ENID, Okla. — A candidate for Enid City Commission was accused nearly four years ago by a progressive advocacy group of being a member of a white nationalist organization that has since disbanded.
The candidate, Judson Blevins, said the accusations were part of hit piece by what he called a “leftist outlet.” Blevins is running for the Ward 1 seat on Enid City Commission.
An article written in March 2019 for Right Wing Watch, a research project of People for the American Way, accused Blevins of being the Oklahoma state coordinator for Identity Evropa — identified as a white nationalist group by the Southern Poverty Law Center — formed in 2016, renamed to American Identity Movement in 2019 and disbanded in 2020.
Blevins announced his candidacy for the Ward 1 position in November 2022 and officially filed as a candidate in December, but he declined an interview with the News & Eagle regarding the article and his involvement with Identity Evropa.
After Blevins declined an interview with the News & Eagle, he did provide a statement in an email on Friday, Dec. 30.
“I think we can all see this for what it is, a hit piece posted four years ago by a George Soros funded leftist outlet,” Blevins said in the statement. “This is the same outlet that has attacked Governor Kevin Stitt for expressing his Christian faith. They were smears then and they are smears now. The labels applied to me are the same applied to any American who speaks out against the ruling liberal establishment. I am proud to have served this country honorably and defended our rights in the United States Marine Corps. I am absolutely opposed to the erasure of America’s history and heritage.”
The article about Gov. Kevin Stitt Blevins refers to covered the governor’s inaugural prayer breakfast, Jan. 15, 2019, during which the governor declared that it is his mission to align the state “with what God is doing in Oklahoma,” while his wife proclaimed that it is their responsibility as Christians to use their position in elected office “to go out into our state and save people and bring people to” Jesus.
When contacted by the News & Eagle, several city officials and candidates said they already were aware of the Right Wing Watch article through Google searches.
Ward 1 Commissioner Jerry Allen who is being challenged for the seat by Blevins said he was “shocked” when he became aware of the Right Wing Watch article.
“There is no place in Enid for those kind of attitudes he’s shown to lead and participate in,” Allen said. “Certainly not on the city commission. Commission races in Enid are nonpartisan and need to remain that way. Commissioners are elected to represent the entire community, not special interest groups.”
Ward 2 incumbent Derwin Norwood said, “There is no place for it. We’re all created equal in the image and likeness of God, and the most important opinion is His. We, as human beings in this world, in this Earth — He put us here together to love one another, to accept one another and to help take care of one another.”
David Mason, a former city commissioner who now is running for mayor, said the Right Wing Watch article was “sent” to him; however, he does not know Blevins and has not discussed the article with Blevins. He did speak to a Second Amendment group recently, along with Blevins and Ward 2 challenger Doug Boyle.
“I can’t speak for him in any way,” Mason said.
“I think we all have certain rights as citizens, and I try to be a fair person,” he said. “The citizens are going to have to ask those questions of him and make up their own minds about how they want to vote.”
“If, in fact, any of it is true, I don’t feel that he should be eligible to hold office because that’s not a representation of what the city of Enid is, and that’s not anywhere in my beliefs, either,” said Ward 3 Commissioner Keith Siragusa. “I believe in unifying people, not dividing people.”
Ward 5 Commissioner Rob Stallings said he did not wish to provide any comments, and Ward 6 Commissioner Scott Orr said he did not know about the article and had no comment. The News & Eagle reached out to Ward 4 Commissioner Whitney Roberts but did not receive a response.
City Manager Jerald Gilbert said he also was made aware of the article.
“I’ve seen it. If it’s true, it’s a bit disturbing,” Gilbert said. “People should contemplate. This is an important election in my estimation. Typically, municipal elections are poorly attended or people don’t exercise their right to vote.”
The News & Eagle has not been able to independently verify the claims about Blevins made by Right Wing Watch; however, the newspaper did speak to the article’s author and Peter Montgomery, a senior fellow with People for the American Way, about the article.
Right Wing Watch says its work includes “monitoring and exposing the activities and rhetoric of right-wing activists and organizations,” according to its website, and is a research project of People for the American Way, which is a “progressive advocacy organization founded to fight right-wing extremism and defend constitutional values.”
The article from March 29, 2019, cites chat logs from Identity Evropa leaked by independent media organization Unicorn Riot and claims Blevins worked as Oklahoma liaison for Identity Evropa, operating under a fake screen name on social media channels.
Identity Evropa is the original name of an organization that the Southern Poverty Law Center has recognized as a white nationalist group. The Anti-Defamation League describes the organization as “a white supremacist group focused on the preservation of ‘white American culture.’ According to the SPLC, Identity Evropa members said they are “identitarians who are interested in preserving Western Culture” and “owes its style and ideology to the European identitarian movement.”
The News & Eagle spoke to the article’s author, Jared Holt, who said he had received an anonymous tip regarding Blevins and did an investigation to connect him to the fake screen name.
But Holt said he was never able to reach Blevins for comment on the story, and he never heard from Blevins regarding the article after it was published.
According to Blevins’ press release announcing his candidacy for the Ward 1 seat, he spent many summers working for his father’s roofing company in Enid, and, after being honorably discharged from the U.S. Marine Corps, he returned to Enid to take over the family business.
Blevins’ campaign site does identify him as a Republican running for Ward 1, although city commission seats are non-partisan.
The nonpartisan, general city election will be Feb. 14, 2023. Blevins is running against incumbent commissioner Jerry Allen for the Ward 1 seat.
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