OH Congressional Candidate Iott Involved in Nazi Re-enactments
Congressional candidate Rich Iott, a Republican running in Ohio's ninth district, has recently faced criticism after photographs surfaced of him dressed in a Nazi uniform sometime in the mid-2000s. According to the Atlantic, Iott is a former member of a group called Wiking that participates in Nazi re-enactments. The group's website states that it is "a nonprofit, nonpolitical organization dedicated to the preservation of the history of WW II and the lifestyle of the German combat soldier (specifically Waffen-SS foreign volunteers)," according to the New York Times.
According to the Atlantic, Iott's name first appears on the organization's roster in 2003. He was involved with the group under the alias "Richard Pferdmann," in order to "get into the persona of the time period...create this person largely based on a Germanized version of their name." Iott has expressed admiration for the military successes of the Nazis during World War II, stating, "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," reported Atlantic.
In his congressional race, Iott faces incumbent Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (D), who has condemned the pictures. Kaptur spokesman Steve Foster told the Toledo Blade, "The Waffen SS was found to be a criminal organization...At a minimum, it calls into question [Iott's] judgment." According to Politico, House Minority Whip Republican Eric Cantor (R-VA) also condemned Iott's involvement.
Iott's campaign has refused to apologize for the photographs. "Rich Iott is not a Nazi," his campaign spokesman Matt Parker told the Toledo Blade. "He's not going to apologize for being involved in historical re-enactments."
Media Resources: Atlantic 10/8/10; New York Times 10/11/10; Toledo Blade 10/10/10; Politico 10/12/10