‘I am not a racist’: Michigan Senate candidate responds to backlash over radio show comments

A longtime conservative radio host and Michigan Senate candidate from northern Michigan said he is “not a racist,” in response to recent headlines about controversial comments he made on his show last month.

The comments were made on the March 31 episode of Randy Bishop’s radio show “Your Defending Fathers.”

In a clip from the episode, Bishop, also know as “Trucker Randy,” discusses how he believes the media is trying to “destroy the nuclear family.”

“Can’t even watch a college basketball tournament without commercials telling me I have to feel guilty because I think a family should be a white mom, a white dad and white kids,” Bishop said in an archived recording of the show. “They want us to die and go away and they’re going to try and do it through politics this year. Well, we have got to be just as smart.”

Bishop said his comments as reported by the media have been taken out of context; however, and that he was only responding on air to a text message from a listener during a segment on TV commercials.

“I don’t have a racist bone in my body,” Bishop told MLive.

The official Twitter of the Michigan Democratic Party responded in a tweet thread Sunday, saying that Bishop’s views “have no place in the Democratic Party.”

“Candidates who say or believe these things are not welcome. Randy Bishop is not a Democrat,” read the tweets. “He is a dishonest minor social media personality that enjoys getting attention from making outrageous statements. He shows nothing but disrespect to our system of government by using a run for office to promote his personal agenda, entirely based on lies, hate and fear.”

The thread continued: “Disgusting racist belief systems are not welcome in the Democratic Party and frankly should not be welcome in any political party or community. We will not support his efforts to run for Senate and find it deeply insulting that he would dare to put a D next to his name.”

Bishop filed to run as a Democrat in this year’s primary election for the 37th Senate District, which consists of the northern tip of the Lower Peninsula and areas of the Upper Peninsula.

He called the Michigan Democratic Party’s tweets “sad,” and that no one from the party reached out to him prior.

Earlier on in the same show, Bishop encouraged listeners regardless of party affiliation to register to run for statewide office as Democrats.

“We need to run the absolute craziest strategy in the history of Michigan politics this year,” Bishop said during the March 31 recording. “We need to confuse the Democrats.”

Bishop clarified those comments were in regard to the bipartisan party infrastructure, and that he would be the Democratic Party’s best option to win a majority Republican district.

“The labels that the party’s, both Republicans and Democrats, have put on these candidates; I’d like to get rid of the labels altogether,” Bishop said. “Run on the issues, forget the labels.”

Bishop ran as a Republican candidate for the same district in 2010. He left Antrim County Republican Party in 2018, after being its chairman, and now leads the Antrim County Conservative Union.

Bishop previously claimed the GOP schemed to make Trump lose in 2020 so the party could take advantage of the historic advantage out-of-power parties have during midterm elections. Bishop argued that Trump’s loss then was set up so Republicans could win in 2022.

Related: Republican activists plan petition to force ‘forensic audit’ of Michigan 2020 election

Democrats facing Bishop for the district seat are Jim Schmidt of Antrim County and Barbara Conley of Leelanau County.

Republicans running for the seat include state Representatives Triston Cole, R-Mancelona, and John Damoose, R-Harbor Springs, as well as William Hindle of Charlevoix County, George Ranville of Emmet County and incumbent 37th District state Sen. Wayne Schmidt.

Read more from MLive:

Election integrity, parental rights among the top campaign issues for Michigan GOP ahead of 2022 election

Meet the Republican party’s endorsements vying for offices in the 2022 general election

Trump still supreme among Michigan Republicans. Can his picks win in November?

‘Go in peace my son:’ Patrick Lyoya laid to rest with family at his side and public watching

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