March 5, 2005

"I CHOOSE THE PATH OF LINCOLN"

Banks switches to GOP in bid for re-election (JOHN LUCIEW, March 03, 2005, The Patriot-News)

It's not exactly Ronald Reagan turning Republican in the 1960s or Democrat Zell Miller speaking at last year's GOP convention.

But first-term Harrisburg city Councilman Otto Banks' announcement yesterday that he's switching parties to run for re-election as a Republican could shake up the city's Democrats-dominated politics.

"I'm choosing a different path," Banks, 34, said. "I choose the path of Lincoln."

Banks, the top vote-getter four years ago, is virtually assured of one of the four Republican nominations for seats on the seven-member council.

In fact, Republicans might not even attract four candidates to fill out the slate.

By contrast, the Democratic side could be a crowded field of 20 or more candidates, all vying for just four party nods in the May 17 primary.

Banks, who huddled with both state and national GOP leaders before making the switch, has been assured of financial backing and other support for his campaign.

He would not specify any amount.

For the Republicans, it's a chance to prove that GOP candidates are viable in the city, while increasing the party's standing with minority voters in urban areas.

"Otto Banks gives the Republican Party a great opportunity to expand its base and grow our party in the city," said state GOP committee spokesman Josh Wilson. "We are excited to have someone with his record and stature carry our message."

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 5, 2005 7:14 AM
Comments

"In fact, Republicans might not even attract four candidates to fill out the slate.

By contrast, the Democratic side could be a crowded field of 20 or more candidates, all vying for just four party nods in the May 17 primary."

Isn't this more or less what Bloomberg did in NYC?

It seems like a smart move for the ambitious, but I hope the local GOPs are adding strings to their support, otherwise we'll see MoveOn types adding this to their bag of dirty tricks.( To go with the joke GOP candidates like Leahy's last opponent.)

There's no picture of the guy, or mention of his race, but based on the "party of Lincoln" comment, I'd assume his ancestors were once southern property. If so, and he gets reelected easily, people like him mean the party of slavery, secession, segregation and Social Security is doomed.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at March 5, 2005 12:33 PM
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