nazis.

  22. were in the service of exterminating SIX MILLION HUMAN BEINGS with millions more to go before he was defeated. And you wouldn’t give it a second thought??? The most evil event in this fucking planet’s history?

    Mods- sorry if OT, but some of the people justifying for this guy this morning are just incredible. Sheesh.

  23. It was crazy how many people will actually observe these reenactments…people travel from all over the US to see them.  Maybe more are actually “historically-based”…I don’t know.

  24. Even in the somewhat cosmopolitan metropolis of Hampton Roads, I see those “heritage not hate” bumper stickers pretty frequently.

    The really disgusting ones are the ones that say “I have a dream” with a Confederate flag flying over the White House.

  25. And it probably is different being in the North, that I didn’t see that much overtly “Lost Cause Mythology” stuff going on, but there certainly were a few people like that.  I was also impressed by the solid knowledge of military history some of the people had.  But you’re right — these are really popular, although at the one big one I’ve been to, really good ice cream and corn-on-the-cob seemed to be the most popular aspects!  

  26. I remember my wife and I were in culture shock…and hell, she was from that area!  I think the town liked having these reenactments because its a temporary boon to the local economy.

  27. Jesse James and Bombshell McGee are probably sending in their contributions as we speak.

  28. that you found one one of those “Downfall” videos on Youtube, as the copyright holder finally had them all removed en mass earlier this year. Which was dumb as even the original film’s director himself stated he had no problems with the parodies and had actually seen most of them and enjoyed them.

  29. Only one of those was part of a regime that participated in the mass genocidal slaughter of innocent civilians. Seriously, what the fuck?

  30. Dude, did you even read my comment?  I’m not justifying this toad – in every comment I wrote on this subject, I slammed him.  As for Rommel, do you hate Churchill, too?

    He was a splendid military gambler, dominating the problems of supply and scornful of opposition  … His ardor and daring inflicted grievous disasters upon us, but he deserves the salute which I made him – and not without some reproaches from the public – in the House of Commons in January 1942, when I said of him, “We have a very daring and skillful opponent against us, and, may I say across the havoc of war, a great general.”

    He also deserves our respect because, although a loyal German soldier, he came to hate Hitler and all his works, and took part in the conspiracy to rescue Germany by displacing the maniac and tyrant. For this, he paid the forfeit of his life. In the sombre wars of modern democracy, chivalry finds no place … Still, I do not regret or retract the tribute I paid to Rommel, unfashionable though it was judged.

    I wasn’t saying anything about Rommel myself – I’m really not a military historian.  But given that this is what Churchill said about him, it wouldn’t startle me to hear someone else say something similar.  He wasn’t J├╝rgen Stroop.

  31. Remember, while the Tea Party of course doesn’t formally have any members, some quarter to 30% of Americans describe themselves as a Tea Party supporter, according to successive AP/GfK and USA Today/Gallup polls.

  32. How was he a “Young gun” in the first place?

    Is this program for anyone in the GOP who has a hearbeat and is under 70 years old?

  33. Is this program for anyone in the GOP who has a hearbeat and is under 70 years old?

    Yup. Its more like cast out a net and see how many fish (in this case house seats) you can get.

  34. when they bumped Ben Lange (IA-01) up to Young Gun, they had nearly 90 at that level. The NRCC’s only spending money in about 45-50 districts, though.

    What amazes me is that even though the group of Young Guns is so huge, they left Brad Zaun (IA-03) down on the second tier “contender” level. Most people would consider IA-03 among the top 90 seats that could flip to the Republicans. The DCCC is still spending money for Leonard Boswell, direct mail and now two tv ads.

  35. While the sheer size of the movement probably dilutes the numbers a bit, I’m speaking more of those who would formally affiliate themselves with the group, rather than simply saying they support some of its tenants.

    A lot of the Tea Party consists of militia members, John Birch society members, and I would guess neo-nazis and white supremacists if such numbers were more readily available.

    I wouldn’t be so surprised if it’s much larger, actually. If you would say that the T.P. members are 5% of the country, and that 0.5% of the country are white supremacists (again, these numbers are out of my head, but don’t seem unreasonable to me). Then, I don’t think there’s much guesswork in terms of whom said white supremacists would affiliate with. It’s certainly not the party that just elected a black guy President.  

  36. seriously though, this is one reason why I think the tea party will hurt the republicans in the end (2012 and on).  they seem to think that any time the establishment tries to keep them out, it’s avast conspiracy to keep out the constitutionalists, when in reality some people just shouldn’t be involved in politics.  

  37. just north of chapel hill.  The place I saw the reenactment was in Plymouth, NC.  There’s significant racial tension in that area.  

    Hillsborough a pretty progressive area.  About 70% of the 2008 Presidential vote went for Obama…In Hillsborough, it was above 60%.

  38. even earlier. I’ve seen kids younger than that playing around with their parent’s smart phones while at the doctor’s office. At this rate you need to pop out of your mother’s uniform with a briefcase in one hand and wearing a suit if you want to run for office.

  39. read through it twice.  then i discovered the little comics over the red button and read through the archive a third time.  

  40. fair, Prince Harry was thoroughly raked over the coals by the world wide media when he was stupid enough to show up at a party wearing a Nazi armband. Sure this isn’t a big deal to you and others, but its a big deal to those who remember the holocaust and Hitler’s atrocities. Just like Helen Thomas’ off the cuff comments about Israel might not of bothered me personally, it bothered a lot of people which resulted in her forced retirement. And when you run for public office things like this is dug up all the time.  

  41. The fact is you have a picture of a guy who wants to go to Congress in Nazi drag. There’s no real way you can spin this to make it look good. The Republicans obviously don’t see any need to defend him, since they’ve dropped him from the Young Guns “Republican challenger with a pulse” list. This kind of thing should be a no-brainer; maybe candidate filing forms should include a box that says “check here if you have made statements sympathizing with white supremacists, called for violent revolution, or dressed up as a Nazi soldier”.

    I find it disgusting that anyone would want to dress up like this, regardless of historical interest. An innocent hobby is reading about WW2, not dressing up as an SS officer and romanticizing the plight of the German Army.

  42. I agree this is being overblown, putting on a Nazi uniform in a reenactment is weird but not disqualifying IMO. It’s not like he put on a Nazi uniform to march in the streets of Skokie.

    That having been said I think it is absolutely fair for Democrats to use this to their full advantage, politics is a blood sport and anyone who has any thoughts of running for office and is dumb enough to put on a Nazi uniform for whatever reason deserves what they get.

  43. You are welcome to explain why you don’t think this is a big deal (even though, I’ll note, the NRCC appears to disagree with you). But this is not the place to defend Republicans or air your personal views on matters like this. In other words, don’t start exhorting people here to “come on!”.

  44. Prince Harry and this guy were wearing costumes. Helen Thomas was making a statement of her personal beliefs. To make these the same thing, you would have to say Prince Harry or this candidate believe that national socialism is a positve good or some aspect of Nazi belief.

    It seems an indictment of the electorate if people buy into crappy arguments like this. What’s next, people who dress up like Hitler for Halloween want to be the next fuhrer?

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