This won’t help his campaign:
Iott, whose district lies in Northwest Ohio, was involved with a group that calls itself Wiking, whose members are devoted to re-enacting the exploits of an actual Nazi division, the 5th SS Panzer Division Wiking, which fought mainly on the Eastern Front during World War II. Iott’s participation in the Wiking group is not mentioned on his campaign’s website, and his name and photographs were removed from the Wiking website.
When contacted by The Atlantic, Iott confirmed his involvement with the group over a number of years, but said his interest in Nazi Germany was historical and he does not subscribe to the tenets of Nazism. “No, absolutely not,” he said. “In fact, there’s a disclaimer on the [Wiking] website. And you’ll find that on almost any reenactment website. It’s purely historical interest in World War II.”
Personally, I don’t really have a problem with people playing dress up and doing war re-enactments. I think the way they seem to have romanticized it is ahistorical and creepy, but in a country where people openly celebrate the Confederacy, it is kind of hard to get worked up about some jackass play-acting as a Nazi.
On the other hand, it would be absolute political malpractice for Democrats to not exploit this for everything it is worth. On top of that, as JenJen and others from the region will point out, if there was to be a resurgent Nazism to emerge in the United States, SE and South Central Ohio is a pretty good guess as to where it would happen. Marge Schott wasn’t the only one living there.