Palm Beach County Republican Party leaders are breathing a sigh of relief — for now.
Unbeknownst to them, Derek Black, 19, who was elected a Republican committeeman in August, is the son of a former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard. He was to have been sworn in last week, but party leaders discovered that he had failed to sign a loyalty oath before the election, which disqualified him.
“That was good news for us,” said Sid Dinerstein, the Republican county chairman. “Had he signed it, he would have been seated and we would have gone to our state body and asked that he be removed because the oath has a clause about activities harmful to the Republican Party. And to the best of our knowledge, he remains an active participant in his father’s Stormfront Web site.”
The Anti-Defamation League said Stormfront “serves as a supermarket of online hate. In fact, in the aftermath of President-elect [Barack] Obama’s election victory, the racist and vitriolic postings on Stormfront overloaded its server to the point where the site was temporarily shut down.”
Although Black told local media in Florida that he is not a white supremacist, the ADL said that he is, in fact, “a rising star in the movement.” Andrew Rosenkranz, the ADL’s Florida regional director, described Black as a “racist who believes that whites are smarter than non-whites.” He said Black has been attending white supremacist gatherings since he was 10.
Black’s background came to light when a newspaper gossip columnist informed Dinnerstein.
Dinerstein said he was unaware of Stormfront and “sure didn’t know that their main Web site operated out of [Black’s] house here in Palm Beach.” He said Black attended last week’s committee meeting sporting “long red hair flowing out from under his black hat.”
Black’s father, Don, told The Jewish Week that his son does not believe a majority of committee members would vote to seat him and that he was exploring the possibility of filing a federal suit.
“The issue is whether the state Republican chairman has the authority” to change the election rules, which previously required the signing of the loyalty oath after the election, he said.
“Derek was elected,” Don Black said. “He has a certificate from the supervisor of elections of Palm Beach County certifying that he was elected. … We think that what was done was patently illegal.”