Missouri GOP sues to remove candidate with ties to KKK from Republican ballot

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — The Missouri GOP on Thursday sued to remove a longshot gubernatorial candidate with ties to the Ku Klux Klan from the Republican ballot.

Lawyers for the political party asked a judge to ensure southwestern Missouri man Darrell Leon McClanahan stays out of the GOP primary to replace Republican Gov. Mike Parson, who is barred by term limits from running again.

McClanahan, who has described himself as “pro-white,” was among nearly 280 Republican candidates who officially filed to run for office in February, on what is known as filing day. Hundreds of candidates line up at the secretary of state's Jefferson City office on filing day in Missouri, the first opportunity to officially declare candidacy.

Lawyers for the Missouri GOP said party leaders did not realize who McClanahan was when he signed up as a candidate in February.

The party renounced McClanahan after learning about his beliefs and ties to the Ku Klux Klan.

An Associated Press email to McClanahan was not immediately returned Friday.

In a separate lawsuit against the Anti-Defamation League last year, McClanahan claimed the organization defamed him by calling him a white supremacist in an online post.

In his lawsuit against the ADL, McClanahan described himself as a “Pro-White man." McClanahan wrote that he is not a member of the Ku Klux Klan; he said received an honorary one-year membership. And he said he attended a “private religious Christian Identity Cross lighting ceremony falsely described as a cross burning.”

No hearings have been scheduled yet in the Republican Party's case against McClanahan.