North Dakota US Senate candidate scrubs social media posts

AP

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BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) A GOP candidate for North Dakota's U.S. Senate seat acknowledged Thursday he deleted more than 100 social media posts after entering the race, including one that called anti-Israel protesters "a bunch of Arabs."

Gary Emineth, 59, also retweeted an image calling for "no more mosques in America" and shared a Facebook post that compared people on food stamps to animals, CNN reported. The network posted frame-grabs of Emineth's posts.

Emineth told The Associated Press he doesn't apologize for them. He said some of the posts were "sarcastic" and were done by him as a "frustrated American citizen."

A post referring to President Obama as a "POS" was a typo, Emineth said, and was meant to be "POTUS," which stands for the President of the United States. Emineth defends referring to the former president in posts as a "socialist, because he is."

He began deleting the posts after announcing he would run on Jan. 31, figuring "some people would get wound up over them."

Emineth, a businessman and former North Dakota GOP chairman, is one of two Republicans hoping to face Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp in November. Republican state Sen. Tom Campbell is the other.

"I just wanted to focus on Heidi Heitkamp and the race," Emineth said. "This is all about the left trying to create controversy."

Emineth said he might repost them because they might help him win in North Dakota, where President Donald Trump carried the state by 36 points in 2016 and remains popular.

"It would probably be to my advantage to keep them up," he said. "I'll probably offend a number of other people before I'm done, too."

State Sen. Kelly Armstrong, who heads the North Dakota GOP, said he didn't know if the Emineth's posts "help him or hurt him."

"Obviously, to varying degrees, they are bad and he shouldn't have done them," Armstrong said.

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