The Republican Party in Yellowstone County has said it will not allow congressional candidate Drew Turiano to speak at the Lincoln-Regan Day dinner. Turiano says he is being isolated simply because he talks about a policy decision from the 50's called Project Wetback.

"It was something that deported illegal immigrants back to their own country, and it is something I'm in favor of, but apparently, according to them, it has racist connotations," Turiano said. "When I started using it, I didn't feel it had any racist connotation, but calling someone a wetback, oh yeah, that's a slur."

Turiano says he is not a racist and feels it's a shame he's the only candidate in a major race being denied access to speak to the crowd of fellow republicans.

"It's unfortunate the way it went down, but like I said, I like all people. I like Mexicans. I like blacks. I like Hispanics. I like all people, there's not a racist bone in my body. The way they're portraying this is unfortunate for my campaign really."


Turiano also said he believes he has been ostracized because he is not an establishment Republican. Turiano believes that Mitch McConnell and Karl Rove may be attempting to take he and other tea-party/non-establishment candidates out of the race.

But the Yellowstone County republicans are throwing Turiano's tea party credentials into question.

"We asked him not to attend because we do not want to give a platform to hateful and intolerant speech," said Jenifer Owen, the chair of the Yellowstone County Republicans. "Our decision had nothing to do with his asserted Tea Party affiliation - I've worked very hard since becoming chair to welcome folks from different backgrounds into the party. Whether you are Tea Party, Libertarian, Christian Conservative, moderate, - people who are united in a commitment to less government and more personal responsibility are welcome. I would urge you to reach out to Tea Party leaders here in Billings -- there are a number of Tea Party Patriots who will attend our event and many candidates who will be at the event who align with Tea Party principles of less taxation and less governmental interference. I would urge you to ask our local Tea Party leaders if Turiano is a Tea Party member"

The dinner in Billings is expected to draw over 300 people.

Drew Turiano :

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