A Kennewick City Council candidate who advocates the death penalty for illegal immigrants as well as making Kennewick an English-language-only community won enough votes in Tuesday’s primary to advance to the November general election.
Loren Nichols won 26 percent of 1,512 votes cast for a seat on the City Council, knocking off opponent William Miller, who had declined to discuss his position on any issues publicly until after the primary.
On Nov. 8, Nichols will face incumbent Steve Young, the city’s current mayor, who won the support of 62 percent of voters.
“As extreme as my position is, one in four voters agreed with me,” Nichols said. “It shows that people are truly fed up. You just have to live here to understand.”
Nichols said he’s not affiliated with any political party. He first shared his controversial views about executing illegal immigrants on a radio program last week.
In an area of the state known for its conservatism and a love-hate relationship with undocumented immigrants, the comments drew wide attention and a range of response, including an editorial in the Tri-City Herald denouncing Nichols’ remarks as having “the mentality of a bumper sticker” and urging voters to reject him.
Nichols repeated his remarks in an interview Wednesday, saying those crossing the border illegally–a misdemeanor offense–should be shot on sight.
As a member of the City Council, he would push to see that illegal immigrants are granted 30 days’ notice to leave the city, he said, and those who refuse should be subject to the death penalty.