In the fall of 1980, Metzger was the surprise winner of a California Congressional primary. In the November general election, the Klan leader faced incumbent Rep. Clair Burgener, who defeated Metzger by a margin of over 210,000 votes (88% to 12%). Metzger soon left the California Klan and formed the White American Political Association, the forerunner of WAR.
Next Metzger ran in a primary for the U.S. Senate from California in 1982, and received 75,593 votes – roughly 2.8% of the total cast. Following this defeat, Metzger’s organization adopted its current name; the change from a “Political Association” to an “Aryan Resistance” group reflected a shift toward more openly violent, totalitarian rhetoric.