James C. Russell is a perennial candidate for Congress in Westchester, NY, a suburb of New York City. After running and losing in three Republican primaries in a row, he managed to win the GOP nomination to take on Democratic incumbent Nita Lowey in New York’s 18th CD in 2008. He lost that race in a landslide, but came back to get the nomination again this year.

It’s a standard story in lopsided districts, and was never one that drew — or deserved — much attention. Until this September.

That was when the news broke that back in 2001 Russell had written an essay in which he described school integration as a conscious plot to foster race-mixing in America. Specifically, he wrote, the integration of schools was an effort to undermine “appropriate ethnic boundaries” in the sexual preferences of “white pre-adolescent girls and adolescent young women.” That plot, he said, was buttressed by efforts by “media moguls” to “deliberately popularize miscegenation” in movies targeted toward teens and pre-teens.

Russell’s views were repeatedly denounced in local media and in blogs from coast to coast. The state Democratic Party attacked him in the strongest possible language, while the Republicans quickly repudiated him, trying — and failing — to get him off the ballot entirely.

Yesterday Jim Russell picked up 38% of the vote in the 18th, improving his 2008 performance by six points.