Yellowstone GOP Turns Away Turiano, Cites Racism

By Beacon Staff

BILLINGS — The Yellowstone County Republican Party asked congressional candidate Drew Turiano not to attend a party event this weekend, saying they will not give him a platform for his racist views.

“There is simply no place for racism in this party,” party chairwoman Jennifer Owen said Wednesday.

The Yellowstone County Republicans on Saturday are holding their Lincoln-Reagan Day Dinner, where all major Republican candidates for statewide office — other than Turiano — will get a chance to speak. About 300 people are expected to attend.

Turiano told The Billings Gazette he is being turned away because he is a self-described tea party member. Owen denied that claim.

Turiano allowed that Owen might have been offended by his support for “Operation Wetback,” a proposal to deport all immigrants living in the country illegally along with their American-born children.

When Turiano announced his candidacy, the Helena real estate investor said he was concerned that in coming decades white Americans would become a small minority and possibly exterminated by the nonwhite majority.

Bowen Greenwood, executive director of the state Republican Party, said that since Turiano launched his campaign with an “offensive racial epithet,” many Republicans have decided not to associate with him.

Turiano said the Yellowstone County Republicans have been the only ones to turn him away.

Turiano’s challengers in the Republican primary are Elsie Arntzen, Matt Rosendale, Corey Stapleton and Ryan Zinke.