Missouri House race in Northland making waves after candidate’s controversial comments

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A Northland man who has never run for office is now on the national political radar for some controversial comments.

Despite the fact Republican Steve West won with 49 percent of the vote, backlash from critics has come from many directions following his primary win last week for a seat in the Missouri House.

Democrat Jon Carpenter has held the Missouri House seat for District 15 for the last six years. He started this year’s race uncontested but is now facing West.

“The things that Steve West has said are far more extreme and bigoted and racist and antisemitic and anti-gay than anything I've ever heard out of the president," Carpenter said.

Steve West

West just joined the political scene.

“I’ve always been political, a bit of talk show junkie my whole life," West said.

He ran because no Republican had filed for the seat. Not only did he win, but with 49 percent of the 3,003 total party votes, he got more that all three of his Republican opponents combined.

“I was surprised that he won," Carpenter said. "My only hope is that maybe folks just didn't know about these views, that they weren't reading the materials that he was putting out.”

Critics have called West’s messages anti-Islam, anti-LGBTQ and anti-Semitic. He’s also calling for choice for parents in public schools, welfare reform and the banning of pornography.

West said he hasn’t posted on YouTube in a couple years but does keep up with his radio show. That’s where, last month, he said: “Looking back in history, unfortunately, Hitler was right about what was taking place in Germany.”

“The problem that took place in Germany after World War I was that communists took over Germany, and then Nazism was a response to that," he said. "Now they're going to say that I'm a Nazi. I'm not a Nazi. I don't believe in racial supremacy. I don't believe in anything that Hitler did. Now they have taken that line out of context, and all you hear now is that a bigoted Republican primary candidate now says Hitler was right.”

Jon Carpenter

But Carpenter cites a history of the remarks that he said West has said over a period of years.

“I hope it's shocking to everybody," Carpenter said. "I mean, this is antisemitism, Islamophobia, homophobia, racism to a degree that really shocks the conscience.”

Carpenter said the political climate today is more divisive than ever before but called West’s ideology “the worst stuff I’ve ever seen.”

FOX4 asked West whether he hates Jewish people.

“Not at all. I believe in our Declaration of Independence that all men are created equal, but there are ideologies that go contrary to that," he responded.

West doesn’t have the support of the Missouri GOP or Clay County Republicans.

The Missouri Republican Party released the following statement followings West's comments:

"Steve West's shocking and vile comments do not reflect the position of the Missouri Republican Party or indeed of any decent individual. West's abhorrent rhetoric has absolutely no place in the Missouri Republican Party or anywhere. We wholeheartedly condemn his comments."

The regional director for the Anti-Defamation League, Karen Aroesty, also issued the following statement:

"I have long felt that extremists live on the fringe of society, and we need to keep them there.  While ADL as a 501(c)3 does not takes sides in political contests, we have a mission driven mandate to shine the light of truth on hate, and Steve West is a key example of why bigotry needs to be exposed. His hateful views on Islam, the LGBTQ community, Jews, and African-Americans and belief in  outlandish conspiracy theory should be a wake-up call for any voter of any party in any election in this country.  Please learn carefully who you are voting for and what their platform truly says."

But West said it doesn’t matter.

“People are sympathetic to these issues," he said. "None of these other politicians will dare go there. They also have been subject to political correctness, and they don’t dare make these arguments. It’s about time we made these arguments.”

“To all of the folks that Mr. West has targeted with his hate -- Muslims, Jews, Catholics, the LGBTQ community, people of all races, and immigrants -- I just want to say that they are welcome in our Northland community, that Mr. West's values are not our values," Carpenter said. "We're going to win this thing with love, not hate. Love always conquers hate in the end. I just think people from those communities deserve to know that Mr. West doesn't represent us.”

To read FOX4's full interview with West, click or tap here. To read Carpenter's full interview, click or tap here.