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District 21 Republicans vote to expel Peter Tefft from membership

Peter Tefft, as seen Monday, August 14, 2017, is a pro white civil rights activist. Dave Wallis / The Forum

FARGO — At the Cass County Republican Convention Thursday, Feb. 22, the District 21 Republicans voted to expel white nationalist Peter Tefft from its membership.

Conner Swanson, who is serving his second two-year term as chair of District 21, said that the decision stems back to Tefft's first district meeting in May 2017 when he unsuccessfully ran for position of chairman.

Tefft made district members at that time "really uncomfortable," Swanson said, adding that Thursday's meeting was the "apex" and a majority of members voted in a secret ballot to expel Tefft, who was present at the convention.

Swanson said Tefft was interested in being a delegate this year, but it was "apparent he doesn't fit the view of our party [and] our party does not tolerate hate speech or bigotry."

The decision is "not against a person, it's against an ideology," Swanson said. "If anyone thinks the Republican party [supports] white supremacy and hatred they can leave our party because we don't want their votes."

Tefft was publicly denounced by his family following his involvement with the August 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Va.

In December 2017, Tefft was blocked from posting comments on social media sites for Tom Campbell, a Republican running for House of Representatives.

A message left with Tefft late Thursday evening was not immediately returned.

Kim Hyatt

Kim Hyatt is a reporter with The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead and a 2014 graduate of the University of Minnesota Duluth. She started her newspaper career at the Owatonna People’s Press covering arts and education. In 2016, she received Minnesota Newspaper Association's Dave Pyle New Journalist Award and later that year she joined The Forum newsroom.

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