INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — An Indiana Republican's Senate campaign said Wednesday that it has fired an aide affiliated with the white nationalist movement who recently formed a super PAC backing embattled Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore.
Caleb C. Shumaker was a contract employee who gathered ballot petition signatures for Mike Braun, his campaign said in a statement. Social media posting made by Shumaker in October and November show him promoting Braun and making appearances on the candidate's behalf at GOP events around the state.
"The Braun campaign briefly contracted with Mr. Shumaker to collect signatures for ballot access. Once we became aware of Mr. Shumaker's past comments and associations, his contract was terminated immediately," Braun adviser Barney Keller said in a statement. "Mike Braun strongly and unequivocally condemns Mr. Shumaker's disgusting beliefs and believes they have no place in American politics."
Reached by phone Wednesday, Shumaker took issue with the campaign's characterization of his departure and said he left for family reasons. He condemned racism and told The Associated Press that he is no longer affiliated with the white nationalist group National Youth Front. The 25-year-old, meanwhile, praised Moore, an evangelical conservative who has been accused of having inappropriate sexual contact with teenagers while in his 30s.
He says he recently formed his Indiana First PAC to back candidates, like Moore, who will support President Donald Trump's agenda. The group has yet to file paperwork with the Federal Election Commission, and it's unclear how much — if any — money it has raised.
That didn't stop Moore, whose campaign touted the endorsement of Shumaker's super PAC in a press release.
"I'm a conservative. I believe strongly in conservative principles. I'm a person of faith. I believe strongly in Christian conservatism," said Shumaker, who lives in Evansville, Indiana. "I condemn any form of racism, especially white nationalism. I don't think America has any room for it."
But internet postings from 2014 list Shumaker as the group's chairman, and a YouTube channel listed as belonging to the group bears Shumaker's name.
"There has been a lack of nationalist spirit in our youth, a lack of pride for ourselves and our people. If we are to survive we must embrace its ideals with a zealousness," a December 2014 posting attributed to Shumaker states. "It is imperative to reject socialist and antiwhite agendas. To refute and shame feminist ideologies that cripple the integrity and pride of a man and pit our sexes against each other."
Shumaker said the posting, which bears a picture of him, was falsely attributed to him.
Braun, a self-funded businessman and former Indiana lawmaker, jumped into the GOP Senate primary in August. He's poured more than $800,000 of his own money in the race, establishing himself as a credible candidate in a primary that also includes GOP Reps. Luke Messer and Todd Rokita.
Moore faces Democrat Doug Jones in a special Dec. 12 election that will determine who fills Attorney General Jeff Sessions old Senate seat.