UPDATE: State GOP officially asks its own candidate to withdraw from house race because of Facebook posts
Dan Johnson's posts portray the president and first lady as apes.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Kentucky's Republican Party has officially asked its own candidate to drop out of a race for the state House of Representatives.
In a letter, the state GOP asks Dan Johnson to withdraw his name from the ballot as the Republican party's nominee for State Representative in the 49th District.
It comes after WDRB revealed Johnson's Facebook posts portraying the president and first lady as apes. In an interview on Thursday, Johnson was unapologetic.
“If you vote for me, guess what you're going to get. You're to get me. I'm not bending to be something I'm not. I am who I am, 100 percent,” Johnson said.
Johnson’s posts also display the confederate flag and call for Islam to be banned.
Many of the images have recently been deleted.
“The fact is, I wasn't racist when I posted it, [and] I'm not racist now,” Johnson said.
But the state Republican Party calls Johnson's posts “rank prejudice.” A spokesman now says it would be "appropriate" for Johnson to withdraw.
“We would rather the seat go unchallenged than have someone who puts statements like that out in the public sphere representing us in Frankfort,” said Tres Watson, communications director for the Republican Party of Kentucky. "They crossed a line of any sort of good taste or common decency. There was no policy or legitimate reason for them to be posted other than to be hurtful"
Democrats had earlier called for Johnson to step down and now applaud the GOP's move to distance itself.
“I think that is a wise choice. We would agree. Nobody that makes those statements, I think, should be in an office where you are a lawmaker or a representative of Kentucky,” said Kentucky Democratic Party spokesman Daniel Lowry.
Johnson was not the first choice of Bullitt County Republicans to run for the seat.
The Bullitt County Republican Party's Executive Committee selected Johnson in July after both primary candidates dropped out.
“I cannot speak to what any people who voted on the committee did or did not know about what Mr. Johnson had on social media," Watson said. "But I can only imagine that he did not get the full vetting that a candidate who would have gone through the primary process would have received."
But unless he has a change of heart, Johnson told WDRB on Thursday he has no intention of stepping aside.
“I'm going to win by a landslide. There's no question,” he said.
So far, there has been no comment from Bullitt County's GOP chairman.
Johnson's Democratic opponent, Linda Belcher, has also declined comment.
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