Republican congressional candidate Stephen Broden stunned his party Thursday, saying he would not rule out violent overthrow of the government if elections did not produce a change in leadership.
WASHINGTON - Republican congressional candidate Stephen Broden stunned his party Thursday, saying he would not rule out violent overthrow of the government if elections did not produce a change in leadership.
In a rambling exchange during a TV interview, Broden, a South Dallas pastor, said a violent uprising "is not the first option," but it is "on the table." That drew a quick denunciation from the head of the Dallas County GOP, who called the remarks "inappropriate."
Broden, a first-time candidate, is challenging veteran Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson in Dallas' heavily Democratic 30th Congressional District. Johnson's campaign declined to comment on Broden.
In the interview, reporter Brad Watson asked Broden about a Tea Party event last year in Fort Worth in which he described the nation's government as tyrannical. "We have a constitutional remedy," Broden said then. "And the Framers say if that doesn't work, revolution."
Watson asked if his definition of revolution included violent overthrow of the Obama government. Broden at first declined to explicitly address insurrection, saying the first way to deal with a repressive government is to "alter it or abolish it."
"If the government is not producing the results or has become destructive to the ends of our liberties, we have a right to get rid of that government and to get rid of it by any means necessary," Broden said, adding the nation was founded on a violent revolt against Britain's King George III.
Watson asked if violence would be in option in 2010, under the current government.
"The option is on the table. I don't think that we should remove anything from the table as it relates to our liberties and our freedoms," Broden said, without elaborating. "However, it is not the first option."
Jonathan Neerman, head of the Dallas County Republican Party, said he has never heard Broden or other local Republican candidates advocate violence against the government. "It is a disappointing, isolated incident," he said. He said he plans to discuss the matter with Broden's campaign.
Ken Emanuelson, a Broden supporter and leading Tea Party organizer in Dallas, said he did not disagree with the "philosophical point" that people had the right to resist a tyrannical government. But, he said, "Do I see our government today anywhere close to that point? No, I don't." That Broden is "engaged in the election and running for office shows he's got faith in the system as it is," he said.