The radio show hosted by Republican Senate candidate Chris McDaniel listed a group that advocates for southern secession among a list of ‘favorite websites’ featured on the show’s website.
McDaniel, a conservative firebrand who ran a failed campaign against Sen. Thad Cochran in 2014, announced last week that he would challenge incumbent Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker, setting up a divisive primary race from Wicker’s right flank. On Monday, Cochran announced he was retiring and vacating his Senate seat on April 1, opening up the possibility that McDaniel could run in the special election to replace Cochran instead.
McDaniel co-hosted “The Right Side Radio Show,” at the time a nationally syndicated broadcast, from the mid-2000s until he was elected to the Mississippi state Senate in 2008. He still appeared once weekly after the leaving the show as a full-time host.
During his failed bid for the Senate in 2014, McDaniel’s controversial comments as a right-wing radio host surfaced. On one broadcast, he disparaged former Attorney General Janet Reno, saying, “I’m not even sure Janet Reno was a woman” and in another, he called Democrats the party of “sex on demand, the party that supports the homosexual agenda.”
The show’s website, which is archived in two different places on the Internet Wayback Machine, reveals that McDaniel and his co-host, Jack Fairchilds, listed among their favorite websites the League of the South, a group that describes itself as a “Southern Nationalist organization that seeks the survival, well-being, and independence of the Southern people.”
Underneath the link, there is a summary of the group, which reads, “A free and prosperous Southern Republic? Hasn’t this been tried?”
McDaniel strategist Rick Tyler told CNN’s KFile over the phone on Monday that McDaniel “has never endorsed the League of the South and has nothing to do with them.” Tyler then pointed to a 2004 report issued by the Southern Poverty Law Center showing McDaniel’s opponent Wicker had spoken to the Council of Conservative Citizens, a white nationalist group. Wicker has said that he does “not condone the actions or statements of anyone who espouses the views” of the CCC and that he regret if his appearance lent credibility to its activities and to the attitudes and beliefs that have been attributed to this organization.
The League of South was founded in 1994 and has long been associated with white nationalist organizations. The longtime president of the League of South recently wrote that Muslims would be banned and deported from a free southern state, and a founding board member of the League of the South once said black Americans were better off under slavery.
In the mid-2000s, when the group was listed on “The Right Side Radio Show’s” website, the League of the South sold material with labels like “question diversity,” “secession, America’s oldest tradition,” and an image of Confederate war heroes with the label “fighting terrorism since 1861.”