The Colorado Independent has been investigating the circumstances that led to Nathaniel Marshall, a person with ties to white supremacism, to enter the race for Colorado HD-23. As an early result of that investigation, the Independent’s John Tomasic reported yesterday that signs had emerged indicating that Tim Neville – a person with significant ties to Rocky Mountain Gun Owner’s Association – recruited Marshall to run for HD-23. The signs relied on by Tomasic’s article consisted of the following:
1) Rick Enstrom, a prominent candy business executive and onetime Republican House candidate, claiming that Marshall told him he was recruited by Neville at the Jefferson County Assembly.
2) Dudley Brown, RMGO’s executive director, admitting that per RMGO political director Joe Neville, Tim Neville spoke with Marshall at “an event.”
In response to Tomasic’s article, Tim Neville last night put forth the following statement on Facebook (accessible here):
[blockquote]“Regarding the leftist hit piece published today posing as a news story in the Colorado Independent: I spoke with its author John Tomasik [sic] and told him I had no connection with Mr. Marshall’s campaign — not as an endorser or financial donor or supporter. I suggested Mr. Tomasic retract his story because it’s false. Then he asked me if I ever met Mr. Marshall and I had to explain to him that I meet hundreds of people each week on the campaign trail. Then he hung up on me. Shocked? No, but I’m very disappointed that a Republican like Rick Enstrom would spread such a story without even a phone call to me. I believe he knows my number, since his campaign had no problem finding me when I helped him as a volunteer to walk his precincts in 2012. These types of attacks only embolden me to fight even harder for you. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate all your calls and emails of support tonight.Iron sharpens iron. Together I look forward to taking back Senate District 16 this November and winning a Republican majority. Game on!”[/blockquote]
Tomasic’s response: “There’s nothing false in the story. I was happy to speak to Tim Neville. I did not hang up on him. In fact, I hoped to extend the conversation. I hope it’s clear to readers that the main point of the story is to report on the tension at the heart of state Republican politics — stretched between the RMGO wing and the establishment wing. It’s that tension — an ongoing contest for control — that would either lead Marshall to believe he was recruited to run for office by Tim Neville or to motivate him to suggest he was recruited by Tim Neville. It’s also that tension that would lead Republicans of all stripes to suspect that Neville may well have recruited Marshall to run for office. That is the story.”
While Tim Neville may wish that his mere claim that a story is false is sufficient to demonstrate that a story is in fact false, that is not the case. Here, there is evidence to indicate that Neville – and through him potentially RMGO – recruited White Supremacist Nathaniel Marshall to run for HD-23. The first two pieces of evidence are the Enstrom and Brown Statements. In addition to those statements, last night Nathaniel Marshall revealed that he had been invited to an RMGO fundraiser as a candidate and that now they were throwing him “under the bus“.
Moreover, recruiting Nathaniel Marshall would fit within a perceived pattern of RMGO supporting candidates who repeat its party line but who are poorly vetted – the chief example being former pornographic novel writer Jaxine Bubis.
There’s no way to know at this point whether Marshall was telling the truth when he spoke to Enstrom about Neville “recruiting” him or whether he was merely mistaken or exaggerating or outright lying for effect.
But there is an additional factor: Nathaniel Marshall is admittedly not a “media savvy” person, but there are signs he may have been well-coached for his TV Interview with Mark Meredith of Fox 31 last night. First off, he was able to open the recorded portion of the interview with a polished “I just think it is just a good idea for me to step aside and … I’ll just be a voter” statement. Afterward, while implicitly admitting to being the Stormfront.com poster “NateTheWatcher”, Marshall claimed in the interview that the basis of him joining Stormfront was largely opposition toward “Islam and Sharia law”, which is popular in certain respected conservative circles. He also claimed not to be a Nazi or a racist, but did admit to “attending” an Aryan “meetup” in Jefferson County last year. That said, he claimed the “meetup” was not what he expected because there were only “8 or 9 people” who showed up so he “almost left”. Of course, the interview was a sugar coating.
Marshall was involved in Stormfront for far more than to just protest Islam. He openly supported “the Klan“, attacked homosexuals, and had issues with Jews, Hispanics and African Americans because of his worries about the “white genocide“. He even used Stormfront to attempt to distribute his more than 50 copies of Hitler’s Mein Kampf. Even Marshall’s issues with Islam went beyond mere opposition to sharia law. Additionally, Marshall didn’t just attend an Aryan “meetup” – he sought … to ….organize …them and set up his own group called Aryan Storm. Yet, in spite of all of these issues he somehow had the foresight to give a very good media interview under the circumstances. While that could be attributed to luck — it may also be that he had some astute coaching. And lone wolves who post on Stormfront are not the sort of people who just randomly get good coaching.
For these reasons, although there is not yet evidence of a smoking gun RMGO endorsement or other involvement in encouraging Marshall to run, there is a lot of smoke. If RMGO wants to put this to rest, a good first step would be to (a) clarify the event that Dudley Brown was speaking about when he stated that Tim Neville had spoken with Marshall before; (b) clarify Neville’s current and past role in RMGO’s vetting process; (c) clarify its vetting process in general; and (d) specifically reveal if Nathaniel Marshall has attended any events, which events, and whether he has received any RMGO or RMGO-allied money or promises of money from fundraisers, employment, consulting services or anything similar in the past year. What will not put these suspicions to rest is a bare protest by Tim Neville that this is “false.” Because, while there may not be enough yet to conclude that he or RMGO had involvement with Marshall, there is enough to be suspicious that they were the ones pulling the strings.