Bob Romanik, the self-professed “Grim Reaper of Radio,” is contemplating another run for office in Illinois.
The St. Clair County Freedom Coalition, a Belleville, Illinois, organization that tracks elections in the region, reported the news Sunday, sharing a campaign photo of Romanik announcing his run for state senator in District 57, which includes Collinsville, Belleville and Scott Air Force Base.
The position is currently held by Illinois State Senate Majority Leader James F. Clayborne Jr. (D-Belleville), who has represented the district since 1995. Clayborne announced in September that he would not seek another term.
And that, apparently, has presented an opportunity for Romanik, the two-time felon, former police officer and former strip club owner best-known as a radio host on KQQZ (1190 AM), where he frequently peddles hate speech and racial slurs, including frequent use of the N-word.
In his most recent broadcast as of press time, on Monday morning, Romanik played coy, saying “if I run.”
But he seemed to suggest on air that he had his campaign pitch all figured out.
“Number one, I’m gonna run as a white guy,” he says. “I think after 50 years — it’s a matter of principal with me. They’ve had a black state senator for 50 years, or close.
“I think it’s time for a white senator.”
The shock jock has a long history of attracting attention in any way he can, which seems to mostly involve trashing anyone who’s not a straight white male with a conservative worldview. In January, for example, Romanik called Waka Flocka Flame a “greasy black n*gger son of a bitch” on the air after the rapper wiped his ass with a Donald Trump shirt during a performance.
Previously, in February 2016, he made headlines for calling Alderwoman Megan Ellyia Green a “skanky bitch,” an “alderbitch” and a “skanky-ass bitch” on his show. And last November, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch‘s editorial board condemned Romanik’s show as “hate speech” and encouraged people to contact the FCC over a homophobic attack ad Romanik recorded against St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern, whom Romanik called a “f*ggot” and a cross-dresser.
Romanik, for his part, doesn’t see what the fuss is all about. He has repeatedly insisted he is not a racist, but rather, a “realist.” After the Riverfront Times reported on his use of the N-word on the air last winter, Romanik took to the airwaves.
“I tell ya, it’s unbelievable isn’t it?” he said on his February 7 broadcast. “All the killings going on, all the black-on-black crime, all the crime in general, and everybody gets upset when you say the word n*gger. It’s unbelievable!”
This political run would not be the shock jock’s first. In 2016, Romanik ran as a Republican for state representative in District 114, which includes East St. Louis, O’Fallon and Shiloh. It didn’t go well. By that April, he had been officially censured by the St. Clair County Republican Central Committee for his offensive on- and off-air antics.
“Bob Romanik has demonstrated that he is only interested in a self-serving agenda and is not interested in improving our county,” Doug Jameson, chairman of the St. Clair County Republican Central Committee, told the Belleville News-Democrat at the time. “He is using the electoral process to execute his own personal vendetta for past legal troubles.”
As part of the censure, the Republican committee refused to support or endorse Romanik’s run, financially or otherwise, denied him entrance to any official meeting or event conducted by the group, and left him off official listings of Republican candidates.
Romanik has done nothing to suggest that this latest run for office will tame his tongue. Within five minutes of his Monday show, Romanik was already off and running with a tirade filled with racial slurs.
Addressing the recent Black Lives Matter protests in St. Louis following the acquittal of Jason Stockley, Romanik said, “This whole thing is trying to be a racial takeover by not the proud blacks, but the n*ggers.” He referred to Colin Kaepernick as a “no-good rotten n*gger who hates our country.”
In the first twenty minutes of the show he averaged at least one instance of the N-word per minute. And of course, he also insisted he isn’t racist. You know, the guy who says he’s running for office as a white guy, because the district needs a white senator. Nothing racist about that.
Nothing racist about any of it.