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Democratic Party leaders are wondering what to do about a candidate for state attorney general who denies that the Holocaust took place and wants to "reawaken white racial awareness."
Larry Darby, the founder of the Atheist Law Center, made an abortive bid for the attorney general job as a Libertarian in 2002, but only recently have his views on race and the Holocaust come to light.
In an interview Friday, Darby said he believed that no more than 140,000 Jews died in Europe during World War II, and most of them succumbed to typhus.
Historians say about 6 million Jews were slaughtered by the Nazis, but Darby said the figure was a false claim by the "Holocaust industry." Darby said he would speak Saturday near Newark, New Jersey, at a meeting of National Vanguard, which bills itself as an advocate for the white race. Some of his campaign materials are posted on the group's Internet site.
"It's time to stop pushing down the white man. We've been discriminated against too long," Darby said in the interview.
The Alabama state Democratic chairman, Joe Turnham, said the party began an investigation last week after hearing about some of Darby's comments in a television interview.
While the party supports the free-speech rights of any candidate, some of Darby's views appear to be in "a realm of thought that is unacceptable," Turnham said. "Any type of hatred toward groups of people, especially for political gain, is completely unacceptable in the Alabama Democratic Party," he said.
It is unclear whether the party can do anything at this point, although it could decline to certify the results should Darby win.
Darby has no money for campaign advertising and has made only a few campaign speeches, but he garnered 12 percent support ahead of the June 6 primary in a poll of 400 registered voters last month.
The survey, which was conducted by a university professor for Alabama media outlets and has a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percentage points, shows Mobile County District Attorney John Tyson ahead with 21% of the vote with about two-thirds of respondents undecided.
Tyson said he did not consider Darby to be a serious candidate.
"I am astonished as anyone has ever been that anyone is running for public office in Alabama on that platform," he said.