GOP congressional candidate touts endorsement from Hitler-quoting lawmaker
Republican congressional candidate James Marter on Friday touted an endorsement from a downstate congresswoman who quoted Adolf Hitler in a speech last year and voted against certifying Democrat Joe Biden as president.
U.S. Rep. Mary Miller, a first-term lawmaker from Oakland, is backing Marter in his bid for the 14th District seat, according to a news release from Marter's campaign. Miller's team confirmed the endorsement.
In the release, Marter said he's "excited and grateful" to have Miller's backing.
"She's one of the shining stars representing Illinois because of her leadership, intelligence and courage," Marter, of Oswego, said in the release.
Marter also praised Miller, who grew up in Naperville, as "a fighter for protecting the vote and protecting our freedoms."
Serving parts of Kane, Will and five other counties, the 14th District seat now is held by Democrat Lauren Underwood of Naperville, who's seeking reelection this year. The Underwood campaign wouldn't comment.
Marter chairs the Kendall County Republican Party and is an Oswego Public Library District trustee. He ran for the 16th Congressional District seat in 2018 and for U.S. Senate in 2016.
Miller quoted Hitler in a rally at the U.S. Capitol one day before the deadly Jan. 6, 2021, riot and just two days after she was sworn in.
While discussing the need to appeal to young people, Miller said, "Hitler was right on one thing. He said, 'Whoever has the youth has the future.'"
Miller later apologized, but not before Democratic Reps. Brad Schneider of Deerfield and Jan Schakowsky of Evanston, both of whom are Jewish, and many other lawmakers condemned the remark. Some demanded her resignation.
Noting Miller's apology, Marter said it's disingenuous "to try to define a person by one mistake."
"I am proud to stand with Congresswoman Mary Miller," he said.
The Hitler comment hasn't been Miller's only controversy.
She was among the Republicans who, on the day of the Capitol riot, opposed affirming Biden as the winner of the 2020 presidential election over Republican Donald Trump.
Additionally, during the incursion, a pickup truck belonging to her husband, state Rep. Chris Miller, was spotted parked at the Capitol bearing a decal promoting an anti-government militia movement. Chris Miller, who attended the rally that preceded the Capitol assault, denied involvement with the militia group, claiming the sticker was from a family friend who said it represented patriotism.
Last August, Miller called for Biden to be impeached after the deaths of U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Her demand went unheeded.
Miller and Marter share common ground on the 2020 election. Marter has alleged Biden's victory was fraudulent even though no widespread fraud has been uncovered.
Marter is among at least six candidates seeking the GOP nomination in the 14th District. Also running are Mike Koolidge of Rochelle, Scott Gryder of Oswego, Jaime Milton of Fox River Grove and Jack Lombardi of Manhattan. All but Lombardi filed candidate petitions this week with the Illinois State Board of Elections.
Lombardi, who said he will file that paperwork by Monday's deadline, blasted Miller's endorsement of Marter.
"This endorsement is yet further proof that James Marter is unelectable in this critical swing district," Lombardi said in an email. "The way for a Republican victory is by nominating a Republican who can attract independent and conservative Democratic voters along with the Republican base."
Lombardi hardly has shied away from divisive backers. Last year, he trumpeted support from U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar, who has spoken at white nationalist conferences and voted to overturn Biden's election, among other controversies.
Milton said Miller's comments about Hitler "lacked better judgment," but she credited the congresswoman for acknowledging that.
Koolidge declined to comment. Gryder couldn't be reached.