A controversial aide to U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., who once belonged to a neo-Confederate group has resigned.
Earlier this month, 39-year-old Jack Hunter was the subject of intense criticism for his past affiliation with the League of the South, which advocated for secession.
It was also revealed Hunter worked as a radio shock jock called the “Southern Avenger,” who wore a Confederate flag mask and bemoaned America’s growing non-white majority.
In an e-mail to The Daily Caller this weekend, Hunter said he was once a “politically incorrect” conservative, but doesn’t want to cause Paul, who is considered a top 2016 presidential contender, any further damage.
Paul initially defended Hunter, pointing out he had renounced many of his past views.
But the situation had apparently become untenable as the GOP lawmaker seeks to attract minority voters to the party.
“Because of the views he had expressed before my employment it became a distraction and just wasn’t going to work,” Paul told reporters in Louisville on Monday. “It was a mutual decision.”
Hunter co-wrote “The Tea Party Goes to Washington” with Paul in 2010 and was hired to be his social media director in 2012.
The condemnation of Hunter’s statements came quickly from Kentucky Democrats, who tried to connect them to Senator Mitch McConnell’s re-election bid.
Other said it revealed more about the senator’s views on race.
Sate Sen. Gerald Neal, D-Louisville, said he hoped Hunter would keeping working in Paul’s Washington office because it gives voters a clearer view if the senator decides to run for president.
Several analysts had advised Paul to fire Hunter if he wanted to remain a viable White House contender.
Paul has been making local and national efforts to reach out to African-American and Hispanic voters, and has specifically been in conversation with community activists in Louisville black neighborhoods about different issues.
“Everybody occasionally has people that work for them that sometimes have a background that damages what you’re trying to do,” says Paul. “But I think people can judge me on who I am and what I’m trying to do rather than trying to go after one of my employees and say, ‘This is all about you.’ Well if it’s about me let’s talk about the things I’m trying to do.”