Enid, Oklahoma, Holds A Recall Vote For Judd Blevins On April 2: That’s The Joke.

April Fool's Day would have seemed more appropriate for the effort to pry an alleged white supremacist out of office.
Judd Blevins, a city councilman in Enid, Oklahoma, speaks residents on March 26 before a community forum. Blevins, who has been connected with white nationalist groups, faces a recall vote.
Judd Blevins, a city councilman in Enid, Oklahoma, speaks residents on March 26 before a community forum. Blevins, who has been connected with white nationalist groups, faces a recall vote.
Sean Murphy/Associated Press

On Tuesday, April 2, Enid, Oklahoma, will hold an election on whether to recall Judd Blevins from his position as a City Council member. April 1 would have been more appropriate.

Why the recall? He was in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017, at the “Unite the Right” rally, along with avowed white nationalists and neo-Nazis chanting, “Jews will not replace us.” You know: one of those “good people on both sides” kind of people.

Voters elected Blevins in February 2023. Few seemed concerned, or maybe even aware, about his past associations, despite a front-page story in the Enid News & Eagle a month before the vote.

The article, “City Candidate Accused of White Nationalist Ties,” documented quite a history, much of which corroborated what had been reported by various left-wing news outlets as far back as three years before Blevins ran for office.

From at least 2017 to 2019, Blevins was reportedly actively involved in Identity Evropa, which the Southern Poverty Law Center describes as a white nationalist hate group “at the forefront of the racist ‘alt-right’s’ effort to recruit white, college-aged men and transform them into the fashionable new face of white nationalism.”

Oklahoma has been a “hotspot of activity” for the organization, according to Right Wing Watch, a progressive news outlet.

In a 2018 podcast interview, Blevins asserted, “That old phrase, ‘You will not erase us, you will not replace us.’ We have to have that attitude. Every single day we have to have that attitude, we have to be of that mindset, and we have to spread our message to other people.”

Blevins declined to be interviewed by the newspaper, calling the article a hit piece. Instead, he gave a statement blaming the allegations of his white nationalist past on a popular target of the right: George Soros, a billionaire who supports liberal causes. Who in a state as red as Oklahoma could believe such allegations to be true coming from that guy?

No one ever asked Blevins about it at campaign events or forums, and his opponent never brought it up. He was an Iraq War veteran who sold himself as a man of God who moved back to his hometown for its “traditional values” and to take over his father’s roofing business.

But two retired women in Enid, Connie Vickers and Nancy Presnall, wouldn’t have it. Vickers scoured old posts by Blevins on the Evropa forum mentioning Hitler admiringly and about wearing a swastika armband, stressing the importance of supporting “our guys” — meaning fellow white nationalists — who sought locally elected office “such as city council… Basically, positions where one can fly under the radar yet still be effective.”

Vickers presented them at a City Council meeting in January 2023, a month before the election, to warn about Blevins.

It didn’t matter. He was elected after a paltry turnout. Of the 5,600 registered voters in Ward 1, 808 people voted. Blevins won by 36 votes.

The election galvanized an opposition, forming the Enid Social Justice Committee. The committee began a recall effort. What they really wanted was for Blevins to acknowledge his alleged white nationalist activities and views, renounce them and apologize. He refused.

Going through photos of the Charlottesville march, Vickers and Presnall found one that appears to be Blevins, tiki torch in hand, on the University of Virginia campus on the eve of the Charlottesville march. They circulated it along with all the other evidence that had been uncovered.

The petition drive succeeded.

Enid’s mayor, David Mason, told NBC News he was sure he had the votes to censure Blevins at a meeting back in November. But Derwin Norwood, a pastor, spoke at length in what attendees described as a fiery sermon. At its close, Norwood offered to forgive Blevins (though Blevins hadn’t directly asked for it).

“Do you love me?” Norwood thundered.

“Yes, I do, as a brother in Christ,” Blevins replied.

“l forgive you,” Norwood said. The two men embraced to applause... and groans.

With that, the votes to censure were gone. The council voted unanimously to table the matter until after the recall election.

I’m with the groaners. This is what Christianity is. Sure, maybe you were a neo-Nazi, but go ahead, claim you’re a Christian. That makes it OK!

Tuesday’s election is now a test: How much tolerance does a community have for this kind of extremism?

It’s a tall order. As HuffPost has reported:

“Nearly a year into his four-year term, Blevins continues to receive support from prominent members of the Enid community, as well as from everyday citizens — some of whom refuse to believe the allegations against him, and some of whom refuse to believe that Identity Evropa or the rally in Charlottesville were really all that bad.”

Finally, this past Tuesday, a week before the election, Blevins addressed the allegations at a town forum. His answers were enough to make your head spin.

He said he has never identified as a white nationalist or a white supremacist, denied that he had posted on white nationalist forums and said the purpose of his prior activism was “the same issues that got Donald Trump elected in 2016: securing America’s borders, reforming our legal immigration system and frankly, pushing back on this anti-white hatred that is so common in media and entertainment.”

I tell ya, white people problems, no?

He also said he attended the march in Charlottesville to protest the removal of Civil War statues. “It’s our history,” he said. “It’s our heritage. It’s who we are.”

Still? Or who we were? More like who some people were. I wonder if Mr. Blevins is one of those people who wants to whitewash American history and remove all the ugly parts.

When asked whether he would “condemn white nationalism, white supremacy, neo-Nazi beliefs” and the like, he doubled down:

“I’m not going to play this game where I take things that the media says are problems from America’s past that are no longer problems today and pretend like they’re serious issues. I don’t care what the FBI says. I don’t care what the White House says. These are not issues to Enid residents. They’re not issues to American citizens.”

Dude, the fact you’re facing a recall thanks to a successful petition drive pretty much says Enid residents think it’s an issue.

The evasive answers seem to be a pattern with Blevins. Despite his denials, the evidence is clear, dug up by multiple progressive sources, backed up by the local newspaper (whose previous great political controversy was to endorse Hillary Clinton in 2016), backed up again by NBC News, by Vickers and Presnall, the two retired women who dug up the photo, and by Blevins’ own words.

David Mason, the mayor, told NBC News that in a private meeting, Blevins admitted his white nationalist past.

“Was that you in Charlottesville?” Mason recalled asking. “Is that you in those photographs? Did you write all those hateful text messages?”

Blevins said yes, according to Mason.

“Are you still involved with those groups?” Mason asked.

Blevins replied, “I don’t have to answer that question.”

Mason recalled, “My thought was, you just did.”

Mine, too. It’s pretty sad when the first thing you need to ask a potential political candidate is if they’re a white supremacist. Even worse when you elect them despite the concerns.

And if he wins on April 2?

“It probably says a lot about who we are,” Mason said.

Sorry, Mr. Mayor, but electing him the first time already said plenty. Even giving his candidacy serious consideration said enough. Everything after that has been just an epilogue.

In a macabre irony, the Oklahoma governor called for New York Jews to move to Oklahoma to get away from persecution. Yes, I’m sure the state will set up some nice camps.

It is terribly discouraging that, decades after the defeat of Nazi Germany, we continue to deal with the evil that Nazism embodied. We’ve seen the horror of state-sanctioned mass murder over the last hundred years: Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Armenia, Bosnia, Cambodia, Rwanda and so many more. Our own nation’s history is stained by slavery, lynchings, segregation, the massacre of Native Americans and continued manifestations of racism and prejudice. But the white supremacy of Nazism was something different, so extraordinary, so ghastly, it is hard to believe that anyone would consider its twisted tenets acceptable or worthy of endorsement in any form whatsoever.

Blevins has his defenders. One neo-Nazi blogger called the petition organizers “outrageous antifa commandos,” adding, “Doesn’t it feel like this could and should be used to springboard our guys into a permanent takeover of Enid, Oklahoma?”

Yup. April 2. One day too late.

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