ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Right now, a candidate for Anne Arundel County Council is under fire for what appears to be his membership in a neo-confederate group that wants the south to secede from the rest of the U.S.

Democrats are calling on the Republican Party to denounce him.

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Mike Hellgren has more on who this man is.

He is a strong religious conservative and he’s even run for president before, but his membership in a group called the League of the South has drawn the most controversy.

Video shows Michael Peroutka being introduced at a League of the South conference. The Southern Poverty Law Center calls it a hate group that advocates the south’s secession to a separate nation run by white people.

“Uppermost of which is the desire to form a new southern republic,” the head of the League of the South, Dr. Michael Hill, said.

Peroutka, who in published reports strongly denies he’s a white supremacist, won the Republican primary for an Anne Arundel County council seat — a conservative district representing Arnold and Severna Park.

Democrats say the Republican Party should denounce him.

“Silence is consent, and if Republicans do not make it crystal clear that he does not represent them, then I think they will pay a price come November,”  said Carl Snowden, civil rights activist.

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Privately, many top Republicans feel the issue is a distraction from the real issues facing Maryland.

Candidate for governor Larry Hogan issued this statement: “Larry absolutely disavows him. Those views have never been a part of the Republican Party and they never will.”

Peroutka has even questioned the validity of the General Assembly.

“The behavior of the legislature in my home state of Maryland raises the question whether the people of Maryland may be justified in reaching the conclusion that what we call our General Assembly is no longer a valid legislative body,” said Peroutka.

Patrick Armstrong is Peroutka’s Democratic opponent.

“I don’t believe the mainstream and the Republican Party believes that at all,” he said. “It’s time for them to draw clear lines and say this is not acceptable, this is not part of our party.”

Peroutka released this statement, saying:

“In both private and public policy, we must remember that God created only one race – the human race. Therefore, all elevation or denigration of individuals or groups based on skin color is immoral and shameful because it violates the Law of Nature and Nature’s God.”

Peroutka won the Republican primary by 38 votes.

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