The gunman who murdered three people in Kansas on Sunday was defeated in primary races in the Democratic and the Republican parties, which could complicate any partisan effort to associate either party with the unusual anti-Semitic attack.
Frazier Glenn Miller was reportedly arrested after the attacks in Kansas, which killed one Jewish woman, and two non-Jews, a grandfather and his 14 year-old grandson.
In 1984, Miller ran in the Democratic primary for the gubernatorial race in North Carolina, but lost after getting only 5,790 votes. In 1986, he switched parties and was defeated in the GOP primary for a state Senate seat, after getting only 6,662 votes.
President Barack Obama released a cautious statement on Sunday about the shooting. “Michelle and I offer our thoughts and prayers to the families and friends who lost a loved one and everyone affected by this tragedy,” he said.
“While we do not know all of the details surrounding today’s shooting, the initial reports are heartbreaking. I want to offer my condolences to all the families trying to make sense of this difficult situation and pledge the full support from the federal government as we heal and cope during this trying time.”
Obama is unlikely to use the shooting to revive his gun-control agenda, partly because he’s trying to protect several Democratic senators who are running in gun-rights states this November. The shooting, however, may be used as ammunition in the Democrats’ continued campaign to paint the GOP as hostile to minorities.
Miller, who sometimes called himself “Frazier Glenn Cross,” was a former soldier who served two tours in Vietnam before being pushed out of the army in 1979, and then becoming a “Grand Dragon of the Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.”
The 1970s Klan was a rebirth of the post-Civil War Klan, which was formed to terrorize black voters and elected Republicans in the southern states.
In the 1920s, the Klan re-branded itself as an anti-corruption, anti-Catholic civic improvement group. For example, the longest-serving U.S. senator, West Virginia’s Democratic Sen. Robert Byrd, was a Klan leader in the 1940s.
The Klan shriveled in the 1940s, before returning again in the 1960s to protest and block racial-equality laws.
Miller served time in jail from 1987 to 1990. He formed his own racist and white-separatist party. He ran for election numerous times, partly because it allowed him to run radio ads about his political goals at cheap, government-set rates.