State Sen. Chris McDaniel (R-MS), the tea party candidate in the Mississippi Senate race, was listed as the keynote speaker at a gun rights event along with a Confederate memorabilia store owner who has advocated for racial segregation — and backed out of it when it was highlighted by a state political blog.
As of 2 p.m. on Wednesday McDaniel had been listed as the keynote speaker at the Combined Firearm Freedom Day/Tea Party Music Fest in Guntown, Mississippi on May 17. McDaniel was listed as the primary headliner of the event alongside a number of tea party groups, McDaniel’s campaign manager, who is also a state senator, and a seller of American Revolution relics and Confederate memorabilia called Pace Confederate Depot.
The online store’s owner, Brian Pace, founded the Council of White Patriot Voters in 2011 and is quoted in a local news report as saying “whenever we had racial segregation things were much better off.”
In the interview with TPM, Pace said that he had closed the Council of White Patriot Voters his group now is the Confederate Patriot Voters United, which the Southern Poverty Law Center lists as an active white nationalist group in Mississippi.
“If you feel like segregation is what you want to do then that’s your freedom of association, that’s your constitutional right. That’s basically the way we look at it. If you believe in segregation you know that you have a freedom to segregate if you want to, if you don’t believe in segregation then that’s your free choice,” Pace said.
After Y’all Politics, the blog authored by a supporter of incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS), highlighted McDaniel’s scheduled attendance at the event, McDaniel’s campaign insisted that he was “not confirmed.”
That’s in contradiction to what assistant event organizer Kevin Owen told TPM. Owen said that McDaniel had been confirmed as the keynote speaker for the event, but he said that chief event coordinator, Jay Anthony, had been coordinating directly with the McDaniel campaign. Anthony did not respond to multiple requests from TPM for comment.
By about 6 p.m. on Wednesday, the flyer for the event dropped McDaniel’s name (but it still included the name of McDaniel’s campaign manager, state Sen. Melanie Sojourner). Sojourner said that she saw that she and McDaniel had been listed as planning to attend the event.
“I saw that they had. Neither one of us were confirmed and that call has been made and supposedly they’re putting out the correction,” Sojourner said. “There were several Second Amendment groups that were planning different events and we’re both very strong Second Amendment supporters and so there were several events that were planned and it was basically just kind of the discussion was ‘well when you get some things done and scheduled let us know’ but there was never any confirmation on exact events or what was happening.”
McDaniel’s name has been connected to neo-Confederates and white supremacists before. Last year McDaniel attended at least one neo-Confederate event in Mississippi. His twitter account also appears to have retweeted a white supremacist. TPM has also highlighted reporting that McDaniel, on his syndicated radio program, blamed gun violence on a culture that “values rap and destruction of community values.”
At around 8 p.m. on Wednesday night the Facebook page for the event listed the following message:
NOTICE: because of A false story printed by a robt.lange of y’all politics,saying one of our vendors for the rally was a sponsor,and his personal life involved white hate,we made this statement:
our statement ” when a vendor asks to set up and sell lawful merchandise at one of our events,we don’t run a background check into their personal lives.that’s not our business.What is,is how they conduct themselves publicly at one of our events.period.To avoid controversy,some have been removed. “
however,many now are running scared and have pulled out of rally.tupelo tea party,mcdaniel campaign and ms.for liberty,naturally thad’s minions have the liberal organizations all over jumping on this which is what they want. anything to disrupt the mcdaniel campaign.however another thought is if mcdaniel runs scared from a false story here in Ms.before he is even elected,what would he do in D.C.?? dilemma..
SO,we are asking YOUR opinions our patriot members,rally on….
or cancel? call the ball……
Below is the original flyer for the event:
And here is the updated flyer that does not include McDaniel’s name:
The Facebook page for the event also features a number of pictures of McDaniel as well as one of former Rep. Allen West (R-FL):